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If God Is Willing And Da Creek Don't Rise. Part I

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.
Posted 08-24-2010 at 10:15 AM by saintsfan1976

Did anyone see part one last night on HBO? This is Spike Lee's latest documentary on life in New Orleans after the storm and a follow up to his previous Katrina-mentary "When the levees broke".

The story begins (or picks up) in Miami at the 2010 Superbowl with interviews of various Saints fans, players and some really great film of the French Qtr after the win. The images are a wonderfully emotional reminder of what that season's team meant to the people of New Orleans and how close the fans feel to "their team". Then, with almost no pause, the film goes right into the gut-wrenching images we have burned in our minds from the early days following Katrina. The floods, the rescues, the thousands of Americans waiting for food and water... The death, the looting, the fear... An entire social system in utter chaos. How could this be "21st century America"??

Although Spike Lee can (in my opinion) have a one-sided approach to telling a story, I thought the film did a good job of telling the world of how the city/state has progressed and an even better job of telling what's still wrong in New Orleans.

From the demolition of public housing, to the land development deals, to the judgment against the Corps of Engineers, to the new levee, to the lack of infrastructure, to the politics of Charity Hospital, to the crime rate, suicide rate, to people who continue to die from lack of medical attention, to the poisoning of FEMA trailer residents - many factors continue to impeded a "successful recovery" for many residents. Was the city New Orleans' way of life sustainable? Did the Government see an opportunity to eliminate many public programs in one fail swoop?

We get some insight from people who had direct involvement like Kathleen Blanco, Ray Nagin, Michael Brown (FEMA dir), Mayor Landreau, General Honore, Brad Pitt, local residents, community leaders and those who can not return to their homes from other cities. Was Gov. Haley Barber able to use his political ties to acquire more than double the funds for Mississippi that Louisiana received? Spike Lee paints a chilling portrait of politics and money vs. race and class.

In particular, this film forces us to make decisions about what we believe to be right and wrong about almost every facet involved with pre & post Katrina New Orleans.

Although the question of "why?" it took so long to bring relief to the stranded people is not infallibly answered, we are allowed some brief insight into "who" is more to blame from the people directly involved. Most of us - I know I do - always wanted to know; "If you can get Tom Brokaw IN, why can't you get people OUT?"

In all, this film is not only a gripping story (yes I had tears) that goes beyond race and social status, it brings to light the issue that America's people are the most important part of our nation. And it's those same people who are caught in a seemingly unending and unremorseful bureaucratic crossfire.

New Orleans has always been a city of strife. It is a special place that was built by the culture of local people and it's people's passions for life and their city. But five years removed from the worst natural disaster in it's history, New Orleans is still dangerously far from where it could/should be. The region and it's people are still in dire need of life's basic elements. Money is still being withheld and politicians continue to blame the opposing party.

A fan of New Orleans and it's people since 1976
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  1. Old Comment
    NFLDiva's Avatar
    Another really great documentary running this week is called "Witness: Katrina", its on National Geographic Channel and is made up of survivors video taken before, during and after the storm.

    Its an incredibly gripping show, if these sort of things interest you, I highly recommend seeing this one.
    Posted 08-24-2010 at 04:59 PM by NFLDiva NFLDiva is offline

  2. Old Comment
    Halo's Avatar

    I didn't see Spike Lee's Documentary but I agree

    Although I haven't seen the HBO special as of yet, I must say I feel touched by your writing.

    America's people are the most important part of our nation
    I couldn't agree more! In these insane, weird and ever changing times, I'm glad people are realizing the meaning of this.

    After Katrina, I heard echo's of "should we rebuild New Orleans" and "we shouldn't rebuild it" and I felt betrayed by some. It's easy to have rash opinions when it doesn't affect you personally.

    If and when tragedy happens elsewhere, the thought of whether to fix or rebuild it doesn't cross my mind. We have an obligation as a society and a republic to lift one another up in the face of disaster.

    Money is still being withheld and politicians continue to blame the opposing party.
    It's funny how partisan politics is seeping into our community governments. I fear politics in New Orleans will destroy her before another levee breaks. Regardless, I still love OUR city.

    Again, another great blog from saintfan1976. You got my vote on the rating.
    Posted 08-24-2010 at 08:27 PM by Halo Halo is offline
  3. Old Comment
    breesfan27's Avatar
    Part 2 airs tonight.

    I watched the re-airing of this last night, and I was in tears the whole time. Although I wasn't living in New Orleans at the time of Katrina, a few of my family members and close friends were. It was so hard seeing the horrific images of what New Orleans residents went through.

    Although I despise Spike Lee, I though he did very well on this piece.
    Posted 08-24-2010 at 09:27 PM by breesfan27 breesfan27 is offline
  4. Old Comment
    saintsfan1976's Avatar
    Thanks for reading and for the positive feedback. I'm looking forward to seeing part II soon.

    I had tears also.
    Posted 08-25-2010 at 06:59 AM by saintsfan1976 saintsfan1976 is offline
  5. Old Comment
    nogumbo4u's Avatar
    Nice one brother. Hope I get to watch this sometime. Having gone through Katrina and all the days following in Pass Christian (one of many cities on the MS Gulf Coast, not damaged but completely leveled by the storm as you well know) I have some strong opinions about the whole ordeal. No city in the world is closer to my heart than NOLA. New Orleans deserves all the help and attention it can get, both from those elsewhere and especially within. A Superbowl victory was a damn fine start!!
    Posted 08-26-2010 at 04:23 PM by nogumbo4u nogumbo4u is offline
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