Spike Lee’s When the Levees Broke Online

Over at YouTube you’ll find the entire Spike Lee 4-hour documentary on Hurricane Katrina, When the Levees Broke, online in 26 parts. I’m not sure how long it will be up, so if you’re interested in watching the whole thing, I’d get started. While I found the documentary to be somewhat uneven, parts of it were incredibly moving.

In this clip (#9), starting at about the two-minute mark, there’s a clip that leads up to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s response to Hurricane Betsy back in 1965 (strangely enough — September 11, 1965) at the five-minute mark. When compared to Johnson’s response, our current President’s response appears shameful, which, of course, it was.

The entire segment is worth a watch.

(via boingboing)


  1. Derrick from Philly says

    HRH: Spike may be very prejudice against white people, especially Jewish folks, but what’s the message in his art? In Do The Right Thing, I believe the white characters were presented with as much (or as little sympathy) as the blacks.
    Lee’s documentary was one of the best I’ve ever seen. As for conspiracies: for blacks, history just didn’t begin twenty or thirty years ago. To us, whatever happened eighty or two hundred years ago is pertinent to what happens today.

  2. Anon says

    Talk about cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face…

    The real “conspiracy” was the vain attempt to hold back the Gulf of Mexico with poorly made levees and build cheap housing for the poor in areas of the city that were sinking into a swamp. Why, given the reality of that mess, does one even have to dream up that the levees were blown up? Those areas of the city were doomed the day the first streets were laid down and still are doomed for anyone hoping to return. The swamp will reclaim its own.

  3. anthony says

    found this site which uses a weird tactic with regards to the recovery effort:
    by the way, lee’s also rumored to be developing a tv movie on katrina and it’s aftermath for nbc. i think this is great news – i’m not sure if it’s even debatable that there was a racial component to the preparation or the response to katrina – whether institutionalized or overt, and sometimes if it takes a sledgehammer to remind the public of this…

  4. URABIGOT says

    Jaay and Derrick from Philly approve of bigotry as long as they’re the ones shoveling out the bigotry. You guy’s make sure you keep your sheets on at your Klan meetings or you’ll get in trouble.

  5. says

    I have to agree with URABIGOT. Racism is never agreeable, no matter whom the source.

    However, the fact that Lee may or may not be racist is still, as far as we know, a rumour. So nevermind it…

    I didn’t see the documentary but heard it was very good. Of course, we all lived through it so it’s not like I’m totally blind to N.O.’s plight during this national tragedy.

    Some people ask me why I don’t like Prez. Bush. Frankly, it’s not partisan. I look back and I see two of the biggest, impactful national disasters in American history and whose watch they happened under. Sure, there are more reasons to dislike him and his administration but…Katrina ravages N.O. and Bush is at a fundraiser/concert and Condi’s buying shoes in NYC?

    I wish this were that puerile MTV dating show so I could be like “NEXT!”

  6. Derrick from Philly says

    Urabigot: I believe that bigotry is stupid. I admit to that stupidity at times. But here I’m trying to make the distinction between the artist and his work. The father of American filmmaking was an incredible bigot, but that does not stop black,well, most black film students from appreciating the artistic impact of DW Griffith’s Birth of A Nation. Another great documentary was Triumph of the Will by Leni Reifensthal. Now, we know what that was about, and the horror it may have helped to bring about. She was a Nazi but also a great artist. So, what do you do? Spike may have some bad childhood/teenage memories of his experiences with white people. Once in while it shows in his treatment of Jewish jazz club owners in his films, but I don’t think it interferes with his work as a filmmaker and artist. Hell, CB DeMille was a right-wing nut, but one of the greatest American filmmakers of all time–ask any black movie buff.

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