Hurricane Katrina: When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts

When it comes to New Orleans many people envision Jazz players, dancing in the streets and of course Mardi Gras. The history of New Orleans would not be complete without those threads woven into that city.

However on August 28, 2005 a far more devastating act would occur in New Orleans which from now until forever will stay woven in its history. On that day the city of New Orleans was hit by Hurricane Katrina. At the time Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans it was considered a category 4 Hurricane.

What makes the events of that day more dreadful are the days that followed when the American government ignored the situation and acted like the city of New Orleans was a third world country.

On August 26, 2006 director Spike Lee’s film “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts” premiered on HBO. The documentary showcased what happened during and after the impact of Hurricane Katrina. The film features interviews by journalist Soledad O’Brian, Kayne West, Reverend Al Sharpton, and the Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin.

The film shows the lives of many people who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina. People who had lost everything they ever owned… gone. Not only were they victimized by the hurricane, but they were also victimized by their own government TWICE. The first time occurred when President Bush and his administration seemed to completely ignore the crisis occurring in New Orleans. When the Bush administration finally decided to take action that is when the people became victimized once more. When the people of New Orleans were beginning to be reorganized they stopped being known as the people of New Orleans to “refugees”. This point is showcased well within the film. When they were being called “refugees” many of the people showcased in the filmed described how they felt that they had lost their American citizenship and became runaways from a foreign country. They were losing their American identities.

Even though this terrible event happened to them many people in the documentary who were in New Orleans said that they plan to stay there until their deaths, and many people who were relocated after Hurricane Katrina said they planed to return because they were born there and their family roots were there. Being from New Orleans will be with them forever and that is the way they want it to stay.

Spike Lee’s film not only showed the destruction left by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, but it also showed the strength of its people.


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