By Mary Foster Five years after he documented the horrors of hurricane Katrina, Spike Lee returned to New Orleans with his new movie showing the city’s agonizing efforts to return to normal.
In this publicity image released by HBO, director Spike Lee is shown during the filming of his documentary, “If God Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise,” in May in New Orleans. — Photo by The Associated Press
The premiere Tuesday included hours one and four of the HBO documentary, “If God Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise.”
“The first hour was very, very emotional,” said Sharon Starks, 53, who said she had a purse full of tissues after seeing the first Lee film on the hurricane. “But the second hour I was just angry. It was about the BP oil spill and I just felt they came along and violated us on top of everything else.”
Lee also produced “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts,” after Katrina struck in August 2005.
That movie detailed the overwhelming losses and the pain and suffering the hurricane and the breaching of the levees caused.
“I have mixed feelings,” said Althea Pierce, 79, who lost everything in the Aug. 29, 2005 storm, but has since rebuilt her house. “It’s very painful to relive the storm, but I’m hopeful because of the progress we’re making.”
“It’s very painful to relive the storm, but I’m hopeful because of the progress we’re making.” Althea Pierce
In the new movie, Lee returns five years later to see how plans to rebuild New Orleans have played out.
The city has seen many areas rebuilt since the storm. There are still areas of New Orleans that remain deserted, but the population, 450,000 before the hurricane, has grown to 380,000.
The movie also touches on the Saints’ Super Bowl victory and details the impact of the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill on people who have yet to fully recover from the hurricane.
“We should be proud of what we have done,” said Elie Khour, whose house did not flood. “I am looking forward to seeing the whole movie.”
It airs on HBO Aug. 23 and 24.