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"When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts" (Spike Lee, 2006)

For this blog entry, I watched Spike Lee's film "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts" (2006). This film is based on Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans and other Gulf Coast communities. We all know that this hurricane was the worst natural disaster in U.S. History. This four hour HBO documentary is full of familiar images such as the flooding, damaged homes and the discovery of human remains. But this documentary provides us with the residents who witnessed, and those who reported the devastation. Spike Lee reminded us of the slow federal response to the disaster. Furthermore, it was pointed out that the levees protecting the city had broken. But some residents suggested that they heard loud explosions before the flooding, and some have said that the levee system was "intentionally dynamited". And lee connected this story to the 1927 Great Flood of Mississippi.

At the end of the documentary we see several residents returning to ruined homes, while looking for their perhaps dead loved ones. So what could we say about the slow federal response, where was the government aid, and why are residents still homeless today? America as we have heard is "one Nation," and in a sense it is a society broken down within different communities (states and cities). But after watching this documentary, it looks like some sociologists as Robert Putnam stated are telling the truth that "community bonds in America have weakened steadily throughout our history..." (25) How would we have responded 40 years ago? We must strengthen our "social capital" and our society should practice generalized reciprocity. We must look out for one another, and help each other in times of need. No one in America should be hungry or homeless regardless of their skin color.


I do have to say that linking Putnam to the Katrina response is very original and insightful. However, as I reader I cannot competely see a strong link between the two. How is it that weakened community bonds would directly affect the actions of a federal agency? I would highly suggest that you do at least a few more entries in this area and try to pursue the issue of how the two may be correlated.