Spike Lee Hope is Not a Plan Viva New Orleans

Mia Morris Perspective

" New Orleans is fighting for its life. These are not people who will disappear quietly- they're accustomed to hardship and slights, and they' ll fight for New Orleans" .

Another tour de force, film made by the documentary maestro Spike Lee 40 acress and a Mule with HBO. The film one of his major contributions alongside Do the Right Thing and MalcolmX comes the film /documentary 4 hours long of a human rights violation tantamount to Mount Vesusvius which erupted in 79ad in Pompeii when people were buried in the ashes. In actual fact a couple who contributed to the film from New Orleans were in Naples whilst this event played out internationally.

Watched and reviewed at the Ritzy cinema Brixton, over the commemoration weekend for the abolition of slavery act, almost echoing conditions of New Orleans, as the cinemas air conditioning had broken down and the organisers, had the foresight to consult us in regards to the situation so we opted for keeping the door open at either end and fan was brought in.

The context

New Orleans , Louisiana in the deep South of America , is important because it is viewed as the most European and African of North American cities in which French, Spanish, Creole African and English culture have blended to produce distinctive music cuisine and festivals.

The film shot with those who suffered the most sharing their story, this was documentary making at its best. There were a dozen key people that the camera told there story, the young lady who loses her 5 year old and later we are at her funeral, she is so traumatised and upset to allow cameras in painstakingly share her survival story. The lady at last in her fema (federal agency who provided supported during and after the aftermath) with her family dispersed in Houston , shares her story from the trauma of queuing for hours on end at Armstrong Airport and then been separated from her family. Who are unable to come back as her Nephew who suffers with autism has no specialist medical facility to return to? Or the two women who have a trailer delivered but nowhere to place it. Or the young boy who gallantly showed us round his Fema home as a showcase only to demonstrate the workmanship, the dining room table that won't be stabilised the home that you have to run for cover for when the wind blows.

Yet people will rather be in New Orleans with it's lost of power, water, school amenities and homes, than to be somewhere with a nice picket fence but no heart and soul. Film also showed graphic scenes of New Orleans settling and being attacked and killed from being in a new town and a new hood, as local gangsters don't want their turf reserved.

The people in this film of which Lee and his team selected close to 100 people from diverse backgrounds and representing a wide range of opinions to interview, including Governor Kathleen Blanco; Mayor Ray Nagin; residents Phyllis Montana LeBlanc, Kimberly Polk, Shelton "Shakespeare" Alexander and Rev. Williams; activists Al Sharpton and Harry Belafonte; CNN's Soledad O'Brien; and musicians Wynton Marsalis, Terence Blanchard and Kanye West. the aftermath there was the Mayor government officials and the heroic ordinary people who come from generations and generations of people who always lived in the area.

You were introduced to unforgettable characters the roofer who died after the storm. Branford Marsalis who returns home with his mother and makes the journey back after the storm with this trumpet for company but absolutely nothing can prepare him for the breathtaking unparallel squalor and debris, as his mother says to him, ,will the pictures still be on the wall when we get in or what was the toilet bowl doing in the front room,

The deal

Watching the film set of roller coaster of emotions sets in, the magnitude of the storm breathtaking real life rescues via water, the home guard and ordinary people who just pitched up and did what they had to do. Hours and hours, of footage distilled to share with us the uncomfortable truth, one of the strongest economic nations can not and still cannot provide home to its inhabitants even though there was warning and early signs that one day the levees which needing stronger support by Civil Engineers need some attention but it was thought over 40 years ago that the inevitable will not happen it is absolutely extraordinary that resident should alert the professionals that a stitch in time'.

Every story every turn every ebb and flow spilled out on to the screen, there was no place of safety and warmth. Mike Eric Dickson writer author and lecturer described the dispersal of the residents no different to an auction block, during slavery. Once you survived the queues, the chaos and trauma of the airport you then found out only where you landed that you were not going to Atlanta where you have folks but to Utah , Texas Houston or even Wyoming resident after resident gave testimony and shared the aftermath.

As we write the review now, people are not back at home with their loved ones. In some instances have no home as insurance premiums turned out to be worthless as the companies consult the small print and discourses are carried out as whether the damage to buildings was caused by flood or water.

Cinema goers unanimously thought that film was honest poetic and needed to be made, with the shame attached that a large super power would treat its inhabitations in its own way. Horrified, stilled, upset emotions

Stunning and moving cinematography as Spike Lee captures signs where the street signs and graffiti on houses where people have customised their front doors and barred windows, the spirit of new Orleans will never die as it inhabitant both black and white are determined to go home this is after all the only home they know. The traditions of new Orleans French and Latin Quarter the funeral marches and its magnificent Mardi gras in 2006 just demonstrates the resilience and determination

Remember people want to come back here when they die so that they can have a traditional News Orleans send off. Al Sharpton civil rights leader this is American Signature momentMaybe the best that we can do is to go and see New Orleans for yourself www.neworleansonline.com

To follow and continue to support inhabitants visits

www.acord.org/index.php?id=9703 Association of Community Organisation for Reform Now (ACORN) The nation's largest community organisation of low and moderate income families, working together for social justice and stronger communities

Check out Louis Armstrong Tribute 2 nd 5 th August Satchmo Summer Festival


Jazz foundation of America helping New Orleans musicians in need


Network for good List of resources to help hurricane Katrina victims rebuilt

www.networkforgood.org./topics/anial environs/hurricanes


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