Link: NewsBusters: Spike Lee: 'Not Far-fetched' to Say New Orleans Levees Deliberately Destroyed

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posted Monday, July 14th, 2008   leave a comment or trackback
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85 Responses

  1. Dean Haspiel


  2. Denise

    As painful as re-living this particular part of my life is, and viewing the footage in the link; it is more painful to be reminded of the kind of hateful attitudes we were faced with in the comments after the video. Some of us still live with that daily and it may be the biggest portion of the tragedy that is Katrina.

  3. Leo McGovern

    Hey Denise,

    Yeah, it’s pretty sad that even almost three years after all this happened, you and all the other people who were at the Convention Center for days—as well as pretty much anyone from here that was affected by Katrina—can be described in the media as “a parasite class totally dependent on government.” Unfortunately, we’ll probably never totally live that down, but that’s part of the beauty of A.D.—we’re getting to show the country how it really happened to real people.

  4. Denise

    Hey Leo,
    What do you call a parasite with no host?

  5. Veronica

    Drawn so well, I felt the heat just reading it. This chapter literally made my skin crawl. Superb…

  6. josh

    Thanks, Veronica. I really tried to use the color palette (and lots of sweat beads!) to convey how awful the heat and conditions were there for the people

  7. Jake N.

    I agree with Dean.

    Coincidentally, the last two chapter releases have come at the same time I have to write a paper on Katrina. Strangely enough, this time my paper is on the people who made sacrifices in order to help their neighbors.

  8. Simon Fraser

    Really excellent, you’ve done such meticulous build-up that you’ve really earned the emotional chill from this chapter.
    I can’t wait to have this as a book.

  9. josh

    Thanks, Simon. Appreciate the kind words, especially from such an accomplished cartoonist as yourself!

  10. tristan jones

    god, this was disturbing and moving. ugh. powerful work — brings it home more than all the news articles and video clips i saw ever did.

  11. GregoryB

    Wait for each chapter with baited breath. Chilling. And sadly it seems that most of the country has moved on.

  12. Jay Landon

    One of the things you’ve done is to make clear how mythologies (like the government plot to kill) emerge out of semi-truths in a crisis. To the rest of the nation it was just whiny bullshit from people too stupid to get out of the way of a killer storm. You’re uncovering how, to the people there, it was the easiest conclusion in the world based on what they experienced and felt. You can feel hopeless thirst in your pictures. Who’s gonna give you a drink? Nobody. Why? They don’t care if you die. Maybe they like it that way.

  13. josh

    Thanks, Jay. Although I don’t believe the authorities maliciously conspired to do away with the people at the Convention Center (and the Superdome), the various agencies’ compounded arrogance, ignorance, and incompetence had the same effect. And you could certainly understand how it must have seemed to be some kind of evil plot by the people trapped there.

    And I have to say that through this entire process, Denise has been an incredible guide. She has made all sorts of personal sacrifices, reliving those days for me so I can make them into “art.” Thank you, Denise, all over again.

  14. Eve A

    There is something so terrifying about the last 3 panels. They’re just so stark. It feels so hopeless.

  15. David Lasky

    Josh, this continues to be quite an accomplishment. And thank you, Denise, for telling your story. I read the comic and then clicked on the video link. Before the clip had ended, I was fighting away the tears. What has happened to America? And why are many of the authorities who failed to act still in office after what happened in New Orleans? To arrogance, ignorance, and incompetence, I would add racism and classism.

  16. Peter Kuper

    Great to have this story brought to light.

    It is such a dark chapter in our history and another reminder of what our “Hell of a job, Brownie!” president has led our country through in the last eight years. Fine work Josh, thanks.

  17. josh

    As you know, Peter, your work (specifically in Comics Trips), was hugely influential in steering me toward nonfiction comics, so your comments are especially gratifying.

  18. Amber

    Josh, this is absolutely beautiful and horrifying. I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes. I have Katrina Came Calling and as impressive and important as that was in giving those of us outside NOLA a perspective on the events, A.D. really effectively makes you feel the experience. My heart aches for the people you’ve portrayed. When the book is published, i will be first in line. Thank you for your work.

  19. Denise

    Josh and David,
    You’re welcome. It’s nice to know that there are people who understand why we felt the way we did at the time. All I wanted was to get some truth out there because the lies were overwhelming. Thank you Josh and Larry for the opportunity to do just that. A. D. is a great piece and I appreciate being a part of it.

  20. youme

    From Haiti to New Orleans. I am reading from the Caribbean where a car slowly passed me yesterday with the bumpersticker Save NOLA. Josh, this work is changing lives, thank you and your supporters for bringing it forward!

  21. Dell

    Chapter 13 made me cry. I’m in New Zealand and Katrina was covered extensively here. We couldn’t believe what was happening and felt really helpless being so far away. My mother is a teacher and she played footage at school. I hope the kids here will see this site. Kia Kaha and thank-you.

  22. Aris

    Thanks for this. I’m sitting here near tears having read the last 13 issues back to back. You’ve created a beautiful and powerful piece of work. An excellent companion to ‘When the Levees Broke’. I also can’t wait to see this as a book. Hopefully this will give people who have the complete wrong idea about what went down a new way in.

  23. Amelie

    Thank you for your work; for your art. In order to heal we must return to the trauma, with all the details. Your story, this story, brings this about. In the moment, as we hold the trauma, we can do as people all over the world have always done… reframe the storm, thru dancing or any bi-lateral movement. We are designed to heal. It is in the healing that the reframing of the trauma happens. Once we feel whole, in present time, we can animate our Hopes and Dreams: dance them in, art them in, invite them in.

  24. sally666

    Where did the cigs come from?

  25. Chris Stefano


    Another great chapter. I couldn’t get through the whole video link. But even sadder are the racist comments below the links. This tragedy goes beyond subculture and class. It’s about how we respond to other human beings. In the US of A when we can bring pallets of money to Iraq and have them disappear with no accountability, we can’t provide for our own citizens.

    Thanks for telling this story.

  26. josh

    Chris, I totally agree with you about the YouTube comments. I guess I shouldn’t be shocked at the racist vitriol that people can spew under the guise of anonymity—but I am. I’m no proponent of censorship, but I think YouTube would create a better environment if there was some of moderator monitoring their comment sections.

  27. dougquaid

    “a parasite class totally dependent on government.”

    how about ‘a parasite class that is totally dependent on poor and working class people and has to use government machinery to maintain their power and influence’?
    we need to re-examine our society, our so called ‘values’ and ‘freedoms’ and finally introspectively look at ourselves before crusading around the world as the great saviors. What happened in New Orleans is a blatant example of the continued classism and racism in this country, is it not a crime against humanity that millions are starving, homeless and/or working dead end barely paying the basic necessities jobs so that a few can live like kings and queens and have more financial resources than they know what to do with, leeching off the poor masses? I’m glad this comic got such publicity, I’m here because of a feature in Newsweek which I read at work earlier today; this work really shows what happened to all the poor, ‘less privileged’ classes of people after Katrina… I did hear eyewitness testimonies describing almost word for word Chapter 13 of AD, of course this was on public radio a few years ago, and as much quality as they have in their programming, unfortunately only a minute amount of average Americans actually takes the time to listen to it…

  28. dougquaid

    Might I add however, that various eyewitnesses stated in the interviews I listened to that the only governement agency that really did care, and went all out to help after Katrina was the US Coast Guard. while FEMA had cruise ships come, not for the people, but to house themselves, the Coast Guard apparently worked around the clock to rescue people… if they all could have been that dedicated..

  29. Abby

    I just went through the whole series. Its an important moving work and the associated links are a powerful learning tool.
    I will spread the word to all I know.
    Remember, we are not powerless though. We need to VOTE.

  30. Never again

    My wife and I have visited NO only once, in 2000, and were completely smitten. If there’s a bit of Europe in the US, it’s NOLA. It’s a place simply like no other in our great country.

    That sentiment just intensified my heartbreak as I was completely sickened and outraged by Katrina and its aftermath as it played out on my TV screen.

    Josh, you are to be commended for a truly fantastic piece of non-fiction graphic journalism (is that a “category”?)

    Josh’s work (thanks, Newsweek) has brought that all back front and center in my mind, and I’m sure I’ll have hideous nightmares tonight, after I read the whole series from start to chapter 13 this evening.

    The events described and illustrated in this chapter shook me deeply. Then and now, I was and am ashamed that American citizens could be treated the way that Katrina survivors were, and it made me wonder what would happen in other, perhaps even more unthinkably dire circumstances.

    May we never again have to face the awful truth of the aftermath of Katrina.

  31. Steven M. Bergson

    I have been postponing reading AD because I like to read stories in their entirety in one shot.

    Today, I said to myself “13 chapters is quite a lot to read”, so I read it from start to finish. And, naturally, now I’m eagerly anticipating chapter 14.

    Although I also look forward to the book getting published, I think the advantage of the online version is being able to instantly click on hyperlinks and then continue on with the story. I suppose you can list those links on the printed page, but you can’t listen to Apocalypse Dance Card while reading chapter 1 unless you’re reading near a computer to download and play the mucis with (by the way, that Apocalypse Dance Card hyperlink no longer works).

    I agree with Digital Strips - this webcomic should have earned an Eisner. Perhaps the book edition will.

  32. Melissa Bastian

    Hi Josh. You already know how I feel about this piece of work. I can’t seem to stop re-reading it, even though it makes me cry a little bit every time. I wish that the book was coming out sooner, because there are so many people that I need to show it to, and in in many ways a physical object is different than an image on a computer screen. I do hope, however, that the web comic remains available for a very long time. I am eagerly awaiting the 14th installment, largely because I want to see where the story gets left. I know that with my own story at least, it hasn’t ended yet, not three years later.

    I find it upsetting that even with the anniversary just a few days away Katrina doesn’t seem to be coming up all that much; at least not in New York. When I was in New Orleans at the beginning of the month there was stuff everywhere, displays in bookstores and so forth - but that is not the population that needs to be reminded.

    (I did want to let you know that your A.D. banner widget is broken - the html is wrong. Easy to fix - it’s just that the reference address attached to the image has “ad” coming after smithmag.net instead of “afterthedeluge”. Perhaps Smith will be kind enough to fix this. Of course it can be fixed manually by anyone copying and pasting the code, but wouldn’t it be better for it just to be correct? Yes.)

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