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City of Hope

President Bush with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin
Mayor Ray Nagin on the airport tarmac with President Bush the first time Bush set foot in New Orleans.

Did you see the Spike Lee documentary, When the Levees Broke, on HBO last night and Sunday night? Did it make you cry? Make you laugh? Make you angry? Me too. My favorite part was Mayor Ray Nagin calling Airforce One a pimpmobile.

This was in the middle of an interview with Nagin who’s telling the story about Bush wanting to meet with him at the airport. Nagin knows he’s being bad but he just can’t help himself and out it comes as a descriptor of the plane — pimpmobile. That just made the documentary for me. That and all the other salty language by inflamed people. And did you ever see so many grown men cry on camera? Wow. And how he let that camera roll to show it. Pretty intense.

See it on DVD if you missed it. I’m sure it’ll be out on netflix. Thumbs definitely up for quality of camera work, and selection of passionate, articulate, amazing people to tell the story — without any voiceover narrator pulling it all together. Very well told tale.

We’re coming up to the anniversary of Katrina of course, so pictures and stories are everywhere as they should be. My NOLA friend Chuck Patch has beaucoup de New Orleans photos on his flickr site if you want to see some great ones — before the flood and after. One of Chuck’s sets is called City of Hope after an exhibition by the same name now through Jan. 6 at the Historic New Orleans Collection where he is head of computer operations. Chuck submitted his photos to be in the exhibit. I do hope they’re in there. They are great and capture small moments of great resonance.

The HNOC is commemorating the anniversary of the storm, August 29, with a day of programming that includes a presentation by Pulitzer Prize winning TImes-Picayune reporting staff writers and a reception in the evening. See the museum’s website for more.

Artblog sends its love to the city and people of New Orleans. Big kiss.