Austin (KXAN) - Renowned film director Spike Lee held a special screening Sunday afternoon at the University of Texas.
He came to Austin to show portions of his documentary, "If God is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise ." UT faculty member John Pierson introduced Lee. The director described Pierson as someone who knew him when he was just starting out. The two embraced before Lee stepped to the podium at the Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium in the LBJ Library.
The New York director started his remarks with a few jabs at Texas sports fans.
"We'll be done in time for you to see your Cowboys get blasted by the New York Giants," Lee said, as the crowd laughed.
Lee's documentary is about New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He told the audience that after his crew finished shooting, the BP oil spill happened. Lee ended up going back to New Orleans eight more times to shoot more film. Lee told the audience it's important to keep following the evolving story in New Orleans.
"We all know how the media goes," Lee said. "There's a news cycle and this stuff is not in the news. The oil is still there."
"Don't believe what Obama and his scientists said that 75% of the oil is dissipated," Lee continued. "That's not true. And people in the region, the Gulf region, are still struggling."
After the screening, Lee was set to lead a discussion with students and professors. One student on the panel was Camille Pluck, a native of New Orleans.
"It's so epic," Pluck said, describing Lee's visit. "This is somebody who's been doing work, and, especially as a black person, I've seen all of his films."
"To be able to be in the same vicinity and be on this topic, Katrina, something I've experienced, it really makes it clear how much U.T. has an influence on things," Pluck added.
One professor envisioned Lee's screening as a learning experience.
"As a social historian, I can testify to the power of images in our understanding of history, recent history especially," said History professor Jacqueline Jones. "To see on film the human dimensions of tragedy, I think are tremendously powerful and will help us understand its historical significance, its contemporary political significance."
The freezing and near-freezing rain that swooped into Central Texas overnight prompted numerous school closings and delays and made for a harrowing morning commute on Friday.
A man is charged with murder in the shooting death Wednesday of a woman at a North Austin auto repair shop, police said Friday.
A man is expected to survive after being stabbed in the head at the Salvation Army shelter in Downtown Austin at about 3:45 a.m. Friday.
As the Austin area prepares itself for an impending winter storm on Friday, Dec. 6, many schools have already announced delays.
With freezing temperatures pushing through the region, heating systems will likely be working overtime, which can bring rising energy bills.
Investigators are looking into an overnight fire that left one woman with third-degree burns.