Lee, who attended New Haven's annual International Festival of Arts and Ideas, showed his Peabody Award-winning 2006 HBO documentary, "When the Levees Broke: a Requiem in Four Acts."
"It was a fiasco, a mockery on the local, state and federal levels, and once again, Americans got hornswoggled, led astray, bamboozled," he said. "And too many people have died so we all have the right to vote. Never tell anyone your vote doesn't matter."
Lee faulted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the levees that failed to keep the floodwaters out of New Orleans.
"The damage and devastation was brought about by a breach in the levees," Lee said after the Saturday screening. "It wasn't the hurricane. It was the breach in the levees. That is the job of the Army Corps of Engineers. They did not do their job."
The documentary recounts the Aug. 29, 2005, storm with eyewitness accounts and news footage of flooding that drowned New Orleans as the levees designed to hold back the waterways surrounding the city failed.