Film director Spike Lee commissioned New Orleans native Terence Blanchard to compose the score for his 2006 four-hour award-winning HBO documentary "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts", to show the agony of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In 2007 Blanchard recorded "A Tale of God's Will", which contains parts ("The Water," "Levees," "Wading Through" and "Funeral Dirge") of the recording that were heard in Spike Lee's documentary. Terence Blanchard’s mother Wilhelmina lost her Pontchartrain Park home in the tragedy, but thankfully survived. The recording closes with "Dear Mom," Blanchard's heartfelt tribute to her.
Blanchard, was accompanied by his quintet and the Northwest Sinfonia, a 40-member string orchestra (which he conducted and co-orchestrated). All the songs were written by four members of Blanchard's Quintet serve to offer their own perspective of the tragedy. The opening track "Ghosts Of Congo Square" is a vibrant Afro-Cuban style rhythm track, represents: a place where those who resisted slavery were publicly hanged. Later, after the days of slavery had ended, Congo Square became a place where local people would gather and share the percussion music that their ancestors brought with them from Africa. The second track "Levees" opens with melancholy strings, provided by the Northwest Sinfonia orchestra, and as Blanchard’s trumpet eases into the mix, one can imagine old and tired levees straining to hold back the water that never ceases to push against them. The tracks "Ghost of Betsy" and "The Water," Blanchard drew on his own experiences as a little boy when Hurricane Betsy flooded his Lower 9th Ward neighborhood in 1965. He intended "Funeral Dirge" as a dignified repast for a montage of dead bodies. Pianist Aaron Parks contributed "Ashe" as a benediction. Drummer Kendrick Scott describes his "Mantra" as a "mantra for healing and renewal." Bassist Derrick Hodge's lush, lovely "Over There," written before Katrina, nonetheless fit the CD's theme. Saxophonist Brice Winston wrote "In Time of Need" after moving with his family from New Orleans to Tucson, Arizona.