The Whole Gritty City

Posted on: Sunday, Mar 23, 2014

“Once that band gives you that down beat…just for that brief two or three minutes you forget every problem you had. You have no cares in the world…Yeah it must be nice to live like that with no cares in the world” – Wilbert Rawlins Jr.

Living in a city traumatized by a flood and besieged by street violence, there’s a deep longing to have “no cares in the world”. But New Orleans is also the birth place of jazz: a community that to this day draws on a deeply rooted musical culture. For thousands of kids in the city’s marching bands music is an escape, a refuge and a lifeline.

The Whole Gritty City is a documentary feature film that will premiere at The New Orleans Film Festival in October 2013. It tells the story of three New Orleans marching bands as they push to prepare for Mardi Gras parades, and three band directors battling for their students’ lives and souls. It shows lives stopped in their tracks by the violence of the streets, and the power of music to lift and sustain the survivors.

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