Black History Month Film: The Whole Gritty City

Wednesday February 3, 2016: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This 2014 documentary plunges viewers into the world of three New Orleans school marching bands. It closely follows several groups of kids growing up in America's most musical city, and one of its most dangerous, as their band directors get them ready to perform in the Mardi Gras parades. The band leaders also teach them to succeed and to survive.

The story is also a unique portrayal of an American inner city, highlighting men with an open-eyed, deep commitment to the community they've grown up in and the children in their charge. Viewers will find a celebration of the strength and insight of these men, and the potential and resilience of their students. Navigating the urban minefield through moments of setback, loss, discovery, and triumph, these children and their adult leaders reveal the power and resilience of a culture.

The 90-minute film (which is not rated) features three marching bands in the years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. As Mardi Gras approaches and the young musicians progress, we discover their passions and quirks, their personal struggles and tragedies. We come to see the powerful positive role being in the band plays in their lives.

The film culminates in a different kind of musical performance: a moving funeral tribute by band members from across the city to a young man who was one of their own.