The first half of the first decade of the new millennium was a tough one for Americans to swallow. As a nation, we had an inept leader in the White House, 9/11 shook the very foundation of our country, and while we were still picking through the rubble of that disaster, four years later Mother Nature played a cruel trick on us once again when Hurricane Katrina nearly took Louisiana right off the map.
In the 2006 documentary “New Orleans Music in Exile,” now being reissued on Blu-Ray format, filmmaker Robert Mugge takes a hard look at the effects that Hurricane Katrina not only had on the city of New Orleans, but it’s music. Even today, over a decade later, the images are devastating and unfathomable, but what Mugge does is show you both sides of the effects. The people of New Orleans are some seriously resilient people and the music community is like none other. The music scene features rock & roll mixing with rhythm & blues, mixing with zydeco and gospel. The Gumbo they are famous for, New Orleans is an amazing conglomeration of people who not only believe in the music, but in each other.
There is plenty of horror and heartbreak here with the devastation and the way our own government turned their back on their own people, but it’s the hope of these people that rebuilt this city and music was right there leading the charge with benefit concerts a plenty or just some random musician busking on the sidewalk for change to put a smile on someone’s face.
Included are some of these amazing performances from iconic musicians and Louisiana natives as Dr. John, Cyril Neville, Irma Thomas, Marcia Ball, and The Iguanas, but it is their interviews, the look at their lives post-Katrina which hit home.
Loaded with bonus material, including seven performances, the Blu-Ray edition of “New Orleans Music in Exile” is a time capsule which should never be forgotten.