Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

: New Orleans Music In Exile

Irma Thomas and New Orleans Music in Exile director Robert Mugge

Like Spike Lee’s HBO film When the Levees Broke, which showed the effects of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans residents in general, director Robert Mugge’s New Orleans Music in Exile pinpoints the 2005 storm’s wrath on Crescent City musicians. More documentary than music video, it primarily uses songs as a backdrop to footage shot in the two months after Katrina, plus commentary and performances by resident musicians like Dr. John, Cyril Neville, Irma Thomas, Theresa Andersson and Marcia Ball.

Vocalist/violinist Andersson delivers a chilling rendition of Neil Young’s “Like a Hurricane” to accompany images of the Big Easy becoming anything but on Aug. 29, 2005; Dr. John looks to be in shock as he offers prayers for his city, and that’s all just in the disc’s first two minutes. Some of the same analysts from Lee’s film resurface to make points that bear repeating, namely that governmental agencies from local to federal ignored advance warnings and failed to meet residents’ needs after the storm.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published