New Orleans, Jason Berry, Ed Randall discussed on Bob Salter


With us. On the fan. The Sunday voting and avoiding everybody. This is Bob Solter remove into the home stretch segment of our program hits. Ed Randall has long talk baseball after nine o'clock update Rick wolf the sports edge after eight o'clock update on the fan. Jason berry is an American investigative reporter who's based in New Orleans. He's been talking with us in our seven o'clock hour of our program. I mentioned that the beginning of our discussion with him he's known for pioneering investigative reporting on sexual abuse. But in our discussion today is talking with us about say new book entitled city of a million dreams. A history of New Orleans certainly has a passion for New Orleans. Having been born raised in the city now for a lot of people you say New Orleans, and the first thought that comes to mind those images of Katrina that we've mentioned thus far in our discussion. But. For you. On a personal level. What was it like for you? When you returned home after Katrina. Oh well. My wife, and I were quite fortunate in that our home did not flood as I said earlier eighty percent of the city took water at an average level of four feet. I spent weeks driving around at night in neighborhoods that were completely dark, no electricity. Ghost towns. I began reporting writing a lot about various events following city. Government is it slowly began to come together. I did wonder many times. Whether we were destined to be a broken, mud town Nagin the mayor at that time played the race card and getting reelected till black people. We've gotta keep city hall anyone with help from Jesse Jackson. And Al Sharpton, many people believed that he had had some sort of nervous breakdown. And I do to this day based on all sorts of information. He his second term was surreal. It was he was so detached from what real governing entails. He was a narcissist. Many politicians are but he was a narcissist. Who didn't know what to do and other than try to get himself on television? He's now in prison for. You know, trying to extort money. I mean, the guy was just a mess and. Through that period from I guess what two thousand six to two thousand ten the signs of decay and broken. We're everywhere even as people began to rebuild and come back, you know, with federal programs that offset insurance did not cover everything. I I often wondered what our future was. But I think like a lot of people here. I you know, I didn't have to do much. But in following what other people had to do. It was a deeply sobering experience. And in the end, I think when Landru ran and got elected the whole people had was he delivered. I mean, he managed to get the federal government because the levees were federally managed and broke. It really was a federal disaster. And so Obama. Got behind him. And the city it helped his sister was US Senator at the time Mary Landrieu and the money flowed and the infrastructure was very slowly rebuilt stopped to say, we still don't have problems with the city is is far better. I would say on balance and it's been in decades. And when you talk about your work. One of the things that we have to mention of mentioned the fact we're talking with Jason berry who's the author of city of a million dreams a history of New Orleans at year three hundred he joined us by phone on her program. You were also producing a movie on jazz funerals. I understand. That's correct. What's that project? It's only taken twenty years. What's it like how much time? Well, I began I began filming jazz funerals in the late nineties with a grant from the Ford Foundation. And at the time, I was interested in two things. I wanted to understand where they came from just as a research matter and the book, I originally envisioned. Whoa about that point of origin. How did this? How did this remarkable tradition of people playing music and dancing in the streets for the dead? How did it arise? But there was another reason why I got interested in it. And that was because with so many youngsters dying in the crack wars and drug wars the cracks funerals were so different from the time honored processional that I had seen and and the the combination of beauty and a sort of ecstatic dancing, you know, after the cemetery. The this variant this branch off the trunk of funeral. So to speak was much rougher hard edge body language, and it was musicians who told me about this traditional jazzman who aboard what was going on. The fact that younger bands were not wearing uniforms, and and not playing religious music. It was being sort of stripped of its religious essence. So those two things that got me interested, and I kept working on the. Book and raising money as I could to keep shooting. I when the flood hit in two thousand five the whole project went I won't say belly up, but it was up ended because Michael white clarinetist who occupies a key part in the last portion of the book, he lost everything in his house it flooded up to eight feet and by the time he got back. I followed him with a cameraman, and he'd lost four thousand books five thousand CDs, all of his sheet music and. It was one of the numbing experiences. I've had just following him through the house. He became to me a kind of every man of the city and. We were both dealing with issues as everybody was after the flood for years. And finally, it was about twenty fifteen when I began to get proposals going and got some grant support, and we did a Kickstarter, and we got the film moving again. We're now in in post production. We still have a waste to go. But I think we'll have a rough cut by the spring and hopefully be entering festivals in the fall. Congratulations on the progress with the movie, and certainly congratulations on the publication.

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