There's plenty of live music at French Quarter Festival, but for those looking for some shade and air conditioning, there are some options. The festival's free film screenings offer a slate of movies highlighting Louisiana music in the comfort of Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre Saturday and Sunday. There are features and documentaries about Cajun culture and music. Singer-songwriter Kristin Diable stars in a short feature, and both parts of Paul Sanchez's musical adaptation of Nine Lives, which was filmed at Le Petit, are screened.
Saturday, April 14
Dance for a Chicken
Pat Mire's award-winning documentary plunges into the courir de Mardi Gras, the rural Cajun Carnival tradition. Revelers costumed and masked as beggars and clowns go from farm to farm asking for contributions of food for a communal gumbo. Some farmers will offer a chicken, but the revelers must catch it or perform in exchange for the gift. The result is a raucous parade through Cajun country on Fat Tuesday.
Filmmaker Stephen Meaux created an eight-part series about Cajun music, with many segments on younger Cajun bands. The screening features Pine Leaf Boys, Feufollet, The Revelers and T'Monde.
Canadian filmmaker Phil Comeau focused on Cajun singer and poet Zachary Richard in his examination of Cajun culture on the 250th anniversary of Acadians settling in Louisiana. The film follows Richard as he traces Cajun ancestry to Nova Scotia, Canada and talks to Cajuns about their culture, identity and survival.
Director Colleen Keeley's short documentary takes a colorful look at the French Quarter and New Orleans through the eyes of Al Barras as he marks his 55th year working at the Hotel Monteleone.
Sunday, April 15
Director Pat Mire's 1997 narrative feature film is set against a backdrop of Cajun culture and music. After his father's death, Louis Daigle leaves his career as an architect in New Orleans to preserve his family's farm. It's not easy learning to grow rice in the Acadian prairie, but he meets an old flame and tries to reconnect with his past.
Singer-songwriter Kristin Diable stars in a story not unlike her own career trajectory. In this 2015 film, she plays a musician who becomes frustrated with chasing musical stardom in Los Angeles and returns home to rural Louisiana and her aging widower father (David Jensen). The soundtrack features many of Diable's songs, and the film also stars singer Maggie Koerner.
Nine Lives: A Musical Adaptation Live,
Act I followed by Q&A with Paul Sanchez
Nine Lives: A Musical Adaptation Live, Act II
Dan Baum's book about New Orleans examines the city from the aftermath of Hurricane Betsy through the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures. It focuses on nine New Orleanians, including King of Carnival Bill Grace and Coroner Frank Minyard. Sanchez's musical adaptation was presented at Le Petit Theatre, with musicians and actors including Michael Cerveris, Bryan Batt, Harry Shearer, Tara Brewer, Shamarr Allen, Lillian Boutte and many others.