Story Line

Deb Cotton, Black and Jewish, leaves “hard-hearted Hollywood” for New Orleans. Entranced by the parading culture, rooted in 19th century burial rites, Deb blogs as “Big Red Cotton,” posting her videos. Alongside Deb’s explorations, Dr. Michael White, a prolific jazzman, plays “the widow’s wail” on clarinet in funeral marches, lamentation giving way to joyous peals for the soul’s cutting-loose. White, too, is on a journey, seeking clues of his ancestor who played at the dawn of jazz. With stunning dramatizations of African burial dances, the film spotlights a parade shooting that plunges Deb and Michael into a search for the city’s soul.