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In New Orleans the Night Belongs to “Tchoupitoulas” – A New Documentary

You know when a newcomer has finally “arrived” in New Orleans when they can not only pronounce but spell one of the city’s most iconic street names “Tchoupitoulas.”

This street, which stretches from uptown along the Mississippi River all the way to downtown, is usually the thoroughfare locals take when they want to get from one side of town to the other quickly.

New Orleans Night Belongs to “Tchoupitoulas” – A New Documentary

It’s the street most Carnival parades line up on for their foray down Napoleon Ave. to St. Charles. It’s also the place that proudly displays Tipitina’s music club, has bars, homes, businesses, entrances to the docks, and some well known eateries.

But Tchoupitoulas is also the name of a tribe of Indians who lived in the area before it was taken over by Europeans, and strangely enough the original spelling was a lot simpler than it is now. Ha… only in New Orleans. And there is something of the wildness, the earthiness of the natives that is somehow captured in this film, a paean to the city.

A review in the New York Times explains:

Though the film takes place over a single night, it was shot over nine months, on repeated forays into the city. The smeary, hand-held cinematography sometimes turns the streetlamps and headlights into abstract compositions, but the cameras also capture the sensory abundance and kinetic rhythms of a place that pulses with life.

And with music, of course. Even more than the carefully playlisted HBO series “Treme,” “Tchoupitoulas” samples the wild variety of New Orleans sounds. You hear hip-hop beats and marching band brass, nightclub jazz bands and street musicians playing guitars, accordions, fiddles, saws and their own knees.


With the advent of our town become Hollywood South, there is a lot more local talent spreading their wings and producing locally made films and documentaries.

The directors, a pair of brothers across the river from the West Bank, made this well-received documentary that somehow catches something of the dreaminess of the Crescent City. There is an unexplainable quality about this place that’s difficult to put in words, but somehow easy to capture in art and music.

I’ve only seen a couple trailers for this film but already it’s evident that this is something really different and is quintessential New Orleans.

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