Picturing Us Docuseries presents six stories of New Orleans

In conjunction with the exhibition Changing Course: Reflections on New Orleans Histories, NOMA presents six documentary films exploring the people and places that make New Orleans home. The films will be screened as part of Friday Nights at NOMA programming.

  • Friday, July 6, 7 pm: Tchoupitoulas
  • Friday, July 20, 7 pm: The Sons of Tennessee Williams
  • Friday, July 27, 7 pm: Mr. Cao Goes to Washington
  • Friday, August 3, 6 pm: Prejudice and Pride
  • Friday, August 10, 7 pm: Piano Players Rarely Ever Play Together
  • Friday, August 17, 7 pm: By Invitation Only 


TCHOUPITOULAS | Friday, July 6, 7 pm

Tchoupitoulas is a story of the New Orleans night. It is a visually exhilirating and aurally immersive record of one night in the many lives of a thriving nocturnal populace. Three young boys act as our wide-eyed conduits to a parade of entertainers and revelers as they dance through the lamp-lit streets and doorways of the Crescent City. From dusk to dawn, viewers explore the lives and locales of one of the world’s most unique cities. In moments, vignettes, performances, and exchanges,Tchoupitoulas is a kaleidoscopic odyssey into another side of New Orleans. Described by The New York Times as “a heady hybrid of documentary and dream” the film is “alive with the risk and curiosity of youth, and unapologetic in insisting that the pursuit of fun can be a profound and transformative experience.” (2012 | Not rated | 1 hour, 20 minutes)

Watch the trailer:



The Sons of Tennessee Williams tells the story of New Orleans gay Mardi Gras across five decades and explores the intersection of Carnival and the gay rights movement. Starting in 1959, groups of gay men began discreetly to charter social clubs called krewes, transforming the momentary license and briefly relaxed laws during Mardi Gras into public explosions of an underground culture. Documentarian Tim Wolff parallels these elaborate tableaux balls with the emerging struggle for gay rights in New Orleans and the nation, chronicling an important social history that has gone largely untold. (2011 | Not rated | 1 hour, 20 minutes)

Watch the trailer:


MR. CAO GOES TO WASHINGTON | Friday, July 27, 7 pm

Mr. Cao Goes to Washington follows the journey of Rep. Joseph Cao, the first Vietnamese American elected to the US Congress, the only non-white House Republican of the 111th Congress, and the only Republican to vote for President Obama’s Health Care Reform Bill. A former seminarian and an idealistic attorney from the small but well-respected Vietnamese-American neighborhood in New Orleans, Anh “Joseph” Cao enters the political arena in  hoping to affect greater good. Having never won an election, in 2009 Cao scores a stunning upset by unseating Rep. Bill Jefferson, a nine-term incumbent mired in a bribery scandal, to capture a Congressional seat in just his second run for public office. (2012 | Not rated | 1 hour, 12 minutes)

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Linn Quinton weeps as he is helped by New Orleans firefighters after he escaped from a fire at the UpStairs bar, June 25, 1973. Quinton said he was with a group singing around a piano when the fire swept through the bar leaving 29 dead and 15 injured. (AP Photo/RL) No Sales

PREJUDICE AND PRIDE | Friday, August 3, 6 pm

Until 2016’s Pulse nightclub massacre, the deadliest attack on LGBT citizens was a fire intentionally set upon a gay bar in New Orleans in 1973, killing thirty-two people. But many people outside of New Orleans have never heard of the UpStairs Lounge fire—or are familiar with the effect it had on the gay community and subsequent gay rights movement. The intense homophobia of the time coupled with allegations of city officials embarrassingly sweepingly the tragedy under the rug have left it largely unknown in the LGBT historical narrative.

Upon the forty-fifth anniversary of the UpStairs Lounge tragedy, Prejudice and Pride recounts the fire and the aftermath that swept through New Orleans via new interviews with survivors, first responders, activists, journalists and family members of the dead.

The ABC News investigative team uncovers yet another tragedy—a victim and World War II veteran stripped of all dignity, discarded in an unmarked grave on the fringe of the city. On the trail to uncover his whereabouts, Prejudice and Pride journeys from the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter to its desolate outskirts. Can his family find him and the closure they seek? And will the UpStairs Lounge fire finally take its rightful place in gay rights’ history? (Not rated | 2018 | 28 minutes)

Watch the trailer at this link.


Filmmaker Stevenson Palfi’s portrait of three great New Orleans pianists—Isidore “Tuts” Washington, Henry “Professor Longhair” Byrd, and Allen Toussaint—was filmed in 1982. The documentary examines how these men influenced one another’s music. The documentary takes viewers through the very personal and sacred New Orleans tradition of a jazz wake and funeral procession for Professor Longhair, which was taped at the encouragement of his widow, Alice. Also included is footage of a concert with Toussaint and Washington, who turned the event into a tribute to “Fess.” Released to critical acclaim more than 35 years ago, Piano Players Rarely Ever Play Together is considered by many to be one of the most important and exciting explorations of New Orleans’ musical tradition ever made. The film is the winner of more than twenty awards. (1982 | Not rated | 1 hour, 16 minutes)

Watch the trailer: