New Orleans: the utterly original American city that lies at the mouth of the mighty Mississippi and at the beating heart of the great American experiment. Walled in on almost all sides by water, pressed together by the demands and dangers of geography, the crowded streets of New Orleans have always been a laboratory where the social forces that characterize American life play out in dramatic and, at times, disastrous fashion.
Over the course of two provocative hours, American Experience tells the story of this remarkable city. Focusing primarily on the century from Reconstruction to school desegregation in the 1960s, the film offers a portrait of New Orleans that both explores its unique and distinctive culture and illuminates its central place on the American landscape.
Featuring the city's rich archival resources and a remarkable collection of on-camera commentators, the film also includes a series of verité-style portraits of New Orleans residents. The resulting cinematic narrative is a dialogue between past and present that highlights New Orleans' particular brand of humor, fatalism, and wry rebelliousness, while raising critical questions about what lies ahead for the city and the nation.
A synopsis of the film, plus film credits.
The program transcript.
A list of books, articles, and Web sites relating to the program topic.
Program interviewees and consultants.
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is closed captioned for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers by The Caption Center at WGBH.
A special narration track is added to the series by Descriptive Video Service® (DVS®), a service of WGBH to provide access to people who are blind or visually impaired. The DVS narration is available on the SAP channel of stereo TVs and VCRs.
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