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New Orleans in Switzerland: The Sound After The Storm

long shot of a street in Ascona
Ascona, Switzerland, during the festival.

Story and photograph by Sally Young

For over a year, the film team of Patrik Soergel, Ryan Fenson-Hood, and Sven O. Hill worked in Ascona, Switzerland, New Orleans, and Stresa, Italy, documenting post-Katrina life. They focused on Lillian Boutte, Dr. Michael White, & Armand “Sheik” Richardson, all New Orleans natives recovering from the storm. The movie is titled The Sound After the Storm. Many other familiar faces from our musical community also appear in the movie.

Lillian sings in Stresa, Italy with the Pfister Sisters in 2008, with Josh Paxton on piano, James Markway on bass, and Gerald French on drums, and featuring special guest Charlie Miller on trumpet. She stops for a backstage visit with Donald Harrison, Jr. before his concert in Stresa, and is spotted briefly with Shannon Powell. Her brother Manuel, a Grand Marshall for the JazzAscona Festival, and John appear at a family gathering at their mother's house in Lacombe, Louisiana. In another scene, Lillian drops by the Cabildo to present Bethany Bultman with a donation for the Musicians’ Clinic.
Michael White performs cuts from his CD, Blue Crescent, just after it's June 2008 release at Jacques-Imo's on Oak Street in New Orleans, with Gregg Stafford, Detroit Brooks, and Roland Guerin in the band. Musical legend Harold Batiste can be seen in the audience.

Sheik leads the Arabi Wrecking Krewe, gutting Lawrence Batiste's house, and the film crew follows him through the French Quarter and the Lower Ninth Ward, surveying what’s left of New Orleans three years after Katrina.

The film premiered at the 2009 Zurich film festival and won first place in the documentary category. This year, JazzAscona held special screenings during the festival at the Cinema Otello. Congratulations to all of our Swiss movie stars! You look great on the big screen.

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