The Whole Gritty City

The Whole Gritty City is a 90-minute documentary that plunges viewers into the world of three New Orleans school marching bands. The film follows kids growing up in America's most musical city, and one of its most dangerous, as their band directors get them ready to perform in the Mardi Gras parades, and teach them to succeed and to survive. Navigating the urban minefield through moments of setback, loss, discovery, and triumph, these children and their adult leaders reveal the power and resilience of a culture.

The film is available here with French or Spanish subtitles.

Buying or renting the 89-minute film also gets you 12 video additional scenes featuring characters and bands from the film

For DVDs and to learn more go to

"Heartbreaking and hopeful" - LA Times
"Inspirational" - NPR Fresh Air
"We left the film shaken, mobilized" -
"Glorious" - David Simon (The Wire, Treme)
"A celebration of music, joy and hope" -
"Highly recommended" - Booklist, School Library Journal, Educational Media Review
ALA 2016 list of notable videos for adults