By Johnny Cole
Photos by Stephen Anderson
On Wednesday, January 25, 2023, the historic 100 Men D.B.A. Hall hosted a special screening of Jason Berry’s documentary film City of a Million Dreams, which includes historical footage and profoundly personal interviews about the fascinating and legendary jazz funerals of New Orleans. The event featured a “meet, greet and book signing” with Berry; a spectacular jazz concert by the Dr. Michael White Quartet; and a screening of the film, followed by an official Q&A with Jason Berry (director, producer, writer), Tim Watson (film editor), Monique Moss (Congo Square sequence creative director), Titos Sampo (Congo Square musical director and choreographer), and Dr. Michael White (narrator, composer, historical advisor).
Jason Berry’s film City of a Million Dreams not only highlighted the history of New Orleans, but also prominently featured its incredible music, culture, and its deeply rooted heritage. The moving interviews and stories within the film were captivating to all in attendance at 100 Men Hall. This film project was a long time in the making and Berry had to overcome many obstacles, including Hurricane Katrina, the deaths of crucial people within the story and behind the scenes, various other important projects that took much of Berry’s time, and of course, the recent Covid-19 epidemic. Even though the film was released in 2021, it has only now and throughout 2022 begun screening worldwide.
Top Photo: Author Jason Berry signing books; Above Photo: Poster advertising event.
Jason Berry is an investigative reporter, author, and film director based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Berry has done award-winning investigative work on sexual abuse in the priesthood of the Catholic Church and has written groundbreaking books on the subject. He has also written Up from the Cradle of Jazz: New Orleans Music Since World War II and City of a Million Dreams: A History of New Orleans at Year 300, on which the documentary is based.
Dr. Michael White, along with fellow musicians, Dwayne Burns, Detroit Brooks, and Tyler Thomson, entertained the audience at 100 Men Hall with an outstanding jazz concert. The highly acclaimed and award-winning Dr. Michael White is a jazz clarinetist, bandleader, jazz historian, and musical educator. He is prominently featured in Berry’s documentary, including an emotional part of the film during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Dr. White has performed around the world and has forged a distinguished musical legacy as one of the authoritative figures in New Orleans Jazz.
Dr. Michael White Quartet at 100 Men D.B.A. Hall
The Southland Music Line has featured the 100 Men D.B.A. Hall in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi in several articles and photo collections, including as part of our Mississippi Blues Trail Series.
This landmark location was founded in 1894 by 12 civic-minded African American residents who organized under the name Hundred Members Debating Benevolent Association in order to assist its members when sick, bury its dead in a respectable manner, and knit friendship. It also holds an important place in music history. For many decades, the Hall attracted legendary musicians such as Ray Charles, James Brown, Etta James, Sam Cooke, B.B. King, Chuck Berry, Diamond Joe, Ernie K-Doe, Fats Domino, Lee Dorsey, James Booker, Irma Thomas, Professor Longhair and countless other black musicians during those sad years of segregation. As they say, “if these walls could talk….”
Today it provides us a with one of a kind experience. The 100 Men Hall was purchased by Rachel Dangermond and her son, Constantin “Tin” Dangermond in 2018 with the intent to operate it as a nonprofit, music venue, multipurpose rental hall, and community space. We applaud what they are continuing to provide to the public and how history is being honored.
Related Articles or Photo Collections:
Mississippi Blues Trail Series: 100 Men D.B.A. Hall
Jimbo Mathus on the Tin Shed Porch at 100 Men D.B.A. Hall
Mississippi Blues Trail Series (Contents)
Page Designed & Edited by Johnny Cole
Additional Editing by Deborah Chatham
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