The Whole Gritty City

The Whole Gritty City is a unique, fascinating window into the little-known world of New Orleans school marching bands. The documentary is a dramatic, music-filled story of children struggling to reach adulthood in one of America s most impoverished and violent cities. The film follows kids in three bands as the 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. A 2016 ALA Notable Video.


A film by Richard Barber and Andre Lambertson

Producer, director and editor: Richard Barber

Co-director and director of photography: Andre Lambertson

For public screenings please contact the filmmakers at


See The Whole Gritty City’s Kickstarter backers here and here.