Format: NTSC Region 0 or 1
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2006 Jeremy Campbell
from filmthreat (phil hall)
Jeremy Campbell’s “Don’t Worry Honey, I Live Here: How Locals Celebrate Mardi Gras” provides a record of the Big Easy’s most famous event in the years prior to Hurricane Katrina. With footage shot between 2001 and 2003, the film provides a glimpse of the raucous, rude and wonderfully hedonistic excess of the Mardi Gras festivities.
As presented in this film, there appeared to have been three different Mardi Gras celebrations: a fairly respectable and conventional parade complete with marching bands and celebrities on floats (Jason Alexander can be briefly glimpsed throwing beads from a passing float). Then there are two distinctive neighborhood free-for-alls – one for the white folks, one for the black folks. The lack of integration is never overtly commented upon, but it is impossible not to notice.
The film is rich with plenty of kooky characters, including a pair of unicyclists staging jousting matches on a street while a woman with ten-gallon hat full of dollars circles their action (“We’re collecting donations for medical bills,” she explains, glancing over her shoulder at a fallen unicycle warrior).
Also, there are more than a few inebriates trying and failing to tell funny stories and more than a few street corner ministers trying to save souls amid the revelry. Neither of those camps appear very successful in getting their points across. A few bits of unamusing reality, most notably vomiting drunks and police hauling away too-boisterous celebrants, can be found.
The film also peppers the celebration with a host of interviews by “New Orleans legends” (or at least that’s how they’re identified in the press notes). I only recognized two of them, singer Rosie Ledet and radio DJ John Sinclair. While New Orleans natives may recognize the others, it would’ve been helpful if there was a proper identification for each talking head who showed up on camera. But that’s the only genuine complaint to lodge at this otherwise entertaining tribute to the glory of pre-Katrina New Orleans.