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Documentary Screening at the Pass Christian Library



The Friends of the Pass Christian Public Library are pleased to host a screening of the documentary City of a Million Dreams on Thursday, January 12th at 11:30am in the conference room of the Pass Christian Public Library. The Friends of the Library will provide a free lunch for those attending the screening.


Famous the world over, jazz funerals have origins shrouded in mystery. Filmed over twenty-two years, City of a Million Dreams explores race relations at a tearing time in American society. Burial traditions train a lens on the unique and resilient culture of New Orleans. City of a Million Dreams draws from the 2018 book of the same title by Jason Berry.


Deb Cotton, an African American and observant Jew, leaves “hard-hearted Hollywood” for New Orleans, and becomes a chronicler of the parading clubs spawned by 19th century burial societies. Her zeal for the city grows as she becomes a blogger for Gambit Weekly, adopting the handle “Big Red Cotton.” As Deb explores her adopted culture, Dr. Michael White, a prolific clarinetist and New Orleans native, plays “the widow’s wail” on his clarinet, a cry of lamentation in the funeral marches.


White’s transcendent music also includes joyous peals for the soul’s cutting-loose, which happens when the band leaves the cemetery, followed by dancers in what New Orleanians call “the second line.” Risen in the ranks of brass bands, White, too, is on a journey of self-discovery, seeking clues about his ancestor who played at the dawn of jazz. White says of jazz funerals: “For someone dealing with American racism and trying to figure out your place in this life…you can be transformed into another world that really sets you free.” Mr. Berry, who produced the documentary, will be on hand to introduce the film and engage in Q & A after the screening.


Everyone is welcome to attend! The documentary screening is free. Pass Christian Books will have copies of the book, City of a Million Dreams by Jason Berry, that is the basis for the documentary available for purchase. The Pass Christian Library is located at 111 Hiern Avenue. To learn more, you can email passchristianlibrary@gmail.com or you can call the Pass Christian Public Library at 228-452-4596 or visit


POINT OF CONTACT: Wendy Allard at 228-452-4596 or w.allard@harrison.lib.ms.us

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