Tootie's Last Suit
PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY LISA KATZMAN
“Tootie represented a kind of soulfulness in the community, and a certain type of style, and everybody loved him."
Pulitzer Prize-winning jazz musician
“ 'Tootie’s Last Suit' gets inside the life and work of Mardi Gras Indian Chief Tootie Montana in a way that is unexpectedly candid and revelatory, not only of the main character and his complex relationship to his son and heir, Chief Darryl Montana but of the unique art form and community he ultimately sacrifices his life for. This astonishing film has stayed with me, and I often think about it.”
—Les Blank, filmmaker:
Always for Pleasure, Burden of Dreams
A Well Spent Life
A Poem is a Naked Person
The Blues According to Lightnin’ Hopkins
“The sights and sounds of the Black Indians—the effusion of colorful feathers, the intricacy of the beaded patches, the chants driven by percussion, and the ritual dancing—are wonderful to behold and inevitably absorb our attention: it’s a feast for the senses. But the internal dynamics within the tribes—the bids for power, respect, and recognition that are integral to what the Indians are about—has never been adequately addressed until now. In this work, Katzman has penetrated to the core of the Mardi Gras Indian experience and delivers a powerful examination of how the seemingly parochial event can encompass themes, that are, in fact, universal.”
––Bruce Rayburn, Head Curator,
Tulane University, Hogan Jazz Archive
"This one amazing film confirms indubitably and absolutely the overriding importance of New Orleans for the culture of the United States. A delight, a sweet beauty, and a revelation of how soul makes art."
––James Hillman, author:
The Myth of Analysis
The Dream and the Underworld
The Soul's Code
and The Force of Character
"As we approach Tribeca Film Festival's final weekend, it's a good time to catch up on the miscellaneous highlights you might have missed. You won't, for instance, want to let the profound "Tootie's Last Suit" (7:45 p.m., AMC 34th Street) pass you by. Few outside of Louisiana know the name Allison (Tootie) Montana, but the New Orleans residents, the Mardi Gras Indian chief was a revered icon. While the film is, in part, a compassionate personal portrait, it's also much more, in its complex examination of the racial, ethnic and cultural histories that the city cannot, for better and worse, put behind it."
––Tribeca Film Festival Top Picks
New York Daily News, May 4, 2007
"Tootie's Last Suit," a gripping documentary about Mardi Gras Indian Tootie Montana. Shot pre- and post-Katrina by New York/New Orleans filmmaker Lisa Katzman, "Tootie" captures all the passion and cultural muscularity of America's most battered town. See "Tootie" and you'll never ask again, "Is New Orleans really worth saving."
New York Newsday, May 6, 2007
“Like films about Native Americans and European Jews, you know how most stories shot recently in New Orleans are going to end. Not this one. Hurricane Katrina is more a denouement than the conclusion of the story of legendary Mardi Gras Indian Allison "Tootie" Montana. In finding out about Tootie, we learn so much: about the inherent segregation of Mardi Gras, the 19th-century relationships between slaves and local Choctaws, and about the real roots of jazz and New Orleans R&B. But mostly, we learn about the amazing art of creating the magnificent, feathered and beaded suits the Mardi Gras Indians wear, and the role marching Indian groups like Tootie's Yellow Pocahontas Hunters played in New Orleans' African-American culture.”
––Richard Hart, The Independent Weekly
"Wynton Marsalis, the Big Easy's donation to Jazz at Lincoln Center, gets the Mont Blanc de la Culture Award tonight. Wynton also offers his consummate hepcat insight in "Tootie's Last Suit," Lisa Katzman's fantastic documentary about the Mardi Gras Indian subculture. It plays the Tribeca Film Fest for three days, starting tomorrow."
––Rush and Molloy,
New York Daily News, May 2, 2007
"....the film answers the two essential questions concerning New Orleans today: WHAT exactly was so special about New Orleans? And WHY should I care? After seeing "Tootie's Last Suit," you will know."
Director, New Orleans Film Commission