Always for Pleasure

Nov 27, 2006

Always for Pleasure is a 1978 documentary film by Les Blank about social traditions in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The film has footage of musical events, Mardi Gras Indians, a funeral with traditional music (the so-called “jazz funeral”), various second line parades, and cooking and eating red beans & rice and a crawfish boil.

Events filmed include New Orleans Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day 1977.

Local musicians perform and are interviewed, including Kid Thomas Valentine, Allen Toussaint, Danny Barker, Blue Lu Barker, Irma Thomas, the Neville Brothers and Professor Longhair.

The film subtitles a Creole song as “Hey Legba” when the tune’s title phrase is actually “Eh la bas”, a formerly common Louisiana Creole phrase of greeting roughly translating as “Hey over there you”. However, in New Orleans, Legba was often referred to as “Papa La Bas”, and some scholars, such as Henry Louis Gates, believe that “Eh La Bas” was a covert reference to Legba.

Unusually, the film includes looks at traditional predominantly white second lining organizations; many other films and documentarians have falsely assumed such traditions to exist only in predominantly black groups.

The DVD re-release includes additional performance footage of Professor Longhair.