The 18 Best Documentaries About New Orleans

Sep 22, 2023 | Best Of, Geography, History

When one thinks about all the sights, sounds, and flavors that make up New Orleans — from its nightlife to its Creole cuisine — it’s no wonder why people flock to this vibrant city. But there is so much more to discover beyond just what lies on the surface. Join us as we explore some of the best documentaries about New Orleans, a place where the past, present, and future all meet in one unique culture. Let us be your guide as we show you why this city is such a beloved destination for travelers of all kinds. Get ready to experience New Orleans like never before!


1. Take Me To The River New Orleans (2023)

“Take Me to the River New Orleans” is a captivating documentary that delves into the vibrant and diverse musical landscape of New Orleans. Through its rich history, cultural heritage, and global influences, this city has solidified itself as an unparalleled treasure in the world of music.






2. Louisiana Story (1948)

Exploring the delicate balance between progress and preservation, this acclaimed documentary captures the raw beauty of a bayou community in Louisiana. As an oil company sets up shop in their backyard, a young boy named Boudreaux grapples with the changes brought by industrialization.






3. Buckjumping (2020)

Buckjumping is a celebration of New Orleans, capturing the spirit and energy of the city through its dancers. These individuals bring life to the streets with their rhythmic movements, embodying the pulsating beat that defines New Orleans. Through this documentary, we witness the vibrant culture and tradition that thrives in every corner of this unique city.






4. Closed for Storm (2021)

Join us as we delve into the captivating story of a once-thriving theme park that now stands abandoned in the heart of Louisiana. Closed For Storm is a compelling documentary that takes you on a journey through the rise and fall of this beloved attraction.






5. Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story (2022)

This captivating documentary celebrates the 50th anniversary of one of the most iconic festivals in history.






6. New Orleans Exposed (2023)

Experience the raw and unfiltered truth of New Orleans, once known as the “Murder Capital” in 2004. Delve into a city plagued by violence, youth rebellion, and police misconduct through our 60-minute documentary, New Orleans Exposed. Discover the root causes behind the staggering murder rates and gain insight into the lives of locals who have been deeply impacted by this dark reality.






7. Best of the Big Easy (2002)

Discover the soul of New Orleans through the eyes of its residents. Immerse yourself in the vibrant pulse of this city and soak up its rich culture and spirit. Stroll through the historic French Quarter, known as the beating heart of New Orleans. No matter which neighborhood you find yourself in – from Lakeside to Riverside, Uptown to Downtown – you’ll be captivated by the unique energy and charm that defines this one-of-a-kind destination.






8. A Refuge of Last Resort (2006)

This gripping and acclaimed documentary follows the lives of those impacted by Hurricane Katrina, delving into their struggles and tragedies during the storm and its aftermath. Through intimate perspectives from affected families in New Orleans, this powerful film captures the heart-wrenching realities of a community torn apart by natural disaster.







The Best Free Documentaries About New Orleans


1. New Orleans | Full Episode

Erik the Travel Guy is off to explore the vibrant culture of New Orleans, Louisiana – a place known for its unique atmosphere and tasty cuisine. He’s ready to uncover the city’s hidden gems – from music venues to mouth-watering restaurants – and offer up all kinds of fun insights into what makes this destination such a special one. Join Erik as he takes you on a journey through the streets of New Orleans and discovers all that this amazing place has to offer. Get ready for an experience like no other – Beyond Your Backyard is heading to the Big Easy! From its vibrant nightlife, historic architecture and rich cultural history – there’s so much to explore in New Orleans.


2. New Orleans – The Natural History

As I explored the unique and colorful New Orleans, it seemed like there was more to this city than meets the eye. From its iconic festivals to its vibrant nightlife, it felt like I had uncovered a hidden gem. But what really set this place apart was its natural history. It turns out that New Orleans is situated on some of the oldest land in North America and has a long and varied history. From its significance during the Revolutionary War to its importance in the Civil Rights Movement, it felt like I was uncovering an entire world of knowledge.


3. The Battle Of New Orleans | History Of Warfare | Timeline

For those interested in the history of warfare and the battles that have shaped North America, “The Battle Of New Orleans” is a must-see. This captivating documentary begins with a comprehensive timeline of the conflicts between France and Britain during the 18th century, spanning all the way to Quebec and Canada’s eventual joining of the British Empire. Expert commentary provided by Dr. Scott Lucas and historian Stuart Reid, as well as narration from Ian Brooker, leads viewers through the details of this dramatic period in history. The documentary also contains battle reconstruction footage and re-enactments that bring these epic events to life.


4. America’s French Colony: A History of New Orleans | Legendary Cities Cultural History Documentary

Welcome to the ever-changing cultural heart of the South: New Orleans. Here you’ll find a vibrant mix of French, Spanish, African-American and Creole influences, with Native American roots as well. This unique fusion has allowed for its unique culture to thrive; from Mardi Gras festivals to jazz music, this city has been filled with celebration since its inception. The city has a strong, deep-rooted history which dates back to its French colonial days; when petty criminals were sent here to start new lives in an increasingly tolerant environment. Even after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans marches on in tune with its cultural identity that has been around since its beginning.


5. Documentary on the New Orleans origins of Jazz

Stefan Sargent’s documentary is a must-see for jazz lovers everywhere. It takes us on a journey down the streets of New Orleans, uncovering the history and culture that molded this beloved genre. From interviews with local musicians to exploring the city’s unique architecture, this film offers an in-depth look at how Jazz came to be in New Orleans. Along the way, we get to learn about some of the greats who helped create it, such as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. Whether you’re a fan or just curious about Jazz, this documentary will give you an unparalleled experience into its roots.


6. Gangs, violence, hurricanes: in the heat of New Orleans

New Orleans is known for its vibrant culture and its deep history. But beneath the surface, lies a darker side: one of gangs, violence, and hurricanes. Every year, more than ten million people flock to visit this fascinating city, but few are aware of the hidden peril that exists there. Hurricane Katrina decimated the region in 2005, leaving behind a swath of destruction and despair. Meanwhile, gangs continue to plague the streets, endangering both locals and visitors alike. But despite all of this, New Orleans continues to be a tourist hotspot. It is a city of culture, music and resilience – one that has endured adversity time and time again.


7. Murda Capital {New Orleans Documentary}

MURDA CAPITAL – A New Orleans Story. This documentary takes us deep into the heart of post-Katrina New Orleans, to explore the harsh realities and rising murder rate in the city’s ghettos. Zül-Qarnaįn, an ambitious artist, designer and entrepreneur from New Orleans is determined to get to the root of the problem. He sets out with a camera to capture stories of people whose lives have been impacted by violence, allowing us to gain an insight into the culture of this city that tourists don’t get to see.


8. Legendary Cities : New Orleans And its French heritage

Legendary Cities: New Orleans and Its French AccentNew Orleans, Louisiana is a city of cultural heritage. From its Creole roots to the African American influence, the French colonial-style buildings that line its streets tell a unique story of music, history and culture.The vibrant atmosphere of Mardi Gras draws people from all over the world. The colorful streets of New Orleans resonate with the sounds of revelers, and music fills the air as they make their way down its promenades.



New Orleans’ Eastside is a region steeped in history and street life. From all over the world, visitors come to the Big Easy to revel in the city’s party atmosphere. However, many do not venture into “The Wild East” for fear of what they may find there. Explore this often-misunderstood part of New Orleans with The Best Documentaries About New Orleans: EAST. This film takes viewers on a journey through the dangers, wonders and secrets of Eastside life and culture. Get an inside look at the vibrant music, art scenes, and personalities that make this side of town unique.

Watch it here


10. The Most Dangerous Hoods in New Orleans! 🇺🇸

New Orleans is one of the most iconic and bustling cities in the United States, with its unique culture, food scene, music and vibrant nightlife. But as with many urban areas around the world, there are some dangerous neighborhoods that should be avoided at all costs. In this documentary series we will explore these notorious neighborhoods and discover what makes them so dangerous. From street gangs to drug dealers, we will look at the underlying causes of crime in some of these areas and find out what the local authorities are doing to tackle it. We will also meet some of the residents who still live in these areas despite the daily threat of violence.

Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B