by Ken Korman
The Quorum, a 2004 documentary by Maurice M. Martinez and Harriet J. Ottenheimer, traces the history of an interracial, multicultural coffe shop that thrived for a time in early-'60s New Orleans despite state laws barring blacks and whites from even sitting together in bars and restaurants. Located at 611 Esplanade near Chartres in the Marigny, The Quorum was a haven for artists, writers, actors, poets, scholars, and bohemians and activists of every imaginable stripe. A 1964 police raid of the establishment resulted in 73 arrests. The Quorum mixes archival materials and interviews with surviving patrons to bring the era back to life, and to pay tribute to New Orleanians who contributed to the national Civil Rights Movement.
The hour-long documentary will screen at 6:30 p.m. this Saturday, April 21, at Press Street's Antenna Gallery, 3161 Burgundy Street. A discussion will follow the movie. More information can be found here and here.