This not to be missed screening of Peter Entell’s film, Shake the Devil Off at Input 2008 tells the moving story of St. Augustine Church in the wake of the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. St Augustine is a historic church reknowned as ‘the place where, for the first time, slaves, freed black people and whites sat side by side on the pews, singing to God.’
Six months after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans, the axe has just fallen at St. Augustine Church : the archdiocese is about to close the parish and send Father LeDoux away. The church is renowned as the birthplace of jazz and gospel, and a powerful reminder of the history of slavery. The parishioners join forces with local musicians to resist. Their spiritual guide, Father LeDoux, encourages them to pray and negotiate. But they soon realize they must take matters into their own hands … the time has come to go on the offensive. Shake the Devil Off is a contemporary retelling of the story of Easter, in a city where politics, culture and religion collide and where the plan of God remains impenetrable.
The central character is FATHER JEROME LEDOUX, the priest of St. Augustine Church and a pillar of strength in the Tremé neighbourhood of New Orleans where the church is located. The seventy-six year old pastor has been preaching and singing there for more than fifteen years. He has become internationally known. People from France, Germany and Switzerland come to his mass on Sundays and he speaks to them in their native languages.