By Invitation Only on PBS World

By Invitation Only on PBS World

Wed, 07/28/2010 - 7:00pm

Pictured: Filmmaker Rebecca Snedeker


A look at how culture and race fit in, or don't fit in, to long-standing Mardi Gras traditions.

Inclusion in New Orleans' old line Carnival society remains "by invitation only," but this new documentary gives viewers an unprecedented look at the inner workings of this insular world through the lens of one of its own.

By Invitation Only encores Wednesday, July 28 at 7 p.m. on PBS World (cable 524/DT21.2).

Questioning its racial exclusivity, filmmaker Rebecca Snedeker decided to forego the debutante tradition that was a birthright of women in her family - but still she could not ignore its hold on her identity. In this film, she follows another young woman's ascension to her throne as a Mardi Gras queen, along the way revealing the tension between family and social status with both her own personal convictions and the winds of change in tradition-bound New Orleans. As Hurricane Katrina laid the cultural and racial complexities of the Crescent City bare, this film offers a probing and highly personal view into one of its oldest and most controversial traditions.