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Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Booker


"Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Booker" explores the life, times and music of piano legend James Booker, who Dr. John described as "the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced." Booker was an unparalleled musician whose eccentricities and showmanship belied a life of struggle and isolation. Triply-marginalized by his race, sexuality, and physical disability, he still managed to excel as a musician in New Orleans and Europe in the turbulent 1960-70s, fusing secular, sacred, pop and classical traditions in breathtaking new ways. A brilliant stylist of soaring imagination, Booker personified the agony of genius in a time of paradigmatic change.

Director: Lily Keber

Producer: Lily Keber, Nathaniel Kohn

Cinematographer: David White

Editor: Tim Watson

Sound Designer: Eric Laws

Additional Credits: Associate Producer: Ted Moree, Associate Producer: Amy Rodrigue, Associate Producer: Don Williams, Additional Editing: Aimee Toledano

Principal Cast: Harry Connick Jr., Hugh Laurie, Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas, Charles Neville, Douglas Brinkley


Lily Keber lives and works in New Orleans. Her other video work has dealt with the siege of Gaza, rebuilding efforts in New Orleans, and media literacy. Her short film "Hutto: America's Family Prison" focused on Bush’s policy of family detention. Lily is co-founder of New Orleans Video Voices, a woman-led media collective.

Sales Agent: Steven Beer

Public Film Contact
Lily Keber
Mairzy Doats Productions
(504) 579-4839