Premieres Sunday, November 28th at 7:00pm and 9:00pm!

Watch the trailer here!

Press Release:

WLAE and LAE Productions premiere 

Irma Thomas: The Soul Queen of New Orleans – A Concert Documentary Film

The Emmy Award-winning production team that produced Fats Domino: Walking Back to New Orleans and A Tribute to Toussaint is hard at work putting together what we hope will be a riveting one-hour music documentary highlighting the storied life of legendary New Orleans Soul Queen and Grammy-award winner Irma Thomas. The documentary will chronicle and celebrate Irma’s 50-plus year music career. 

Entitled Irma Thomas: The Soul Queen of New Orleans – A Concert Documentary Film, this informative and entertaining documentary will debut on Sunday, November 28th at 7:00pm & 9:00pm.  

“Irma Thomas: The Soul Queen of New Orleans – A Concert Documentary Film” will feature a candid interview with one of New Orleans’ most celebrated musical icons as well as never-before-seen footage of Irma in concert in her early days through her 80th birthday celebration earlier this year.

Irma, along with Quint Davis, Keith Spera, Trombone Shorty, Reggie Toussaint and Marcia Ball, tells the story of Irma’s humble beginnings in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, her days living with her grandparents in Greensburg, Louisiana, how she sang in the Baptist church choir as a young girl and how she quickly rose to national stardom with her first of many R&B Billboard chart singles.

“’The Soul Queen’ is a nice title. I appreciate the thought and energy that went into that honor, but I don’t get hung up on the title. You know, I’m just Irma,” explains the 2007 GRAMMY Best Contemporary Blues Album award-winning artist who talks openly this exclusive interview about her close faith in God.

“Our concert documentary on one of New Orleans’ true entertainment legends will focus not only on her music, but her life story which is filled with hardship and triumph,” said Ron Yager, President of WLAE-TV. “Our station has an award-winning track record of being the story tellers that pay tribute to the icons in the city, and this film will follow in that rich tradition.”

At the start of her music career, Irma worked as a waitress and occasionally sang with R&B bandleader Tommy Ridgley. With his help, she landed her first record deal with Ron Records and released her first single, Don’t Mess With My Man, in 1959. The song reached as high as No. 22 on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart.

In 1991 she signed a recording contract with Rounder Records and received her first GRAMMY nomination for Live! Simply The Best. She continued to record numerous gospel albums and received yet another GRAMMY nomination in 1999 for the album Sing.

In 2005 Hurricane Katrina forced her to relocate to Gonzales, Louisiana, and she returned as soon as her home in New Orleans East was restored. Teaming up with Scott Billington and Rounder again, she recorded the album After The Rain, which was awarded the GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Blues Album in 2007.

Irma has performed with renowned musicians including James Taylor, Paul Simon and Marcia Ball and has performed around the world. Her 1964 rendition of “Time Is On My Side” inspired a version by the Rolling Stones, and she continues to play annually at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Serving as producer is Irma’s longtime friend and New Orleans media executive, Steve Schulkens.  “It’s a privilege and honor to tell Irma’s story to a national audience and to work with the great team at LAE Productions, said Schulkens.”  

In addition to Schulkens, the production team also includes: Ron Yager, Executive Producer/Director; Jim Dotson, Executive Producer; Ted Ochoa, Associate Producer/Editor; and Stephen Hunter, Director of Photography.

Irma Thomas: The Soul Queen of New Orleans – A Concert Documentary Film will air on Sunday, November 28th on WLAE-TV in New Orleans and on Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB) across the state throughout December. In 2022, it will be offered to public television stations across the United States.

Download the original press release here!