By and By shines a light on a family and culture at a crossroads.

Founded in 1965 by James Williams, Sr., The Electrifying Crown Seekers anchored a vibrant, under-the-radar gospel music community in the heart of the birthplace of jazz. Dedicated to preserving the raw quartet style of singing made famous by The Dixie Hummingbirds and The Blind Boys of Alabama, the Crown Seekers and the New Orleans quartet community fostered a nascent local circuit that, by 2004, supported close to 50 regular acts.

But changing tastes (and the graying of the quartets) left the community vulnerable. Hurricane Katrina dealt a crushing blow: almost a decade after the storm, fewer than 15 quartets have returned to New Orleans.

And the Crown Seekers, centered around James Williams and his family, are the only full pre-Katrina quartet still performing.

A multi-generational story in the spirit of 1982’s celebrated documentary Say Amen Somebody, By and By uses the power of raw gospel music, spirited sermons, and poignant interviews to document how the Crown Seekers, now in their 48th year, have struggled to reclaim and redefine their broken community — and in the process, have discovered that their old community has redefined them.

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