City of a Million Dreams: A History of New Orleans at Year 300 (2018) is Jason Berry’s tenth book, and the basis for a companion film documentary he is producing, slated for release in 2020.
“His optimism, a faith of sorts, is grounded in the very story he tells,” Larry Blumenfeld wrote in The Wall Street Journal, “of a city still defined by ‘pageantries and memory rituals rituals of its varied people’ and’ ‘where people of different colors and cultures have daily interactions as they have done for generations.’ His book, an indispensable history, explains both what we might take care not to lose and why it’s so easy to believe it will always be so.”
Jason Berry achieved prominence for his reporting on the Catholic Church crisis in Lead Us Not Into Temptation (1992),. He has been widely interviewed in the national media, with many appearances on Nightline, Oprah, ABC and CNN. USA Today called Berry “the rare investigative reporter whose scholarship, compassion and ability to write with the poetic power of Robert Penn Warren are in perfect balance.”
Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II, written with Gerald Renner (2004) has Spanish, Polish and Italian editions. The film Jason produced from the book won Best TV Documentary Award at 2008 Docs D.F. — Mexico City International Festival of Documentary Film — with air dates in Spain, Ireland and Italy.
Jason writes on culture for many publications. Up From the Cradle of Jazz, a history of New Orleans music, reissued in fall 2009 has new sections on the cultural impact of Hurricane Katrina.
In 2011 he published Render unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church (Crown), which received Investigative Reporters and Editors Best Book Award.
Jason received Guggenheim and NEH fellowships long the road of research for City of a Million Dreams, the first general history of New Orleans in many years.
He received a 1992 Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellowship for reporting on Louisiana demagogues. His play, Earl Long in Purgatory, won a 2002 Big Easy award for Best Original Work in Theatre.
He is also the author of Last of the Red Hot Poppas, a comic novel about Louisiana politics. Jason is a longtime contributor to The Daily Beast and National Catholic Reporter, among other outlets.
Jason Berry lives in New Orleans.