Stevenson J. Palfi, a documentary filmmaker based in New Orleans and celebrated by the likes of Les Blank, has reportedly died via self-inflicted gunshot. Palfi was best known for a 1982 documentary called Piano Players Rarely Ever Play Together (right), about several generations of New Orleans based musicians. Relatives say he had been severely depressed after Hurricane Katrina, which had detroyed his home, his neighborhood and most of his belongings. He had been living with his ex-wfie, Polly Waring, whose home was one of few spared n the Mid-City area where Palfi had lived, and was working on the final touches to his latest film. Called Songwriter, Unknown, it was a profile of composer (and friend of Palfi) Allen Toussaint; Palfi had been working on it for 15 years. A tribute to Palfi will take place on January 21, as part of Offbeat Magazine's "Best of the Beat" Awards ceremony at the New Orleans House of Blues. The suicide rate has supposedly skyrocketed in New Orleans since Katrina's early-September onslaught; according to the NY Times, that city's rate is now at least double the national average, a statistic made more staggering by the fact that New Orleans' post-Katrina population is surely smaller than that of any other major city.
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