Sunday, the closing day of French Quarter Fest, was a drizzly one so we started at one of the many indoor activities – the “Let Them Talk…” interview series at the Mint. Author John Broven led legends Allen Toussaint and Deacon John in a discussion of Cosimo Matassa, founder of both J&M Recording Studio and Cosimo Recording Studio. The event started and ended with Toussiant on the piano and Deacon John singing for us. Matassa was a local legend who is credited with helping to develop the rock and R&B sounds of the 50’s and 60’s. Fats Domino, Little Richard. Ray Charles, Dr. John, Ernie K-Doe, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sam Cooke, Aaron Neville and the legends on the stage in front of us were just a few of the artists Matassa worked with as both studio owner and engineer. Continue reading
Saturday was the third wonderful day of the 32nd annual French Quarter Fest. Crowds were lighter for rumors of rain but the day started beautifully with the talented and highly disciplined kids of The Roots of Music. Founded by Derrick Tabb, the snare drummer for the Grammy Award winning Rebirth Brass Band, the Roots program provides at-risk youths 9 to 14 year olds with instruction in music history, music theory and an instrument as well as ensemble performance preparation. Additionally, they provide academic tutoring, homework assistance, mentoring, round-trip transportation and a hot meal 5 days a week, 12 months a year. Plus, they’re AWESOME! In a city where we could have had our pick of oodles of ridiculously talented bands, we hired a baker’s dozen of the Roots of Music kids to play our wedding second line. Continue reading
We did a lot of roaming our second day of the 32nd annual French Quarter Fest starting at The Mint with a bowl of Pulled Pork over Roasted Corn & Cheese Grits ($7) from Squeal. We got a hug from Winks’ Dwight Henry, star of Beasts of the Southern Wild and 12 Years a Slave before making our way to the French Market where we watched a few minutes of a dance class. Then we walked along the river to Jackson Square for Ponchatoula Strawberry Shortcake ($5) from GW Fins. Continue reading
Easter in New Orleans means many things to many people. It’s just as “normal” to see seersucker suits and Sunday-best as to see egg-colored wigs and hats piled high with decorations. But Easter in NOLA definitely means parades. Though I missed the earlier Historic French Quarter Easter Parade, we caught the 32nd annual Chris Owens French Quarter Easter Parade and the Gay Easter Parade benefitting the NO/AIDS Task Force’s Food for Friends program. A renowned burlesque dancer and club owner since the early 1960′s, Chris Owens still performs nightly (despite rumors of her being in her early 80’s) and she throws a heck of a parade.
For 7 years, Food Fest has been bringing comfort food together for a weekend of feasting and music. Celebrating informal food, the Fest presents local fare as well as dishes from as far away as Tennessee, Connecticut and Rochester, New York. Like at most fests, you can tell the favorites by the lines and Miss Linda the Yakamein Lady seemed to be the consistent favorite along with Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken from Memphis. Continue reading
Wednesday at the Square is back and I was thrilled to get there this week for Bonerama, founded in 1998 by trombonists Mark Mullins and Craig Klein (former members of Harry Connick Jr.’s band 1990-2006). Guitarist Bert Cotton, a cool-dude type who can break out a major solo, has been with the band since the start. Sousaphonist/bass player Matt Perrine and A.J. Hall are newer additions but Greg Hicks is the trombonist who really completes the band musically and conceptually. Bonerama plays great New Orleans standards and originals but they are beloved for their trombone-trio versions of 70’s rock. Continue reading