As the city geared up for Jazz fest, Threadhead Records sponsored a free concert in City Park at the Botanical Gardens. The Botanical Gardens began as a project of the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression and opened in 1936. During these tough economic times and with tickets to Jazz Fest running $60/day, I really appreciated Threadhead Records and the Botanical Gardens giving us all a nice night out for free. I could only imagine how delightful it must have been for the people surviving the Depression here to have had a place of beauty to take their children and grandparents, a place to hold hands on a cheap date, a place to sit alone with your thoughts.
It was dark when we arrived and, though the lighting was beautiful, it was the rich fragrance that first brought my senses to life. A cornucopia of flowers were blooming in precisely planted arrangements, their scents combining and wafting as we passed through the Pavilion of the Two Sisters and into the garden.
My sight and smell fully engaged, I then noticed the fantastic local music. Threadhead Records helps musicians who were victims of the flooding after Hurricane Katrina. It is run by volunteers and funded by fans. They loan artists money to produce a CD and in turn, the artist agrees to pay back the loan within 6 months (and the money is returned to the investor-fans) along with a 10% donation to the Threadhead Records Foundation or other recognized charities benefitting local musicians. What an inventive way to help musicians help themselves. You can find out more about becoming a fan at:
Some of the artists who played were: Shamarr Allen, Glen David Andrews, John Boutte, Russ Broussard, Susan Cowsill, Debbie Davis, Craig Klein, Mary Lasseigne, Alex McMurray, Margie Perez (who we saw during French Quarter Fest), Matt Perrine and Paul Sanchez. I would love to say that I spent the evening taking photos and noting details to be shared later, but I just had a beautiful evening among friends on a gorgeous bug-less night under the stars, surrounded by dancing, music, families, flowers and fragrance. It was amazing.
Shortly after we arrived, the band, featuring John Boutte himself, started playing the theme song from Treme. (Tried to find it on HBO’s site, but no luck so far, so enjoy this YouTube)
A new friend, Jared, called it early and said the song would become the city’s new “Who Dat.” There’s never a bad time to yell or sing our Who Dats, but it does feel out of season in the same way as wearing white shoes after Labor Day. Still, I thought the power of the Who Dat and the Saints the chants celebrate would certainly overshadow the theme song from a premium-pay cable show. I stand corrected – it was played twice! This town is so eager to celebrate, any excuse would do so when one episode of a show about it turns into another whole season of work and advertising for the city, there’s plenty to celebrate.
Like the religions who’ve allowed the indigenous people to retain their own culture while converting, the second band played the Treme theme song as a medley with the Who Dat song and some Caribbean beat. I’m certain our Who Dats will return in full vigor in the Fall, but I think Jared might be onto something.
Enjoy the few photos I took.