The 35th annual French Quarter Fest was rained out Saturday, which is a crying shame. Many of the biggest acts were set for that day including Grammy-winners, Rebirth Brass Band. It was supposed to be a day of having to make hard choices about what to miss, but a massive storm wiped the day away.
Sunday was sunny, windy and super-chilly (50’s). Sarah Quintana’s teeth were chattering and her trumpet player was trying to keep at least one hand warm enough to play. But Sarah Quintana (with her nightingale’s voice) and the Miss River Band managed to put on a beautiful show. Bruce Sunpie Barnes joined Continue reading
Day 2 of French Quarter Fest brought more nice weather, though things got dreary toward the end of the day foreshadowing the oncoming storm. And the latest oil spill in the river gunked up the banks and halted riverboat cruises and ferries. But, the day was terrific – starting with Cha Wa, a Mardi Gras Indian band. Lead singer J’Wan Boudreaux is the grandson of Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and is one of our city’s many reassurances that our music and culture are being passed down to a worthy generation. Continue reading
After being cancelled for weather last week, YLC’s Wednesday at the Square was back with Bonerama and Bucktown All-Stars. Organized by the Young Leadership Council (YLC), proceeds from food and beverage sales go back into the non-profit to benefit the community. Bucktown All-Stars is a party band specializing in covers of 60’s R&B, 70’s funk and New Orleans’ standards. Formed in 1992, the band includes honorary member, Joyce La Nasa, an 85 year old woman who began playing percussion in 2005. Her daughters were fans and brought her to a show. She kept coming – playing tambourine beside the stage at the bands’ gigs until they finally invited her onstage. Continue reading
Though Carnival doesn’t “officially” start until 12 days before Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras in French), the city’s unofficially-official start is certainly the one-two satirical-parade punch of Krewe du Vieux and Krewedelusion. The bawdy R-rated parades lampoons local, national and even international politics with the addition of jabs at the Olympics-host Russian policy toward gays. With throws ranging from earplugs to liquor, it’s a fun adult night parade in the French Quarter. Continue reading
The Saints ended their regular season with a Superdome victory over Tampa sending our boys to the playoffs. It’s been a rougher ride than many of us hoped for but we’re going to the show again and that’s all that matters. Bless you boys!
Then HBO’s Treme finished their season strong as well. Sadly, it’s also the end of the road for the series. Continue reading
YLC Wednesday at the Square is back!!! Colin Lake got the season off to a great start with his funk-rock flavored show. It’s still odd to see a guy play a seated guitar but the rest of his band keeps the stage hopping. Lake came from Oregon to New Orleans in 2009 – the same year I arrived.
The event continues to make improvements. My favorite new thing is that, thanks to “The Square” and iPads, they accept credit cards for ticket sales. The event is free but food and beverages are purchased with tickets and the ticket proceeds go to the Young Leadership Council, the group responsible for the lights on the Crescent City Connection bridge among other things. They’ve raised more than $25 million for community projects in the New Orleans area since 1986. Continue reading
Once again, the newly launched Louisiana International Film Festival (LIFF) has created a “Red Carpet, Meet Bayou” community event celebrating our great state’s place in the global film industry. Their first big event was a screening of The Big Lebowski hosted by Jeff “The Dude” Dowd, the inspiration for the Jeff Bridges character in the film. It was a great, action-packed weekend and, as Dowd helped kickstart Sundance, it felt like an auspicious start of something wonderful. On Thursday, LIFF brought their concept home with a screening in Baton Rouge (again, attended by The Dude) of the highly acclaimed Beasts of the Southern Wild and asked me to moderate the Q&A afterward. I was honored… nervous and honored. Continue reading
Thank you New Orleans Oyster Fest for moving from that aggressively hot blacktop parking lot to the breezy, grassy Woldenberg Park! The festival, including the artists booths and many wonderful food selections, was much more spread out this year and the crowd for the stage was manageable, like the very-local Thursday crowd at French Quarter rather than the jam-packed Saturdays and Sundays. It almost made me nostalgic for the times before the Saints Superbowl win and HBO’s Treme helped remake the city’s image. Continue reading
As Irene was ramping up in the Atlantic last week, the media seemed not to be able to resist comparing the coming storm to Katrina. There are moments in time that are singular, incomparable. Nothing else is “like the Holocaust.” Let’s face it, even when the Saints win the Superbowl again, it won’t be like when the Saints won the Superbowl. Some moments stand alone. Continue reading