In Memoriam

Monday, June 13, 2016

New Orleans gathers to remember victims of the Orlando shootings

Posted By on Mon, Jun 13, 2016 at 10:35 AM

Participants at last night's vigil for the Orlando shooting victims formed a human chain along the Mississippi River. - DELLA HASSELLE
  • DELLA HASSELLE
  • Participants at last night's vigil for the Orlando shooting victims formed a human chain along the Mississippi River.
A black flag with a rainbow fleur-de-lis fluttered above. Below, a circle of men, women and transgender members of the New Orleans LGBT community stood in silence, cradling flickering candles. Some who gathered at a local vigil Sunday night could be heard sobbing as friends and loved ones tried to offer comfort.

Less than 24 hours after 50 were killed at an Orlando gay dance club — a massacre that is now being called the worst mass shooting in United States history — members of the LGBT community near and far were left reeling.

The loss was deeply felt in New Orleans, as the city’s Pride Week loomed just a week ahead, and as locals were preparing for Labor Day weekend’s Decadence Festival, the city’s largest gay event that’s been tradition for more than 40 years.

As he gave a speech on the Moon Walk next to the Mississippi River, Frank Perez, vigil speaker and member of LGBT+, reiterated a story that resonated among those who had gathered for the impromptu vigil.

Perez, he said, had woken up to the news, which had broken in the wee hours of the morning. Omar Mateen, 29, a Florida man who had reportedly given his allegiance to the Islamic State, had opened gunfire in Pulse, a club known for its outreach as much as for its dancing. Armed with an assault-type rifle and a handgun, according to the Associated Press, Mateen killed 50 and injured another 53 before being shot to death by law enforcement. In the aftermath, local blood banks cited a “dire” need for donations. It was a suspected hate crime.

“Like most of you I went through a series of emotions throughout the day. I was sad, I was angry, I was confused, I was dumfounded,” Perez said. “We want to make sense of these tragedies, and I don’t know if we can.”

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Purple reign: a purple Prince second line and celebration in New Orleans

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2016 at 2:00 AM

The Ooh Poo Pah Doo Bar in Treme spilled out with Prince fans and balloons before a second line and block party April 25.
  • The Ooh Poo Pah Doo Bar in Treme spilled out with Prince fans and balloons before a second line and block party April 25.
One by one, purple balloons emerged from the Ooh Poo Pah Doo's front door. Hands found the balloons' strings and sent them into the crowd, where fans mourned and celebrated the life of Prince, who died Thursday, April 21 at his Paisley Park estate in Minneapolis.

Fans brought framed photographs and album covers and unframed sleeves, or plastic guitars shaped like his signature symbol, their faces flecked with glitter, eyeliner and pencil mustaches. A second line parade honoring the late performer, set for April 25, attracted fans far and wide, young and old to the bar on Orleans Avenue, dotted with rolling bar carts with Cognac and coolers with bottled water and Bud Light.

Two white horses pulled a Charbonnet Funeral Home carriage escort for a purple-draped casket, ceremoniously paraded and returned to the bar at sunset, where an enormous block party filled the streets, There, the crowd roared through the chorus of "Purple Rain," the memorial's finale, while holding up cellphone lights and peace signs.

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Y@ Speak: dearly beloved

Posted By on Mon, Apr 25, 2016 at 2:52 PM

New Orleans mourns the loss of The Purple One.

Also: nude dudes at Jazz Fest, which goes to peoples' heads on #NOLAscanner, 

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

New Orleans honors Prince

Posted By on Thu, Apr 21, 2016 at 4:30 PM

prince.jpg
Prince Rogers Nelson died today, April 21, 2016, at his storied Paisley Park home in Minnesota. He was 57.

Jazz in the Park at Armstrong Park will honor the performer this afternoon (weather permitting), followed by a second line tribute from All for One Brass Band. The Soul Rebels Brass Brand will dedicate an '"all Prince, all night" set at Le Bon Temps Roule at their Thursday night residency. Ooh Poo Pah Doo Bar (1931 Orleans Ave.) honors the artist with a second line memorial beginning 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 24. The memorial begins with the release of white doves, and a parade through Treme follows. On April 24, organizers honored requests for an animal-free memorial. "Although tears will surely be shed in New Orleans, no doves will cry or die in Prince's honor," Senior Vice President Lisa Lange said in a statement. "Prince was royalty to PETA, and we are relieved that Monday's memorial will be as kind to animals as he was." New Orleans singer-songwriter Arsene DeLay will read a poem remembering Prince at 5:30 p.m.

New Orleans musicians are heartbroken at his loss. The artist's final New Orleans performance lit up the Superdome in 2014 during Essence Festival — literally, with a massive purple light blanketing the Dome's exterior.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Allen Toussaint's last recordings to be issued in June

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2016 at 1:25 PM

American Tunes, an album of Allen Toussaint's last recordings, will be released in June. - COURTESY NONESUCH RECORDS
  • COURTESY NONESUCH RECORDS
  • American Tunes, an album of Allen Toussaint's last recordings, will be released in June.
The late Allen Toussaint's final recordings will be issued June 10, according to a release today from Nonesuch Records

American Tunes, a new studio album, had been completed shortly before the singer-songwriter's death in November 2015, the company said. It consists of two sets of recordings: one made in 2013, the other in October 2015, just a month before Toussaint died:
The album comprises solo performances of Professor Longhair tunes and band arrangements of songs by Toussaint, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Paul Simon, and others. American Tunes is available to pre-order now at iTunes and in the Nonesuch Store, where the album track "Big Chief" may be downloaded instantly; Nonesuch Store pre-orders come with an exclusive limited-edition print. A two-LP vinyl version, also available June 10, includes three bonus tracks.
Rhiannon Giddens, Van Dyke Parks and others are on the album as well.

Toussaint was honored and remembered at an all-star performance at the Orpheum Theater last November, and the New Orleans City Council declared Jan. 14, 2016 "Allen Toussaint Day" in New Orleans.

Listen to American Tunes' beautiful piano rendition of "Big Chief":

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Will Smith second line postponed to Friday, April 15

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2016 at 10:36 AM

Will Smith in 2012. - JEFFREY BEAL
  • JEFFREY BEAL
  • Will Smith in 2012.
Heavy rains postponed a second line led by James Andrews to honor former New Orleans Saint Will Smith, who was killed late Saturday. The second line — originally scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 13 — is rescheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, April 15.

Andrews tells Gambit the second line is not only a memorial to Smith but a message of nonviolence. Andrews says performers include his Crescent City All Stars and many musical members of the Andrews family.

The 2.7-mile route begins outside the Half Moon (1125 St. Mary St.) and continues north on Camp Street, left on Canal Street, and right on Basin Street to Orleans Avenue. It ends at the Ooh Poo Pah Doo Bar at 1931 Orleans Ave. Andrews also will perform at the bar.

Organizers encourage people to bring anti-violence signs and "pictures to commemorate all lost to violence in New Orleans."

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Saints announce official visitation for Will Smith

Posted By on Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 3:20 PM

Will Smith of the New Orleans Saints, in 2012. - JEFFREY BEALL
  • JEFFREY BEALL
  • Will Smith of the New Orleans Saints, in 2012.
The New Orleans Saints organization will hold a visitation Friday for fans wanting to pay respects to the late Will Smith. The visitation will be held at the team's practice facility in Metairie.

Smith, who played for the team from 2006 to 2012, was shot Saturday night in the Lower Garden District in an altercation following a fender bender. 

There also will be a memorial second line Wednesday night in the Lower Garden District near the scene of the shooting. It begins at 6 p.m. Update: Due to weather, the second line is postponed to Friday, April 15. Full route information here.

Information on the visitation is under the cut.

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Second line planned for Will Smith

Posted By on Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 12:05 PM

Will Smith. - MICHAEL C. HEBERT
  • Michael C. Hebert
  • Will Smith.
Update: Due to weather, the second line is postponed to Friday, April 15. Full route information here.

James Andrews and other New Orleans musicians plan to lead a second line memorial for former New Orleans Saint Will Smith, who was killed late Saturday night. The second line meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 13 outside the Half Moon Bar (1125 St Mary St.) and parades up the block to the intersection of Sophie B. Wright Place and Felicity Street, where mourners and fans have built a memorial for Smith.

An event description on Facebook calls on "all NOLA musicians and Saints fans" to participate: "We are mouring not only the loss of retired Saints player Will Smith but the loss of RESPECT FOR LIFE. STOP THE KILLING!!!"

Musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments and others to "bring your dancing shoes."

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Arcade Fire shares footage of the band's David Bowie parade

Posted By on Thu, Feb 11, 2016 at 12:05 PM

Members of Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Pinettes Brass Band and Arcade Fire paraded through the French Quarter to pay tribute to Davie Bowie last month. - ALEX WOODWARD
  • ALEX WOODWARD
  • Members of Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Pinettes Brass Band and Arcade Fire paraded through the French Quarter to pay tribute to Davie Bowie last month.

Following the death of David Bowie last month, new New Orleanians Win Butler and Regine Chassagne of Arcade Fire memorialized the artist with a parade through the French Quarter, attracting thousands of fans parading alongside members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the Pinettes Brass Band, and dancing strangers, confused tourists and painted faces masking as their favorite Bowie.

Arcade Fire filmed the whole thing — a short video set to the band's take on "Oh! You Pretty Things" as the dirge-like kickoff transforms into a traditionally buoyant, New Orleans brass take on "Heroes." The long afternoon began outside Pres Hall, trekked to the Mississippi River and ended at One Eyed Jacks, where Butler played a Bowie and Bowie-inspired DJ set as Toulouse Street filled with fans and fireworks. Watch below:

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Brass band musicians weigh in on monuments controversy with new Mardi Gras song

Posted By on Mon, Feb 8, 2016 at 2:45 PM

TBC Brass Band featuring Glen David Andrews perform at Gumbo Fest 2015
  • Shalanda Adams
  • TBC Brass Band featuring Glen David Andrews perform at Gumbo Fest 2015

It seems that everyone who lives in New Orleans whether born and raised or just landed here last week has an opinion on the controversy swirling around what should be done (if anything) with the city’s confederate monuments. In the last six months, the city has become racially charged on subject of whether or not several monuments to the confederacy should be removed. Named after Confederate General Robert E. Lee, Lee Circle had long been a thorn in the sides of black New Orleanians and Mayor Mitch Landrieu seized the opportunity during the #BlackLivesMatter campaign sweeping the country to recommend that it and the others be removed.

Around the same time the issue began fomenting in City Hall meetings and on talk radio shows, the local brass band scene began bumping a catchy tune after famed New Orleans trombonist Glen David Andrews dropped in on TBC Brass Band’s regular Wednesday night gig at Celebration Hall. The band had been toying with the groove for some months when Andrews jumped up, grabbed the mic and began improvising lyrics, luring the crowd to join in on call and response:

Wild Magnolia! Wild Magnolia!
Big Chief Bo Dollis! Big Chief Bo Dollis!

The club went wild for the song, buckjumping and singing this new ode to one of the city’s most beloved Mardi Gras Indian Chiefs. TBC knew immediately they had another hit on their hands. They began playing the song at second lines with a plan to formally release it Mardi Gras week. But along the way, the song picked up another lyric that took it deeper from cultural to political waters. Last November at the 2015 Gumbo Fest in Armstrong Park, Andrews joined TBC on stage to sing the song and was inspired to add another line (7:55 minute mark):

“We gonna name Lee Circle… after Allen Toussaint!”

(read the rest below the jump!)

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