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A&E Feature 

What to Know Before You Go


11th Annual Williams Research Center Symposium
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4
Wyndham Hotel (The Shops at Canal Place), 333 Canal St., 523-4662;

On an evening filled with heart-tugging and eye-wiping moments, the Band Together fundraiser in Lafayette back in September featured one moment in particular that resonates even today. (And forgive me for drawing from this memory well once again.) There was Zachary Richard, that south Louisiana force of nature, defiant in his struggle to keep the French influence alive in Louisiana culture regardless of what any storm might do. Even non-Cajuns had to feel a chill down their spines, for New Orleanians knew right there that Katrina just might blow our indigenous culture to the four winds. Which is why The Historic New Orleans Collection's hosting of the Williams Research Center Symposium has a resonance all its own: Now more than ever, this city needs to remember where it came from before figuring out where it's going. This year's topic is "Common Routes: St. Domingue • Louisiana," exploring the complicated relationship between Haiti and our home state. Scholars will explore the impact the displaced émigrés of this island had on Louisiana, including at least two lectures on the literary impact of Les Cenelles , and two others on the architectural influences. The lectures coincide with the HNOC's upcoming exhibit of the same name in March. Tickets $50 general admission, $35 students. — David Lee Simmons


Detroit Cobras, plus the Woggles
9 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6
The Parish at House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 529-BLUE;

Seriously, there are not many bands out there that could get away with what the Detroit Cobras did with their third and most recent release, Baby (Bloodshot), which came out in late September while most of us were still waiting on FEMA checks out at our temporary digs. Rocking merrily on that razor's edge slicing homage and derivation, Baby is all but a series of garage-rocking R&B covers, but with an approach that has rock critics fumbling to avoid the term "kick ass" and with the dual assault of vocalist Rachel Nagy and guitarist Mary Ramirez, these Cobras know how and where to strike. Locals will be happy to hear reworkings of Allen Toussaint's "Mean Man" and the Irma Thomas hit "It's Raining" (though the latter doesn't exactly break new ground). It's nice to be reminded every few years of the gritty connection between R&B and garage rock — The Delta 72 had me a decade ago — and Baby suggests a band much more comfortable onstage than in the studio, even if the album was co-produced by current bandmate and Memphis garage-rock legend Greg Cartwright (the Oblivians, the Reigning Sound, Compulsive Gamblers). Tickets $10. — Simmons






Through Nov. 14
The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 529 Camp St., 539-9600;

Joni Mitchell was right: You don't know what you've got till it's gone. At the moment a lot of our fair city seems out of reach, including some landmark museums, among other attractions. Consequently, the reopening of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art is being greeted with a huge collective sigh of relief. Life-altering events have a way of putting everything in a fresh, new context, and while perusing favorite parts of the museum's collection it may take some self-control to keep from reaching out and hugging a painting. No, it's not the same as being able to reclaim a favorite collectible or memento that the storm washed away, but it's something. For instance, the contents of the little gallery — filled with vintage paintings of the French Quarter, colorful images such as Clarence Millet's Saturday Night, Dumaine Street , a circa 1938 view of a rustic Vieux Carré barber shop — will seem especially precious to anyone who watched the news coverage of the flooding as it threatened to engulf the oldest parts of the city. In addition to those favorites in the permanent collection, several special exhibits of work by Errol Barron, Herman Leonard and William Eggleston are up for the rest of the week, so this is your last chance to see them. The museum is now open from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays for its weekly Ogden After Hours concerts, as well as on Fridays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the foreseeable future, with a special reduced admission fee. Museum members, of course, are admitted free. — D. Eric Bookhardt


BeauSoleil — A 30th Anniversary Celebration
8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3

House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 529-BLUE;

"Cajun music is the pulse of Cajun people to the point of, 'Where do they want their minds and hearts at the moment?'" BeauSoleil fiddler/frontman Michael Doucet told Lafayette's The Independent Weekly Editor Scott Jordan in a recent issue. "A Cajun doesn't want to be corralled into anything, although we're still seemingly suffering from this persecution complex that happened 250 years ago. We've overcome two major hurricanes this year, and we all know we haven't seen the last of them. So, I think it's time to break through and just be ourselves without any agenda of manipulating people to like it or dislike it but just to live it — which was the initial essence of it all in the first place." If you sense a traditionalist who's aware that the times are always changing, then that's BeauSoleil. There's no secret why the band has maintained its steady following over three decades, even as Cajun and zydeco music have leveled off in their popularity and groups like Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys and the Lost Bayou Ramblers or the Red Stick Ramblers seem more apt to take Cajun into more intriguing territory. As an Amazon reviewer of the 2004 Vanguard release, Gitane Cajun — the first collection of original material in five years — duly noted, the Ramblers were doing the gypsy Cajun thing earlier in the game. But 30 years on, BeauSoleil remains the keeper of the flame, and we'd be nowhere without Doucet's fiddle, Jimmy Breaux's fiddle or David Doucet's guitar. "You play Cajun music because it moves you," Michael points out."That's why our grandparents were so content. Tickets $12. (For more on Jordan's interview with Doucet, visit — Simmons

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