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A&E Feature 

What to Know Before You Go


New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17
Christ Church Cathedral, 2919 St. Charles Ave., 895-6602;

Before Hurricane Katrina, Christ Church Cathedral had plans to celebrate the bicentennial anniversary of the Rev. Philander Chase conducting the first Christ Church service in the Louisiana Purchase at the Cabildo on Nov. 17, 1805. The hurricane didn't stop the plans, but it did change them. The Very Rev. David DuPlantier, dean and rector of Christ Church Cathedral, approached jazz trumpeter Irvin Mayfield (pictured), who is also the director and conductor of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, and commissioned a new piece to commemorate the occasion and celebrate the city's rebirth. The result is "All the Saints," which Mayfield says borrows its form from the jazz funeral tradition. It begins with a slow, funereal march for the city; that passage will be followed by a memorial for the city that addresses the tragedy of Katrina and its aftermath. The piece closes with a procession that celebrates life and the rebirth of New Orleans. Mayfield composed "All the Saints" while he and the 16-piece New Orleans Jazz Orchestra were touring, performing a suite titled, "New Orleans: Then and Now." Portions of the performance will be featured in a special on the anniversary scheduled to air Thanksgiving on the Time Warner Cable network. Free admission. — Alex Rawls


Tom Piazza
6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19
Octavia Books, 513 Octavia St., 899-READ

Tom Piazza's forthcoming book, Why New Orleans Matters , is a minor miracle unto itself; moved as so many New Orleans writers were by Hurricane Katrina, the author of My Cold War ("Fighting Words," Sept. 3, 2003) rushed into his own little storm by cranking out a heartfelt, 180-page manifesto on the relevance of the Big Easy — in four weeks. Talk about timely; with its jazz-like tone changes (Piazza, after all, is a jazz expert) from memoir to hard news to editorial, Why New Orleans Matters flies in the face of those of the Hastertian befuddlement about why the city should even be rebuilt. At its best, Piazza's work captures one man's evolution from outsider to resident to staunch defender. There's a little something for everyone; non-native New Orleanians will relate to his first glimpses of the Maple Leaf or Mardi Gras Indians, Americans will learn from his observations about evacuees, and everyone will marvel at the book's heart. Why New Orleans Matters doesn't come out until Nov. 22, but this party will serve as a nice launch. Free admission. — David Lee Simmons


"Presenting Anais Patterson"
8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19; through Dec. 10
Le Chat Noir, 715 St. Charles Ave. 581- 5812;

What do retro burlesque and grand opera have in common? It's a strange riddle, I admit. The answer is not strange, however; the answer is a young lady who's both beautiful to see and beautiful to hear. Anais Patterson has not only sung roles for the New Orleans Opera Association, but also has stepped out as an ecdysiast (stripper, for the uninitiated) in a burley-show revival this past spring at One Eyed Jacks. But wait, that's just the beginning. Now she's premiering a brand spanking new cabaret act at Le Chat Noir. Patterson, a New Orleans native, studied music at Xavier and UNO, then honed her singing talent on local theater stages and in music clubs. Recently, she tweaked her cabaret persona at the prestigious Yale Cabaret Conference. "Presenting Anais Patterson" features jazz standards, blues and even "The Habanera," from Carmen . We're told, by usually reliable sources, that an exotic dance or two might round out the evening. Tickets $15. — Dalt Wonk



Warehouse Arts District exhibition openings
6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19
Arthur Roger Gallery, LeMieux Galleries, Palma Gallery, Soren Christensen Gallery, Jean Bragg Gallery and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art

Feeling disoriented because you haven't been to any art openings this fall? You are not alone. We like our rituals in this town, and as the Warehouse Arts District galleries and museums have come back to life, Saturday night has emerged as a rallying point for both the opening of new exhibitions and previously scheduled shows postponed by the storm. New shows include the Comeback expos at the Arthur Roger and LeMieux galleries, respectively. If group shows of gallery artists were no big deal in the past, Katrina changed all that, so these events will be more like reunions of families scattered far and wide by the storm. No less poignant are the Ogden Museum offerings: Do You Know What it Means: Photographs in the Aftermath of Katrina by David Rae Morris, and Trail of Tears by Benny Andrews, from his Migrant Series . Of special interest is the Ogden's Missing New Orleans exhibition, which opens in tandem with the release of the new book (pictured) of the same name by photographer Philip Gould with text by Ogden Museum Director Rick Gruber and others. Focusing on the grand landmarks of the past and including images of the extraordinary ruins left in Katrina's wake, Missing provides a historic context for all of the local landmarks that "ain't there no more." It's a theme echoed in a parallel but unrelated Missing New Orleans exhibition of paintings at the Jean Bragg Gallery opening simultaneously on the same evening. Katrina may have come and gone, but in the Arts District, the beat goes on." — D. Eric Bookhardt

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