Bad News. . .Good News
Well, it just keeps coming. I am sure most of you have heard about the tornadoes (three of them!!) that hit the New Orleans area early yesterday, damaging some of the still moldering flood devastaion as well as creating some new debris fields. Obviously, the question NOT to ask these days is "What next?". Details are in the linked article. So much for the "lull" between hurricane seasons.
On a brighter note, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (a/k/a Jazzfest) is getting close to announcing the 2006 schedule. They've got a corporate sponsor, Shell Oil, for the whole event this year (there have previously been sponsors for various stages); and, while that would have led to controversy in past years, this year, at least, the attitude is that whatever it takes to get the event up and running is welcome. Jazzfest is an enormous economic boost for the city, rivaled only by Mardi Gras, I believe. Thousands of visitors come in from around the world to attend. For all of its commercialization over the years and infusion of "big name" acts who have little or nothing to do with local cultural heritage, the festival still features a lot of local and regional music, arts and food over its two weekend run.
Another much smaller festival that focuses purely on local music precedes Jazzfest. It's the French Quarter Festival. It is free and will go on a scheduled this year, adding to the rebirth of the city with its mix of various styles of music. And, like Jazzfest, great local food is available from various vendors.
Finally, I wanted to note that the Ponderosa Stomp, the deep roots music festival that had been held in New Orleans during the week between Jazzfest weekends, had to relocate to my old home, Memphis, this year. This is always a very cool event, featuring many great obscure and/or forgotten performers and bands from way back in the day who are still kickin'. It's not all Louisiana acts, either. Check it out.
Hope some of y'all can make it down for several of these events. We need you. Another music post is comin' up. . . .