Friday :: August 31
On Friday, I returned to the 9th Ward to see what kind of progress had or hadn't been made. I have been back to this area several times since Katrina struck and progress had been slow. As you approach the area there are still so many reminders of the devastation - areas with no working traffic lights and boarded up or gutted storefronts. As we got closer to the 17th St. canal and the area where the barge ended up after the levee broke, there was very little to see except overgrown lots where a neighborhood once stood. Most, but not all, of the debris has finally been removed. Here and there you would see a house being worked on but for the most part there is very little life in this part of the city. God bless the few that are trying to move on in the face of great adversity.
| New Orleans :: 2 Years After Katrina|
Nearby, I stopped at the New Orleans Musicians Village, which only had a few houses the last time I was there. The brightly colored houses this time stood proudly as an encouraging sign of rebirth. There was also the sad contrast of gutted out homes right across the street from some of these new houses. There is still a lot of work to be done. Without reopening the local schools and putting some badly needed funding behind them it won't really matter how many houses are built. We owe it to the city of New Orleans to make sure that Washington is clear that the job is not done yet.
If you've never participated in a Second Line in New Orleans, well, you haven't lived yet. It is one of my all time favorite things to do. Some local businesses are sponsoring the French Quarter Brass Band Series 2007. This week featured the Pin Stripe Brass Band. One of my favorite post-Katrina CDs to come out of New Orleans is the Pin Stripes' I Wanna Go Back To New Orleans. Check it out. The Second Line was so much fun. Dancing, sweating and grooving to the sounds of a brass band as their horns resonated off of the buildings in the French Quarter. We ended up on the steps of the Louisiana Supreme Court (only in New Orleans) as the band played another set. This weekly series continues with:
September 7: Treme Brass Band
September 14: Bone Tone Brass Band
September 21: Algiers Brass Band
Reason enough to visit New Orleans!
Next it was time to head back to Tipitina's for a Soul Rebels headlining show. The band picked up right where they had left off on Wednesday night, and within minutes of the first note they had the whole room moving. By the end of the first song there were happy sweaty faces everywhere.
| Second Line Parade :: New Orleans |
After the first set ended it was time to head to The Balcony for Kirk Joseph's Backyard Groove. The Balcony, formerly The Matador, has only been open three weeks, and was completely re-done. Inside, this very nice venue features tin covered ceilings and walls and a raised stage. Located on Esplanade at Decatur, it will add to the already happening Frenchman Street music scene. Joseph and the boys were in fine form, funkin' us into the early hours of the morning.
Sadly, another trip had come to an end. When you love New Orleans it really does love you back. I encourage everyone to do whatever they can to help. From buying a local CD to planning your next vacation trip there, every little bit helps.
August 31 :: New Orleans
JamBase | NOLA
Go See Live Music!