Mardi Gras | 02.20-02.24 | NOLA to NY

Words & Images by: Dino Perrucci

Mardi Gras 2009 :: New Orleans to New York

Dr. John :: 02.20 :: Terminal 5 :: NYC
New York and New Orleans have always shared a special bond, especially in the music community. While New Orleans is the unquestioned center of Mardi Gras celebration in North America, this year New York welcomed some of the Crescent City's finest musicians to start the celebration. I was lucky enough to photograph the fun in both cities.

On Friday, February 20, Terminal 5 in NYC hosted a triple bill with the New Orleans Klezmer Allstars, Dr. John and The Neville Brothers, making for a great start to an epic weekend. The following night B.B. King's hosted a Mardi Gras Funk Jam featuring Leo Nocentelli, Trombone Shorty, Donald Harrison and Andy Hess. Special guest Jonathan Batiste also joined them on keys. Later that night it was on to Le Poisson Rouge for the 3rd Annual NOLA Funk Mardi Gras Ball featuring Eric Lindell, Anders Osborne and Big Sam's Funky Nation. Le Poisson Rouge was a great venue for this event and the set changes went remarkably smooth.

On Sunday, February 22 it was time to fly down to New Orleans and get a little closer to the action. Sunday night began with Trombone Shorty's 3rd Annual Bacchus Ball at Tipitina's. The show also featured Juvenile and was completely sold out. With so many great music options going on it was time to head down to Howlin' Wolf for a dose of Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk. The band was already on fire when we entered the room and they were soon joined by Jeff Coffin on sax. Later in the night the band welcomed Kofi Burbridge up as well as about a dozen girls from the crowd.

Big Chief Monk Boudreaux :: 02.23 :: Tipitina's
Monday, February 23 was Lundi Gras or the Eve of Mardi Gras for the uninitiated. The music got rolling with a downtown Lundi Gras Block Party featuring Bonerama and Cowboy Mouth. Set under clear blue skies on a mid-seventy-degree day this was the perfect setting for their high-energy sets. "Aren't you glad to be alive?" Fred LeBlanc pleaded during Cowboy Mouth's set. Indeed, we were. Monday night was time for the long running Galactic Lundi Gras party at Tipitina's. This year's version featured an opening set by Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and The Golden Eagles. This show always goes until sunrise on Mardi Gras morning, so there was plenty of time for a full 90 minute set of Mardi Gras Indian grooves. Monk looked beautiful in his new green suit and the band was locked in. Galactic was joined by Trombone Shorty and Corey Harris during their three set performance and the extra horns really added to the sound.

Come Tuesday, Mardi Gras morning we we're off to the Bridge Lounge for the start of the Krewe of Julu Parade. This is my favorite annual gathering of the craziest, most colorful and most wonderful people I know. Parading through the streets of New Orleans led by the rhythms of the Midnite Disturbers and Grand Marshall Henry Griffin this feels like the true spirit of Mardi Gras. Hopefully these images convey the feeling of a very special weekend where my words cannot do it justice. See you next year.

Continue reading for lots more pics of Mardi Gras 2009...

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