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What is this “new” New Orleans?

Larry Blumenfeld reports: During a press conference at last year’s Jazz & Heritage Festival, Mayor Landrieu told me, “There is a way to organize culture without killing it.” Those words are either comforting or alarming, depending upon whom you ask. As David Freedman, the general manager of listener-supported WWOZ-FM (self-proclaimed “Guardians of the Groove”), told…

Searching For Authentic New Orleans Music

Controversial view expressed in Offbeat Magazine. There is much to say for this view but I can think of plausible counter-arguments to do with the inherent dynamism of tradition which New Orleans is the instantiation par excellence. Music in New Orleans is indeed inextricable from the city’s lifestyle. “In the 6th Ward, 7th Ward, 9th Ward…

Empire of Sin

Here is Walter Isaacson’s review of Gary Krist’s Empire of Sin. Storyville’s sporting houses became cribs for jazz. Like most of the creative culture of New Orleans, this new style of music was spawned by the town’s diversity. Flowing together on the street corners were the sounds of marching brass bands, church spirituals, plantation blues, Creole…

New Orleans: A Living Museum of Music

New Orleans is a city where cultural tradition matters. In New Orleans there is a balance between innovation and tradition. Improvisation never comes out of nothing. It is always rooted in history  . . . in New Orleans. So this is an environment where people sort of backslide into the future. — Bruce Boyd Raeburn…

Susan Ford: How Do You Red Bean?

You’ve got to love Susan Ford’s “understated overstatedness” or perhaps the reverse or even perhaps Southern Stoicism — whatever, she is a treasure! Check out her Louisiana Kitchen and Culture mag. Two summers ago, when hurricane Isaac was looming in the Gulf of Mexico, I took stock of my freezer to see what I could…