Book Fest: Local authors Fatima Shaik and Michael Tisserand talk New Orleans Creole history 

Local writers Fatima Shaik and Michael Tisserand sat down Friday (March 11) to talk about “Hidden History: Black and Creole Influence and Culture in New Orleans” at the New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University. 

Shaik’s book chronicles the history of Black New Orleans through a group of free men-of-color, the Société d’Economie et d’Assistance Mutuelle. “Hidden” is part of the title because this society and its activities were unknown even though the men of the Economic and Mutual Aid Association community were significant figures in the city from the Haitian Revolution in the 1790s to the creation of jazz in the early 20th century. The name “Economy Hall” refers to the Tremé building where the association met and held events. Tisserand is the author of “Krazy: George Herriman, A Life in Black and White,” the acclaimed biography of New Orleans-born illustrator, journalist and cartoonist George Herriman, the creator of “Krazy Kat,”  a newspaper comic strip that ran from 1913 to 1944. The book investigates his life navigating — or hiding from —  the color line in the early 20th century. 

Shaik relates that she and Tisserand discovered many affinities due to their deep research and dedication to unknown New Orleans stories.

Book Fest: Local writers and photographers take it to the streets

The streets of New Orleans were among the wide range of topics covered at the inaugural New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University. The sessions were not on the potholes or the perennial roadwork, though that was discussed, too. (“The problem with the streets is that we are sitting on top of an ever-changing river,” writer Jason Berry said.) They were on the spectacle of street life in New Orleans. Two Friday (March 11) sessions — a panel called “Visual New Orleans: A City of Neighborhoods” and a talk by Berry on his film and book “City of a Million Dreams” — covered recent works chronicling public rituals in the city’s Black communities that have become emblematic of New Orleans: the second-line parade and the jazz funeral. Judy Cooper’s “Dancing in the Streets” and Jason Berry’s “City of a Million Dreams” delve deeply into these traditions — deep enough to avoid cliches and appropriation.

New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University announces full schedule for inaugural literary celebration (sponsored)

The New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University announced today its much-anticipated lineup and complete schedule for its inaugural event, which will take place March 10-12, on Tulane University’s Uptown campus. The book festival is free and open to the public. Among the national bestselling authors participating are Malcolm Gladwell, Michael Lewis, John Grisham, Imani Perry, Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., Bakari Sellers, Don Lemon, Jon Meacham, Charles Blow, Clint Smith, Cleo Wade, Sarah M. Broom and David Brooks. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

The event will feature 130 renowned and rising authors, including an engaging group of children’s authors, some of New Orleans’ top chefs and an all-star musical lineup. Click here to view the complete book festival schedule.

Ursuline Academy announces Fall Festival with lawn concert on Nov. 14 (sponsored)

The concert on the lawn at Ursuline Academy in New Orleans will feature three performances: The Hundreds Brass Band — The Original Pinettes — Charmaine Neville. Here in New Orleans, festivals play an essential role in celebrating our unique culture. After a year of virtual concerts and drive-by events, fall 2021 is finally gearing up for the return of live gatherings. 

Ursuline Academy is joining in the revelry with a Fall Festival on State Street featuring music, food and fun. Ursuline will kick off its inaugural Fall Festival on Sunday, Nov. 14, from 1 to 5 p.m. with a musical celebration featuring live performances from three of New Orleans’ most beloved bands.

NOLAxNOLA brings live local music to Uptown venues

A citywide event known as NOLAxNOLA (in a nod to SXSW music and film festivals in Austin, Texas) opens Thursday (Oct. 7). To help fill in the void created by the cancellation of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, it is presenting 251 concerts — maybe more, check this link — around town during the 10 days that would have been filled with Jazz Fest and performances galore in clubs and other venues. Of the more than two dozen local venues, five are located Uptown. Gasa Gasa, the Maple Leaf, NOLA Brewery, Rock ‘n’ Bowl and Tipitina’s will hold a combined 29 shows over the 10 days.

Porch concerts respond to canceled music festivals

Porch concerts had been popping up throughout the city when Milan area residents Natalia and Guy Gonzalez began hosting concerts on their Marengo Street front porch. The tradition started for the Gonzalezes in the fall of 2020, after a musician asked Natalia’s 94-year-old mother if she would put on a porch concert to help out the Radio Bird Quartet. She agreed, and then Natalia took on the project. “We have had Radio Bird, of course, as well as The Walrus, a Beatles cover band,” Natalia Gonzalez said. “In fact, recently when their Zony Mash show got canceled, they came to our porch and played the concert there.”

They are now presenting shows twice monthly, with Mia Borders booked for an upcoming show.

Viewpoint: Will proof of vaccination be required for festivals and Saints games?

 

The Delta variant is quickly overtaking America. It already accounts for 93% of Covid-19 infections. To combat it, government and the private sector are announcing new mandates almost daily. Anyone planning to pay $200 or more to see the Rolling Stones at Jazz Fest in October must surely be wondering if a vaccination card or a recent negative Covid-test will be required for admission. Without such precautions, the Jazz and Heritage Festival, French Quarter Festival, Saints games and other fall special events could become superspreaders unlike any seen before. 

Jazz Fest producer Quint Davis has always said the Fest will adhere to the prevailing Covid guidelines.

Uptown team wins top prizes at Hogs for the Cause

An Uptown team of amateur pitmasters was named the 2021 champion over the weekend at Hogs for the Cause. The celebration of smoked meat returned to the festival scene at a new site in Belle Chasse. The barbecue and music festival hosted over 80 pork-punny teams from around the country along with musical acts like Anders Osborne and Old Crow Medicine Show. The Grand Champs, Lard and in Charge, are a true Cinderella story. In a field of teams consisting of 30 to 50 members, the Lards got it done with less than a dozen dedicated barbecue warriors.

Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club celebrates faith and friendship at Mass

Members of the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club gathered Saturday (March 14) for their annual Mass at St. Mary’s Assumption Church that traditionally precedes their Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day parade. This year, the parade hosted by the group founded in 1947 was canceled by the city due to the spread of the coronavirus.

COVID-19 updates: What’s closed and what’s open as the number of cases rises

Editor’s note: This story posted before Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a declaration closing all schools. The schools information below is outdated. During a conference call Thursday (March 12) afternoon, Mayor LaToya Cantrell gave the number of presumptive coronavirus cases in New Orleans: 11. About two hours later, the city’s webpage on the health crisis stated there were 15 in New Orleans. On Friday morning, the number increased to 23.