Cutting Edge NOLA Keynote Speech and Dinner on the Lakefront

entertainment, events, Food, Hotels, music, Music Conferences, Photography, rap, Restaurant Reviews, Restaurants, soul, Sports

629 Cutting Edge Keynote630 CBD631 Poydras Street632 Poydras Street633 Poydras Sculptures634 Poydras Sculptures635 Landry's636 Landry's637 Landry's638 Pontchartrain Lighthouse639 Lake Pontchartrain640 Lakeshore Drive641 Landry's642 New Orleans Marina643 Landry's644 Landry's645 Landry's
When I got to the Intercontinental Hotel, the Cutting Edged NOLA Keynote Speech was going on, followed by a legal panel about sports and entertainment law. At the end of that, I headed out to the lakefront and ate dinner at Landry’s Seafood House. Even though Landry’s is a chain, it is the restaurant nearest to Lake Pontchartrain and has the best view of the lake, and the food was very good, at least on this particular day.

Snowballs and Street Art in New Orleans’ Central City

Art, Artists, Desserts, Food, Record Stores, Restaurant Reviews, Restaurants, Travel

619 The Red Rooster Snowball Stand620 Red Rooster Snowball Stand621 Rebuilding Our Community622 Verret's Bar & Lounge623 Verret's Bar & Lounge624 Zulu Nation Laws of Success625 Central City Art Project626 Central City Art Project628 Be The Change You Seek
As I headed back toward the CBD, I drove through the Central City area, and with the weather blazing hot, when I saw a snow-cone sign on Washington Avenue, I took a detour onto the side street and found a snowball stand called The Red Rooster. While New Orleans people are familiar with snowballs, I need to point out that New Orleans-style snowballs are quite different from the snow cones that are sold elsewhere across the country. Not only are the flavors different, but so is the ice, which at the better snowball stands is shaved. This particular stand also serves food, and has a shrimp po-boy on the menu that I will have to try on a future visit. The street where the stand is located looked familiar to me, and might have been the location where I visited Eddie’s 3-Way Records back in the 1980’s. I recall that it was on a side street off of Washington Avenue, that it was a block from a housing project (likely the Magnolia Projects), and that there was a snowball stand nearby that served po-boys. Further down in Central City, I came to a number of inspirational murals, which are common in New Orleans. One listed the Zulu Nation Laws of Success, as well as a number of famous men and women and was attributed to the Central City Art Project. Another one stated “Be The Change You Seek.” One of the things I love about New Orleans is the prevalence of public art, official and unofficial, even in the roughest neighborhoods.

Holly Grove and the 17th Ward of New Orleans

Bounce Music, entertainment, Hip Hop, History, music, musicology, Night Clubs, rap

606 Holly Grove607 RIP Magic608 17th Ward609 The New Beautiful People Bar & Lounge610 Club Gemini611 E & C VIP Lounge612 E & C VIP Lounge613 E & C VIP Lounge614 Ashton Theatre615 Ashton Theatre616 Holly Grove617 Holly Grove618 Holly Grove
Holly Grove (or Hollygrove) is a neighborhood of New Orleans to the west of the intersection of Earhart Boulevard and Carrollton Avenue, in the historic 17th Ward of New Orleans. It’s not a neighborhood I knew much about, aside from mentions in New Orleans rap songs, so after breakfast at Riccobono’s Panola Street Cafe, I headed into the area to see what I could see. Like many other neighborhoods of New Orleans, the main thing I noticed was little neighborhood bars, grills and lounges on street corners. These places are everywhere in New Orleans, and often are headquarters for various social aid and pleasure clubs, or for the gangs of Black Indians that parade during Mardi Gras season. But I also came upon an historic old theatre called the Ashton, and several nearby historic business buildings in need of restoration. Altogether, while most of the houses seem to be in good condition, it appears that commercial buildings in Holly Grove haven’t fared as well.

Travis “Trumpet Black” Hill & The Heart Attack Live in the Bywater at Vaughan’s @TrumpetBlackNO

Artists, Bands, Blues, Brass Bands, Concert Reviews, Concerts, entertainment, events, Food, Funk, jazz, music, Night Clubs, videos

573 Vaughan's574 Vaughan's575 Vaughan's577 Travis Trumpet Black Hill578 Trumpet Black & The Heart Attack579 Travis Trumpet Black Hill & The Heart Attack580 Trumpet Black581 Trumpet Black583 Trumpet Black584 Trumpet Black & The Heart Attack585 Trumpet Black586 Trumpet Black587 Trumpet Black588 Trumpet Black589 Trumpet Black590 Vaughan's591 Trumpet Black & The Heart Attack592 Vaughan's593 Vaughan's594 Vaughan's595 Vaughan's596 Vaughan's597 Vaughan's598 Trumpet Black599 Trumpet Black600 Trumpet Black601 Trumpet Black602 Trumpet Black603 Trumpet Black604 Trumpet Black605 James Black Poster
Vaughan’s is an out-of-the-way neighborhood bar in the Bywater neighborhood just across the Industrial Canal from the Lower 9th Ward, and the last time I was there, the great Kermit Ruffins himself was playing on a Thursday night to a standing room only crowd. Ruffins gave up that gig not long after, and Vaughan’s has tried a succession of different bands and groups since then on Thursdays, which is the only night that the bar features live music, but Ruffins’ shoes are hard to fill. However, Travis “Trumpet Black” Hill, though hardly as well-known as Ruffins, is a brilliantly-gifted trumpet player with the mastery of his instrument and the self-assuredness to attempt to fill the slot, and does a good job at it, ably backed by his band, known as the Heart Attack. Hill’s repertoire is younger and less traditional than Kermit’s, but in some ways, that’s a good thing. After my arrival, his first set included a funked-out version of the brass band standard “Always There”, and a far more traditional reading of the classic “Backatown Blues”. Such versatility should stand Hill in good stead, and I suspect we’ll be hearing far more from him going forward. As for Vaughan’s, unsuspecting tourists should not be fooled by the signs out front. The bar does not offer po-boys, although they do have red beans and rice on Thursdays.

Jairus Daigle and His Band Live at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club @sljcnola @CuttingEdgeNOLA

Albums, Artists, Bands, Concert Reviews, Concerts, entertainment, events, jazz, music, Music Conferences, Night Clubs, Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs, soul

559 Sweet Lorraine's Jazz Club560 Sweet Lorraine's Jazz Club561 Sweet Lorraine's Jazz Club562 Black Men of Labor563 Black Men of Labor564 Sweet Lorraine's Jazz Club565 Jairus Daigle566 Jairus Daigle567 Jairus Daigle568 Jairus Diagle569 Jairus Daigle570 Jairus Daigle571 Jairus Daigle572 Jairus Daigle
My first stop was at the jazz showcase of Cutting Edge NOLA, which was going on at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club on North Claiborne Avenue, a neighborhood venue that also serves as headquarters for the social aid and pleasure club known as the Black Men of Labor, whose logo is prominently displayed on the premises. Though not as well known as the city’s other jazz club, Snug Harbor, Sweet Lorraine’s proved to be a beautiful and spacious club for live music, with a large stage and a beautiful grand piano. The band that was performing was that of Jairus Daigle from Lake Charles, a young jazz violinist with two albums under his belt already who is about to head to the Berklee School of Music in Boston this fall. Many of his band members are family members, as the Daigle family name is well-known in Lake Charles for jazz, soul and funk. Although the jazz style Jairus performed was fusion and contemporary jazz rather than traditional, straight ahead jazz, I was still very impressed by the young man’s facile mastery of the violin.

Guitar Summit and Noya Jones at the @LittleGemSaloon @CuttingEdgeNOLA

Artists, Bands, Blues, Concert Reviews, Concerts, entertainment, events, music, Night Clubs, Restaurants

542 Little Gem Saloon543 Cutting Edge Showcase544 Cutting Edge545 Guitar Summit546 Jonathan Boogie Long & Guitar Slim Jr547 Guitar Summit548 Jonathan Boogie Long & Guitar Slim Jr549 Guitar Summit550 Jonathan Boogie Long & Guitar Slim Jr551 Guitar Summit552 Guitar Summit553 Guitar Summit554 Guitar Slim Jr555 Guitar Slim Jr556 Nayo Jones557 Nayo Jones558 Nayo Jones
The kickoff party for this year’s Cutting Edge NOLA Music Business Conference took place in the upstairs Ramp Room of the Little Gem Saloon at South Rampart and Poydras in the CBD of New Orleans. After a historical presentation about New Orleans’ community radio station WWOZ, there was a guitar summit sponsored by T-watt amplifiers, co-hosted by blues guitarists Jonathan “Boogie” Davenport and Guitar Slim Jr. Downstairs in the restaurant, a straight ahead jazz trio was playing, featuring the vocalist Nayo Jones. But Cutting Edge showcases were also going on at other venues in the city simultaneously, so after hanging out at the Little Gem for about an hour, I decided to head to other venues.

Great Burgers With A New Orleans Flair at Charcoal’s Gourmet Burger Bar @CharcoalsBurger

Burgers, Food, Restaurant Reviews, Restaurants

533 If Ever I Cease To Love534 Antiques on Jackson535 Charcoals536 Charcoal's Balcony Sunset539 Instersection Beads540 Magazine Street541 Qui Vera Sera
After the late afternoon listening session at Cutting Edge NOLA, I was in the mood for a burger, and after looking at all the various burger options, I decided to try Charcoal’s Gourmet Burger Bar uptown on Magazine Street. Charcoal’s is a large two-story restaurant on Magazine at Jackson, with a downstairs that seems to be a to-go location, and an upstairs bar for the dine-in customers. The upstairs bar also has balconies on its Magazine and Jackson Street sides, but the late afternoon had seen a line of thunderstorms, so everything was wet outside. The menu at Charcoal’s is interesting, and offers a choice between a number of predesigned specialty burgers, or the option to build your own . Meat choices include elk, antelope, turkey, bison, akaushi, shrimp, and even a vegetable burger for those who don’t want meat. There are also choices of cheeses, other toppings, Benton’s bacon, and freshly cut french fries. Prices are not cheap, but the charming space, attentive service and unparalleled burger options make Charcoal’s worth the price.

Charcoal’s Gourmet Burger Bar
2200 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70103
(504) 644-4311

http://charcoalgourmetburgerbar.com

Music Business and New Music in New Orleans at @CuttingEdgeNOLA

Albums, Artists, Bands, entertainment, events, music, Music Conferences, records, videos

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For 22 years, the Cutting Edge Music Business Conference has been going on in New Orleans, giving new artists and musicians an opportunity to showcase their music, and giving music industry professionals a chance to network and adjust to changes in technology and the climate of our industry. The first day was largely registration and panels, including a demo listening session where I was one of the judges. I was especially impressed by Jackson, Mississippi southern roots rocker Jason Daniels, whose song “You’re an Angel” had a definitive New Orleans aura, as well as the world-music/indie fusion group Pans Permia, from Miami, Florida who opted to perform an acoustic song for us rather than merely play a CD.

Inspiration and Devastation in the Desire Neighborhood and the Lower 9th Ward

Art, Artists, Black History, Parks, Photography

487 Desire488 Desire489 Desire490 Do Not Underestimate Us491 We Do Exist492 Ya Heard Me493 Peace Love Respect494 We Are Greater Than Oppression495 Ancestors Watching496 Sampson Pride497 Peace Love Music498 Piety & Pleasure499 Rubarb Bike Shop500 Rubarb Bike Shop501 Rubarb Bike Shop502 Rubarb Bike Shop503 Rubarb Bike Shop504 Rubarb Bike Shop505 Rubarb Bike Shop506 Rubarb Bike Shop507 Rubarb Bike Shop508 Rubarb Bike Shop509 First Church of Rastafari511 9th Ward512 9th Ward513 No Selling Cat Etc514 Bless Da Mic-Katrina Second-Line515 9th Ward516 The Crew
After breakfast at the Who Dat Coffee Cafe, I was already in the general vicinity of the Lower 9th Ward, so I decided to drive around that area and see if there was anything worthy of being photographed, and actually there was a lot. Of course, the Lower 9th Ward had been devastated by the flooding of Hurricane Katrina. Cut off from the rest of New Orleans by the Industrial Canal, the neighborhood is surrounded by water on three sides, and for many years was the home of two notorious housing projects, the Florida Projects and the Desire Projects, the latter of which was once said to be the largest public housing project in America. Both projects were wrecked by Katrina, and neither were rebuilt, at least not as housing projects. Mixed income developments are being built on the site. Business areas in the northern portion of the neighborhood were also devastated, and since people have not returned in large numbers, none of these shopping centers have been rebuilt. They are still ruins, covered with gang graffiti. But nearby, at a playground called Sampson Park, I came upon a beautiful mural done by something called “Project Future for the Youth”, containing a lot of wonderful and inspiring slogans and quotes, presumably painted and conceived by young people from the neighborhood, possibly even before the storm. The various tiles within the mural call for peace and an end to violence, and emphasize brotherhood, peace and even music. One section of the mural states, poignantly, “I know they watching…Ancestors watching.” Perhaps nothing more accurately sums up the unique culture of New Orleans, particularly the city’s Black neighborhoods…traditions that have died out in many other cities last years longer in New Orleans, perhaps because the young people know they are being watched by those who have gone on before.
In another part of the neighborhood was an attractively colorful building which proved to be a bike shop. All kids love bikes, but bikes are not just for kids in New Orleans, which is a bike-friendly city in the extreme. Young people in inner-city neighborhoods even have customized bikes, sometimes rigged with lighting and sound systems.
Down on Claiborne Avenue, I came across a tire shop that has evidently had a problem with neighborhood crime, and decided to deal with it through a blunt sign: “No cat selling, No crack selling, No loitering…NOPD Will Be Called.” It’s hard to imagine anyone trying to sell drugs or love at the neighborhood tire shop, but evidently someone did. Nearby, a recently poured sidewalk gave a group of 9th Ward kids an opportunity to immortalize their names in concrete. They listed their names along with their ward, and the designation “The Crew”. Here’s hoping that they and their peers in the 9th Ward have a bright future ahead.

Remembering a Fallen Comrade: TBC Brass Band Celebrating the Life of Brandon Franklin at Celebration Hall @TBC_BrassBand @TBCBand

Bands, Brass Bands, Concert Reviews, Concerts, Dance, entertainment, events, music, videos

437 Darren438 RIP Brandon Franklin439 KOK440 TBC441 TBC442 TBC443 Truth Brass Band Tuba vs. TBC Tuba444 TBC445 TBC446 Buckjumping447 TBC448 TBC449 TBC450 Darren452 TBC453 TBC454 TBC455 Outside Celebration Hall456 Outside Celebration Hall457 TBC458 Darren459 Darren460 TBC461 TBC462 TBC463 TBC464 TBC465 TBC466 TBC467 TBC468 Darren469 TBC470 TBC471 Darren473 Darren474 TBC475 TBC476 TBC477 TBC479 Celebration Hall480 Celebration Hall481 Celebration Hall482 Celebration Hall483 Darren484 Darren485 Outside Celebration Hall
The To Be Continued Brass Band (or TBC Brass Band) plays every Wednesday at Celebration Hall on St. Bernard Avenue in the Seventh Ward of New Orleans, but their performance on Wednesday August 20 was special, as it coincided with the birthday of the band’s deceased saxophone player Brandon Franklin. Any TBC performance is spirited, but this night was especially significant, and they opened with a traditional reading of “Just Over In The Glory Land” as a tribute. It was a steamy hot night, the musicians covered with sweat by the second tune, but nothing stopped the second-liners and buckjumpers on the dance floor in front of the stage. Aside from members of another local brass band (without instruments) talking smack during the intermission, it was another one of those memorable New Orleans nights.