Note: If this tribute to New Orleans is behind a firewall, I urge you either to subscribe to the Washington Examiner, or to wait a few days and check again, because the firewall should disappear early this week. — Quin

Even amid a pandemic and unusually cold weather, New Orleans is gonna New Orleans.

With the numbers spiking, Mayor LaToya Cantrell put the Crescent City back into the most restrictive “phase” of anti-coronavirus rules effective Jan. 8. A cold front simultaneously brought breezy, 40-degree weather — what for New Orleanians feels like Antarctica. Yet, those hindrances still couldn’t pierce the city’s joie de vivre.

On the morning after, though, one could still start the day with cafe au lait and beignets at the Cafe du Monde’s satellite location in City Park, powdered sugar inevitably falling atop one’s clothes. A Drew Brees stone’s throw away, a homespun Dixieland jazz band (white dudes perhaps in their 30s, keeping warm in stocking caps) played familiar standards in the bright but oak-dappled sunlight. Intermittently, a random juggler did his thing alongside as they played.

Back in the car, WWOZ paid homage to every style of Louisiana music — and even to visiting musicians paying homage to New Orleans. The ’OZ is public radio in the true sense — meaning supported not by government but by membership and grants — and the station last month celebrated its 40th anniversary of playing jazz, Cajun, zydeco, blues, Latin, and Gospel tunes (among others), all in an avocationist’s public-spirited way.

Ending the two-hour hodgepodge of Weekend New Orleans with Ron Phillips, the eponymous DJ provided a treat: a recording of Bruce Springsteen, in his opening number in the first post-Hurricane Katrina Jazz and Heritage Festival, playing Aretha Franklin’s Gospel-infused “Oh, Mary, Don’t You Weep.” It’s hard to imagine an old spiritual quite so rocking….

[The full column is at this link — and there wasn’t even room in it for me to mention the two parakeets flying, wild, across Carrollton Avenue!]


Tags: , ,