Katrina Can’t Silence New Orleans
Wed, 01 Feb 2006 14:25:31
The proud music community of New Orleans, a vital component of a city ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, already has a triumph on the calendar for 2006: the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival will take place at its traditional location over the last weekend of April and the first weekend of May.
With budgetary problems looming large over nearly every piece of city business, the fate of the festival -- at least for this year -- seemed to be in question. But Shell Oil came to the rescue, allowing organizers to present the event on the same large scale as usual. Shell -- the first presenting sponsor in festival history -- declined to state how much they had given to the cause.
Jazz Fest’s home -- the historic Fair Grounds horse racing track -- was badly damaged during Katrina, and contractors are busy at work making repairs in order to accommodate the estimated 500,000 people who will attend the festival. That level of traffic makes Jazz Fest one of the city’s top tourist attractions.
The full performance lineup will be announced later in February, but one artist already confirmed, fittingly, is native son Fats Domino, who was rescued when Katrina flooded his home in the Lower Ninth Ward. Domino performed at the first Jazz Fest in 1970, joined by Duke Ellington and Mahalia Jackson, among others. Only a few hundred people attended during that inaugural year.
The musicians will be joined by hundreds of artists and craftsmakers showing their wares. And no New Orleans celebration would be complete without food, of course, so the festival will include cooking demonstration stages and offer plenty of gumbo, po-boy sandwiches and pecan pralines for locals and tourists alike.
-- The ARTISTdirect Staff