New Orleans has experienced one of the more violent months in years. Of course, everyone in the hospitality industry hates when this fact is covered on local media, much less publicized on national broadcast outlets—but it’s a fact, and the city needs to quit giving lip service to solving the problem by “beefing up” NOPD presence. That may help, but overall, it’s not going to work.
The best stop-gap solution would be to create gun-free zones during parades and in the Quarter and entertainment zones. As long as handguns and other weapons are owned and carried at will by so many Americans, we will continue to have more violence. It’s just too easy for knuckleheads with easy access to firearms to start shooting when they’re full of alcohol, drugs or anger. Too easy. And who suffers the most? Innocent bystanders. Now that is a tragedy, and it is very scary.
Just as we have relinquished easy access to air transportation post-9/11, if gun violence continues and threatens our livelihood (i.e., our rights to parade and socialize in a safe environment), we need to re-think whether or not guns are allowed in certain areas and at certain times in the city.
I would guarantee that if we did this and publicized it nationally, we’d have even more visitors come to New Orleans than before.
The new year is always the time of year when we honor our local musicians at the Best of the Beat Awards. This year we give Lifetime Achievement props to the most lovable and talented Johnny Vidacovich (Music); Dr. Bruce Raeburn of the Tulane Hogan Jazz Archive (Music Education); Sonny Schneidau (Music Business); and Detroit Brooks and Darryl ”Dancing Man 504” Young for their selfless contributions to the music community (HeartBeat). We stand in awe of you and your talent. Thank you! The 2016 Awards will take place on January 19 (more on the inside front cover). Buy tickets on OffBeat.com. We will also present the Music Business Awards on January 11 at the Orpheum Theatre.
We welcome the Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conference to New Orleans on January 4 through January 7 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Roughly 4,000 jazz students and their teachers will flow into the city for this event—one we wish could take place here every single year!
For the first time, JEN will host a scholarship concert at the Hyatt’s Celestin Ballroom, on January 6, 2017 from 7 p.m. through 8:30 p.m. What makes this event so special is that it gives promising jazz students from all over the U.S. the unique opportunity to perform with some of the country’s most-respected professional jazz musicians, including Branford Marsalis, Randy Brecker, Kirk Whalum, Victor Wooten, Rashawn Ross, Stanton Moore, David Paich, Johnny Vidacovich, Tony Dagradi, John Beasley and the Crescent Super Band.
Aren’t we lucky that local students and musicians can play with the masters all year long?