I attended the OffBeat Business Awards last night at the Orpheum Theater. Thank you for putting on such a great event that recognizes such valuable people and companies that contribute so much to our New Orleans musical heritage.
The overall theme I came away with was: It is important for all of us to continue to spread our New Orleans musical gift to the next generation that will carry the torch… a torch that burns bright by the efforts of Germaine Bazzle, Roland and Mary Von Kurnatowski, Catherine Lasperches, and the Radiators!
I am here to say the next generation is poised and ready to make you and all of the wonderful people there last night very proud! Darcy Malone and the Tangle (Dave Malone’s daughter) will be releasing a full-length record at the end of March to a nationwide audience.
— Billy Schell, New Orleans, Louisiana
I’m the lead singer for Bag of Donuts. I just wanted to drop a line and tell everyone at OffBeat thank you for nominating us once again in the “Best Cover Band” category. We have been nominated 9 times over the years and have won it 4 times. We value your magazine as the heart and soul of the music scene in Louisiana but especially New Orleans. To receive yet another nod for our work is very much appreciated. We are embarking on our 28th year as a working band and just had our most successful year to date with over 120 shows in 2015. We return to French Quarter Fest this year for our 6th consecutive year and are extremely proud of our continued affiliation with your wonderful magazine. Thank you again for the nomination this year.
— Bobby Hoerner, New Orleans, Louisiana
The replacement use of the space vacated by the confederate monuments really needs to be a bold statement because the contexts are so very prominent. I think one idea to consider would be to retain the pedestals and replace the statues with much larger works. Large (equal in size to the Lee pedestal) towering holograms (the newest technology is truly mind-blowing) of the greatest composers and players from our city. A short list would include Gottschalk, Morton, Armstrong, Bechet, Earl King, Toussaint, James Black, Ellis, Masakowski, etc. The goal would be visual art at a high level, works that would be a world-class visual art attraction. Surely the technology exists for alternating 3-D images of the people who have taken aspects of our culture around the world and through time. Perhaps there could be a competition. A truly grand statement worthy of our town’s substantial contribution to world culture could point minds toward unity and higher purposes.
—James Singleton, New Orleans, Louisiana
Wow, this is fascinating stuff. It speaks of a very different time. The past is indeed a foreign country. That reference to Hitler is troubling, isn’t it? Whilst one could never mistake Bowie for a right winger, he was clearly fascinated by the whole Nazi thing in historical terms when he was young, and what we perhaps misread as a momentary aberration in 1976 was of a piece with his early Nietzschean interests (and of course the Crowley references on Hunky Dory).
It also recalls a time, pre-Internet, pre-digitalization, when real people could say pretty much what they wanted. If you wanted to read an interview, you read it, if you didn’t, you didn’t. And of course back then there was very little interest from the establishment media in figures like Bowie. This was a genuine counter-culture which had veered away from the mainstream more and more after Sergeant Pepper.
I love the line “in England, we take our time about that and philosophize… we’re lethargic, we don’t produce any action. We just talk a lot.” I fear that is an England of long ago. The eighties destroyed it.
This is by far the most interesting interview I have read in the revivals of all the material in the last few weeks. Thank you for sharing it.
—John Pownall, Bridport, Dorset, England
I met Oulaboula Bazley in early fall of 2015 at a Maple Street laundromat in New Orleans. While our clothes rinsed we sat outside in the sun and chatted.
Dapper in a blazer, accessorized with cap and sunglasses, Oulaboula’s tapering fingers punctuated the sentences as he narrated his musical life. Educating me with a list of jazz companions, his raised eyebrows exclaimed at my ignorance.
“You don’t know him either!? Google it—you’ll see. Google me—you’ll see. It’s the truth!”
Having returned from cooler Canada’s summer music festivals, he was full of energy. He commented that he was on the list for one of the better assisted-living places here in New Orleans.
“You know someone has to ‘leave’ before you move up the list. I’m in the top twenty now!”
After folding his clothes into a small brown satchel, Oulaboula stopped by my dryer to bid goodbye. Removing his shades, he pointed to me.
“Now wait a minute… oh, yea… The stars in the skies can’t compete with your eyes.”
Without a doubt it was not the first time he had uttered this line.
But indeed it was the first time I had received such sweet words from such a memorable gentleman.
—Karen Eberle, New Orleans, Louisiana
HOUSE OF DANCE & FEATHERS
Thanks for the story of Ronald Lewis and his House of Dance & Feathers. I only wish you had waited a bit to add that volunteers from Common Ground Relief in the Lower Ninth Ward just built an annex to the museum. I spent two weeks in January in my adopted city, my 13th trip working with Common Ground since the storms and levee failures creating more room for Ronald’s artifacts. The rebuilt space from 2006 is bursting and Ronald is still collecting; the annex was the answer.
Volunteers from the University of Maryland and Engineers Without Borders at University of Florida helped with construction. Thom Pepper, director of Common Ground, raised funds for materials.
The smile on Ronald’s face for the crew every morning, the fried chicken lunches he bought for us and the sight of visitors from New Orleans and all over the world arriving to see his collection and learn from him were more than enough reward for the work we did.
I’ve been lucky enough to meet Ronald several times at this museum, and also at the 2009 launch party for Dan Baum’s book Nine Lives in which Ronald figures prominently. It was a privilege for me to work on this project for the House of Dance & Feathers and the residents of the Lower Ninth Ward and all of New Orleans. Thanks to OffBeat for including this amazing man in your coverage.
If any readers haven’t been to this museum, go!
— Phil Woodbury, Somerville, Massachusetts
Thank you for Panorama’s wonderful month of fame!
I had a lot of really great feedback from just about everybody I interacted with during the month of December. The best was on Saturday night, day after Christmas. I’m trying to pull out of my parking spot on Chartres Street after our set at the Spotted Cat. A lady looks up from the passenger seat of the car that’s blocking me in and she makes a big “O” with her mouth, points at me and holds up the OffBeat, bouncing up and down. So, I did the cover face and we both laughed before they pulled away.
—Ben Schenck, New Orleans, Louisiana