Well, what else can we say? The party season’s officially “on” in New Orleans. We have so many events this month that the city’s in a frenzy trying to prepare herself for the hordes of visitors brought in by the annual Sugar Bowl and this year’s Superbowl festivities.
In fact, for anybody familiar enough with New Orleans’ seasons, from now ’til the of May everyone is scrambling around in anticipation of Mardi Gras (February 27 this year, folks), and our favorite event, The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which is always held on the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May (this year, April 27-29 and May 4-6). From rumors floating through town, this year’s Fest promises to be bigger and better than ever. And from the look of last year’s crowds, we wouldn’t be surprised if ticket sales might be limited this year. You can get ticket info from the Jazz Fest office (504) 522-4786, or contact Travel New Orleans at (504) 561-8747 for info on economical Jazz Fest travel packages.
Good news for New Orleans contemporary jazz lovers…Snug Harbor, our perennial favorite jazz club, is open again after some minor renovations. Snug is beloved in jazz circles hereabouts, but we caution you to make sure that you get to the club early because their seating capacity is small. Call the club at 949-0696 to check on the crowd situation…
The International Association of Jazz Educators is in town this mid-month. There are free concerts with some of the best local and national jazz performers in the country. See OffBeat’s listings for concert information or call the Hyatt Regency Hotel or 523-4443.
The Warehouse District is jumping with activity these days…The New Orleans Music Hall is finally open and operating. Robert O’Connell, the hall’s proprietor and owner of O’Connell & Flynn, the hall is currently the largest music club venue in downtown New Orleans, and we understand it will host perennial New Orleans favorites, The Neville Brothers, during January. Maybe Linda Ronstadt will show up to duet with Aaron Neville, now that their single “Don’t Know Much” is rocketing up the Billboard charts. (Have you seen the sexy video??)
Paul and Alan DeCorte of Southlake Recording Studio announced in mid-December that their studio would be relocated to a 29,000 square foot building in the District in a building across from the existing City Lights club. Planning to attract entertainers from allover the world, the DeCorte brothers will include three studios with state of the art equipment, video production facilities, and a brand-new music club, Heritage Hall. The club will have facilities for video and audio taping of live performances and will probably be open by the fall of this year. Hurry up guys, we need more live jazz in the Warehouse District.
Michaul’s, the Cajun restaurant and dance place that operated on the city’s West Bank, will open its doors at 701 Magazine Street, in time for the Superbowl hoopla. We can promise a good experience at Michaul’s, if you love Cajun food, or just want to check out what the two-step’s all about.
If you’re really into a big dose of Cajun and zydeco music, check out The Maple Leaf Bar’s Cajun and Zydeco Fest on Superbowl weekend. Beausoleil, Rockin’ Dopsie and the Zydeco Twisters, File Cajun Band and others will highlight this veritable orgy of southwestern Louisiana music.
Tipitina’s celebrates an anniversary on January 20 with an all-star lineup of some of the city’s finest blues and R&B artists: Johnny Adams, Snooks Eaglin, Jessie Hill, Deacon John & The Ivories, and many, many others. Not to be missed.
Also not to be missed is the grand and glorious opening of Jaxfest atop the Jax Brewery. There are four clubs in the entertainment complex: Sing A Long Sam’s (a piano/entertainment bar); The Locker Room (downtown’s first big sports bar); The Hurricane Dance Club (to dance the night away); and The Toucan Liquor Stand (with live reggae music regularly).
Even locals frequent Bourbon Street for Sugar Bowl and Superbowl, and we thought that the focal point of the city’s tourist activity deserved a little coverage in New Orleans’ most complete guide to the Crescent City’s entertainment. So we assigned a fresh face to the beat, Keith Spera, whose gonzo writing style puts the Bourbon Street scene in perspective for those who might not be prepared for the scene.
Have a good time this month…remember don’t drink and drive, and watch those parking meters. And come back soon, in fact come back for Mardi Gras!