One of the many things that gives New Orleans her flair is her people’s sense of tradition. The Storyville Stompers exemplifies this pride in tradition. The Storyville Stompers are considered by many to be the go-to second line band, playing everything from parties and festivals to weddings and conventions. They participate in New Orleans traditions such as Mardi Gras parades and jazz funerals, and have played French Quarter Fest every year since its inception.
Established in 1981, the group has kept most of its original members. Sousaphonist Woody Penouilh says that out of the current lineup, “five were with the original band in 1981 and the rest have been with [it] for over 10 years. Others in the original band still perform on occasion.”
Trombonist Craig Klein says the Storyville Stompers drew their inspiration from the Olympia Brass Band. “We do funk it up some like Olympia did, but there are so many great, traditional songs with forms and melodies that we love to play,” he says. Doing so makes him feel like they are continuing a “serious New Orleans tradition that sometimes gets overlooked.”
One yearly gig for the band is the St. Anne Parade on Fat Tuesday. Penouilh loves this event because “the music, the costumes and general sensual overdose are fantastic.” The band is also fortunate enough to play all over the world, and have even brought a taste of New Orleans to the Regis and Kelly Show.
The Storyville Stompers exude New Orleans tradition through their music, their events, and their sense of community among the members. “We have a deep respect for the music and the tradition,” Penouilh says. For Klein, playing with the Stompers is playing with family. “I love playing with the Stompers because I get to play with guys I’ve played with for over 30 years. It’s good to play music with friends that started from humble beginnings, and it’s still going strong.”
At French Quarter Fest: Sunday, April 10, 11:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Capital One Riverside Legacy Stage.