January—while a pretty slow month in the city—is a flurry of activity at the OffBeat offices. January is the month we chose years ago to present our paeans to the local music community with the Best Of The Beat Awards. It’s between the holidays, and before the Mardi Gras crush, and it livens up a month that can be pretty slow. So we’re busy putting together the issue that will honor our “Lifetime Achievers,” working on nominations, finding sponsors and making arrangements for our annual bash and party.
This year, we’ve made a few changes, mostly because of the alterations that Ms. Katrina made to the music community. We’ve chosen our Lifetime Achievement Award winners (more on that later), and we’ve asked our writers, contributors and staff to help us choose nominees for the “Best of” categories. We request that you cast your vote for the musician or band you feel has made the most significant contribution to our music scene, by category, in the past year. Voting will go online at our media partner’s website, wwltv.com in the next few weeks. Subscribe now (it’s free) to OffBeat’s Weekly Beat at our website at offbeat.com to get more details on the voting procedure, and on the party, which will be held on Saturday, January 27, 2007 at the House of Blues New Orleans, 225 Decatur Street. Tickets are on sale now at www.hob.com. There are a limited number of tickets at $20 in advance, so get them early, and save. After these tickets are gone, tickets to the event are $25 each.
We’ll also be inviting the nominees for this year’s awards to a special VIP event to present Music and Business Awards, just for them, to be held at the Howlin’ Wolf on Thursday, January 25, 2007.
I’m so pleased to announce that our Lifetime Achievement Award for Music goes to the inimitable and influential Mr. Antoine “Fats” Domino. Mr. Domino was one person I thought of constantly post-Katrina, knowing where his house was situated and considering his age and health. It was such a relief to be able to know that he had been rescued and was safe and sound after the hurricane. He is a representative of New Orleans’ golden age of R&B, and has dominated not only the world’s perception of New Orleans music, but musicians here, and all over the world. Mr. Domino is not only a treasure in the city, but is the world’s icon of New Orleans R&B. We salute you.
We will also pay tribute to Mr. Harold Batiste, Jr., a person for who I share, along with many others, the utmost respect, admiration and love. Mr. Batiste has devoted his life to sharing his vast knowledge of music, the music business, and many years of experience with students he has taught and influenced over many years. Harold: I’ve said before, and I really mean it—you taught me the healing power of music.
Warren Hildebrand grew up in the record business, and has successfully managed—through thick and thin—to keep a prosperous business venture alive through his Mardi Gras Records label and distribution. Underneath his big glasses, he’s sharp as a tack and can teach a lot of us how to stay afloat by giving the customer what they need and want.
We are also honoring the many musician relief agencies this year, as they continue to help keep our music community alive, healthy, employed, and housed. God bless you all for everything that you do, and thank you for supporting our most precious—and sometimes least appreciated—resource: our music and musicians.
The Best of the Beat would not take place at all without the support of our sponsors: the House of Blues New Orleans; Miller Brewing Company; Capital One Bank; Glazer’s Companies of Louisiana; the Howlin’ Wolf; and the many restaurants who participate in the event to honor local music. And certainly, last but not least, we thank the many musicians who honor us with their music and performances, their talent, courage, determination, and devotion to New Orleans’ culture. Please see page nine of this issue for more information on the fantastic lineup at the House of Blues, and for more details on the party itself, which is a benefit for New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund.
We’re still researching the Louisiana Music Directory, and should have a print version and updated online version ready in January 2007. If you haven’t yet sent in information regarding your band, your individual listing, or your business, please don’t wait, or you may not be included in Louisiana’s “musical yellow pages.” Call us at (504) 944-4300 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org before January 1, 2007.