Tag Archives: John Swenson

Treme: A Tale of Two Cities
(S4 E5, Series Finale)

David Simon’s Treme, the American auteur’s loving and unflinching portrait of New Orleans, is now history after Sunday’s final episode. People compare it to his masterpiece, The Wire, which similarly lacked big viewership numbers while it was running, but became a cult hit once it was over. Treme is a different animal from The Wire, [...]

Treme’s Legacy (S4 E4)

Here’s a good question: If you died today what would you leave behind that you would be remembered for? That’s the question being asked in the penultimate episode of HBO’s Treme. No matter what happens in next Sunday’s final episode, the question now hangs over the entire series.The question takes on even greater weight in [...]

Americana Music and New Orleans

So fresh back from the Americana Music Festival in Nashville last week–which focused on New Orleans. Here are a few comments on the experience. This year, the Americana Music Association (AMA) chose to focus on New Orleans, which meant that there were a couple of panels devoted to New Orleans music (one on the history [...]

OffBeat’s Big Night at 2013 New Orleans Press Club Awards

It was a big night for OffBeat at the Press Club of New Orleans awards, held July 20 at the Harrah’s Theater. OffBeat and its staff received 15 awards, including five first-place awards, and one of the night’s biggest, the Hal Ledet Award for Print Photography, which went to photographer Golden G. Richard, III. In [...]

Missing Bob French

I just finished being interviewed by OffBeat’s contributing editor, John Swenson, for our upcoming December issue, in which we celebrate 25 years of publishing OffBeat. It was a walk down memory lane, for sure (good memories and bad), but it continues to amaze one as old as myself that so much history has gone down [...]

Glen David Andrews performs again

Glen David Andrews played his first gig in two months Saturday at the Hudson River BBQ & Blues  Fest in New York City. Andrews, who was last seen in New Orleans at a second line for the late Uncle Lionel Batiste, has been in a rehabilitation facility called Right Turn Inc. in Massachusetts for over [...]

Satchmo Summerfest: Much More Than I’ll Ever Know

I grew up believing that Louis Armstrong was born on the Fourth of July in the year 1900. I always thought it was appropriate for the great, American cultural hero to share his birthday with the nation. A big part of my enjoying Independence Day was always the fact that I’d hear Armstrong play classics [...]

End of an Era: Reflections on the Passing of Uncle Lionel

Now that Uncle Lionel is in the ground I feel like I can finally talk about an issue that disturbed me greatly during the roughly two weeks of celebrations, some planned and some spontaneous, of his remarkable life. Blog, twitter and facebook wars raged about the propriety of the celebrations, with complaints ranging from the [...]

Uncle Lionel Batiste: February 1, 1931 – July 8, 2012

Of all the colorful char-actors who’ve populated the streets of New Orleans over the years, Uncle Lionel Batiste takes the cake. Uncle Lionel patrolled the banquette along lower Decatur and Frenchmen Streets with the panache of a potentate or prelate. Always impeccably dressed in a crisply tailored suit, usually accompanied by a color coordinated bowler [...]

Open Letter to Jazz Journalists of New Orleans

Back in 1986 when my book The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide was released, music journalism was an entirely different phenomenon than it is today. Jazz critics had built a firewall around themselves, perhaps in self-defense as what was once America’s popular music faded into demographic marginality, and those who wrote about it found themselves writing [...]