French Quarter Festival takes over the city’s oldest neighborhood in mid-April every year, and thank goodness it does. With 23 stages of all-local music of all kinds, FQF is a welcome celebration of local musicians and bands.
With the larger venues that have opened in New Orleans in the past few years to focus on bringing national and headline acts to the city, the FQF offers attendees—many of them from outside New Orleans—the opportunity to experience local bands in a big festival setting where all of our local musicians are rightfully seen as “headliners.”
One of those headliners (at 2:00 p.m. on the Tropical Isle© Main Stage) is a very old friend of mine. In fact, I used to go listen to his band when I was a teenager, whenever his band played at local dances. He was also one of the musicians I got to know early on, when I first became involved with New Orleans music.
That is Deacon John Moore, a consummate musician and vocalist, an astounding performer and band leader, a passionate supporter of musicians’ rights, and an empathic friend.
Deacon John will receive a well-deserved honorary Doctorate of Music this year at Loyola University’s commencement ceremony on May 11. Our sincere and heartiest congratulations to him on this once-in-a lifetime achievement.
If you happen to read Deac’s bio, you’d be astounded at his accomplishments over his more than 50-year -long career. “If New Orleans has such a thing as a musical chameleon, it is certainly Deacon John,” OffBeat writer Jeff Hannusch has said. Blessed with a great voice trained in church, Deacon John began singing with his first R&B band in the seventh grade. He learned to play guitar by ear, and started playing professionally in 1957 while still in high school. In the 1960s, he played on many of the classic R&B hits during recording sessions with Allen Toussaint, Dave Bartholomew, Harold Battiste, Wardell Quezergue and Eddie Bo.
He has performed at every New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and his sets are legendary. He’s played in movies, television shows (including HBO’s Treme), in numerous television commercials, and has taught blues in Louisiana schools.
Deac has won innumerable awards, including OffBeat’s Best of The Beat Lifetime Achievement Award in Music. He has performed for U.S. presidents and Louisiana mayors and governors. He was the star of the critically-acclaimed documentary movie, Going Back to New Orleans: The Deacon John Film, and a live concert DVD and CD, Deacon John’s Jump Blues.
Is there anything that Deacon John can’t do or hasn’t done?
An honorary doctorate? This man should be President!
We love you, Deac. May we call you Dr. Deac now?