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New Orleans Suite

New Orleans Suite: Music and Culture in Transition

Lewis Watts
Eric Porter
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Pages: 158
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  • Book Info
    New Orleans Suite
    Book Description:

    WithNew Orleans Suite,Eric Porter and Lewis Watts join the post-Katrina conversation about New Orleans and its changing cultural scene. Using both visual evidence and the written word, Watts and Porter pay homage to the city, its region, and its residents, by mapping recent and often contradictory social and cultural transformations, and seeking to counter inadequate and often pejorative accounts of the people and place that give New Orleans its soul. Focusing for the most part on the city's African American community,New Orleans Suiteis a story about people: how bad things have happened to them in the long and short run, how they have persevered by drawing upon and transforming their cultural practices, and what they can teach us about citizenship, politics, and society.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95532-5
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
    (pp. vi-vii)
    (pp. viii-xv)
  5. Foundations: Plates 1–16
    (pp. None)
    (pp. 1-11)

    Saul Williams’s words, speaking of the power and possibility in creative work, the spirit, the natural world, human identities, and collective sensibilities, come from the liner notes of a 2010 CD titledDear New Orleans.¹ Released in August 2010 to commemorate the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and to respond to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the album was produced by Air Traffic Control (ATC), a nonprofit organization supporting activism, advocacy, and philanthropy among musicians.

    Dear New Orleansconsists of thirty-one tracks recorded by some of the sixty participants in the “artist activism retreats” in New Orleans that have been...

    (pp. 12-31)

    My first visit to New Orleans after the storm and the levee breaks coincided with the 2006 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. This massive celebration of music, food, and arts and crafts started in 1970 and, in recent memory, has brought hundreds of thousands of people to the city’s fairgrounds over two spring weekends. At Jazz Fest and elsewhere in New Orleans that week, Lewis and I witnessed familiar, though locally inflected, patterns of consuming jazz (and other forms of African American–rooted music). We were in differently integrated and not-so-integrated audiences in different kinds of performance spaces, where...

  8. Hurricane Katrina: Plates 17–43
    (pp. None)
  9. Funerals and Second Lines: Plates 44–62
    (pp. None)
  10. Mardi Gras: Plates 63–80
    (pp. None)
    (pp. 33-55)

    On Lundi Gras (the Monday before Fat Tuesday) 2008, a second line parade began and ended at Louis Armstrong Park in the Faubourg Tremé, which by some accounts is the oldest African American neighborhood in the United States. The park and the Tremé sit just across Rampart Street from the tourist-friendly French Quarter. The New Orleans Social Aid and Pleasure Club Task Force (SAPCTF), an umbrella organization of social aid and pleasure clubs, organized the two-hour event.

    The majority of community-based second line parades are sponsored by single clubs, but the Lundi Gras parade was the third post-Katrina event in...

    (pp. 56-77)

    We memorialize disaster quickly, if not always deeply, in our mass-mediated world. And in the years after Irish rocker Bob Geldof and the supergroup Band Aid’s 1984 Ethiopian famine relief single, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?,” our expectations of musicians to raise awareness of and help the victims of catastrophe have been high. There is, of course, a centuries-old history of folk music and more formal musical expressions commenting on the injustices of the world and longing for a better one. Moreover, musicians have successfully fused protest and popularity throughout the twentieth century. There are early antecedents like Joe Hill’s...

    (pp. 78-96)

    Terence Blanchard’s 2007 albumA Tale of God’s Willis the musical response to Katrina I have listened to the most. In addition to enjoying its haunting textures, plaintive solos, and affirming modulations, I like it because it helps me think about New Orleans as an intersection of diasporas. Opening with “Ghosts of Congo Square,” the album situates Katrina and post-storm cultural production in a long history of displacements and related cultural fusions. The piece begins with polyrhythmic bass and drum lines, replicating a Congo Square drumming and dancing circle. When the musicians chant, “This is a tale of God’s...

  14. NOTES
    (pp. 97-112)
    (pp. 113-118)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 119-128)