And The Band Played On…
The venerable 62-year old Preservation Hall has announced an expansion of its facilities to further support the 12-year old Preservation Hall Foundation and its mission. A message from its Creative Director, Ben Jaffe, explained their latest venture:
We’ve embarked on so many exciting new projects and walked hand in hand with our community in times of crisis and in celebration. The Hall and Foundation have played an invaluable role in protecting, preserving, and perpetuating New Orleans music and traditions.
We are excited to continue this journey with you. The next three years will bring enormous organizational and physical expansion. The sacred space of the Hall itself will remain as it always has, but a comprehensive renovation of surrounding spaces will enable us to welcome and serve more musicians, students, community members, and visitors. We have secured a 50-year lease on the building next door, 730 Saint Peter Street, which will house the Preservation Hall Foundation and serve as home to its expanded program offerings ranging from music education, artists in residency, musician support services, exhibitions, and so much more.
Here are the 2023 numbers:
♫ 218,800 views of the online lessons
♫ 45,000 users and educators accessed the online lessons
♫ 4,836 students welcomed to Hall field trips
♫ 57 musicians employed
♫ $100,000 provided in community engagement
♫ $210,000 given to support Legacy musicians
They are embarking on a $20 million expansion and will be grateful for any donations for this three year project. Visit their website to obtain additional information.
The book Preservation Hall: Music from the Heart by William Carter, is an excellent read on the history of how “Mr. Larry’s Art Gallery” became Preservation Hall. First published in Great Britain in 1991, the paperback reprint with minor revisions was published in 1999.
I look forward to seeing the expansion as it progresses in the Heart of the French Quarter! I have always felt the reverent aura of the Hall and will continue to hold it in highest esteem. It truly is a sacred space.
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The New Orleans Jazz Historical Park provides free lectures at both its Decatur Street and French Market locations and at the New Orleans Jazz Museum on Esplanade. The Museum will continue its Tuesday afternoon balcony concerts in additional to its weekly concerts in their third floor hall. Programs at the Decatur Street site include concerts, lectures, craft displays and educational programs suitable for all ages and free to the public.
We always enjoy the afternoon series at the Park locations, a perfect way to spend a mid-day break between lunch and the evening’s treasures!
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The January 6th festivities culminated in the Joan of Arc Parade, together with a French representative enjoying the event on United States soil. The 12th night activities signal the start of Carnival which ends at midnight on Fat Tuesday. The year-long efforts of the Krewe of Jeanne d’Arc will come to realization as their members lead the parade! So now it is Official! Happy Carnival Season To All – although it is a short period this year, from 12th Night (January 6th) to Mardi Gras on February 13th, the city is prepared for its dozens of parades and expected 25 million pounds of thrown beads in addition to trinkets such as doubloons, cups, stuffed toys, etc.
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WWOZ, the local radio station dedicated to broadcasting the various musical genres of the City of New Orleans announced its move to an iconic location:
WWOZ is thrilled to announce that our beloved station is relocating and will occupy the entire top (fifth) floor of The Jax Brewery Millhouse building located at 600 Decatur Street.
“This is a world class location for our world class station,” said Beth Arroyo Utterback, General Manager of WWOZ. “With over 7,000 square feet of interior space and exclusive use of balconies and terraces overlooking the French Quarter and the Mississippi River, it allows us space for our entire staff under one roof, beautiful studios for our show hosts and musicians, as well as room for volunteer projects and meetings. It also gives us the opportunity to add picturesque views to our award-winning programming.”
This new landmark location is a win for the WWOZ family, our community, and our growing worldwide audience,” said Judge Sidney Cates, WWOZ Board Chair.
With the move from their French Market location, the many staff and local musicians created a magnificent Second Line to the Jax Brewery site. With blazing horns and beating drums, the parade-goers left the old space and shimmied and marched to the new space only a few blocks down the street! It was a triumphant display of joy and new beginnings for the New Year!
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The Historic New Orleans Collection at 520 Royal St. has many free events, including French Quarter tours, exhibits, demonstrations and Gallery tours. Some events require a nominal fee from non-members, but many are open to the public. The interactive displays are fun and educational for all age groups
And further announcements concerning the Collection’s recent purchase:
The Historic New Orleans Collection has purchased the original K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen building at 416 Chartres Street in the French Quarter for $5 million, further expanding its campus of museums, exhibition space, and research facilities in the heart of the Vieux Carre.
It’s the second time in less than two years that the iconic building, from which the late Chef Paul Prudhomme launched a nationwide Cajun cooking craze in the 1980s, has changed hands. In 2022, a local group bought the building with plans to turn it into a breakfast and lunch spot, but those plans fell through.
When the property came back on the market earlier this year, the organization jumped at the chance to buy it, said President and CEO Daniel Hammer. The three-story, 175-year-old building is immediately adjacent to THNOC’s Williams Research Center, which is the largest repository of material related to New Orleans history and culture in the US.
We always visit the Collection for the many exhibits, the Café and the Gift Shop. The purchase of the Prudhomme building will provide even more wonderful aisles to peruse and since it is adjacent to their well-known Williams Research Center, the displays will be beautifully curated.
We are off to the Quarter in a few days to revel in the Carnival Season, leaving a few weeks short of the actual Mardi Gras Day and hope to visit many of these sites this time around…oh, and to enjoy some King Cake too!!