NEW ORLEANS FOR JAZZ FEST, FRENCHMEN STREET AND THE MARIGNY

Sweet Musician, at Club Favela Chic, Frenchmen Street, New Orleans

I visited New Orleans for Jazz and Heritage Festival this year, my 25th year at Fest. I made some fine images of Jazz Musicians shooting from outside the photography pit for less distorted images than possible when working too close from the press photographers pit, including a photograph rising star Cecile McLorin Salvant. Use this link for that image and post, and view my new Jazz Fest gallery. Also see the images I made of Wynton Marsalis working the crowd, Buddy Guy wailing away in the Blues tent and Moctar Mdou, the ‘Hendrix of the Sahara,’ bringing down the house. I’ll add nice pics of Terence Blanchard and Stephanie Jordan.

Beyond Fest, I spent time wandering around in the Faubourg Marigny and along Frenchmen Street, hunting for good compositions. Above is an image of a street musician busking for a living outside a club on Frenchmen, and below is an image of ‘The World’s Most Okayest Poet’ doing the same thing, across the street.

Frenchmen Street, New Orleans, LA

Faubourg Marigny:  In 1805 Bernard de Marigny began the subdivision of his plantation east of New Orleans, then under French control, creating the first suburb of the City. As Americans settled up-river in what is now the Garden District, French Creole and German immigrants and free persons of color settled in Faubourg Marigny. The Marigny, as it is most commonly referred to now, returned to its iconoclastic and Bohemian roots in the 1980s and 90s, as many refugees from the over-priced homes in the French Quarter and some folks from a substantial gay community in Nawlings moved in. Alas, The Marigny appears to be losing a battle with gentrification, pushed along by rising housing prices and Air BnB rentals. Still, the neighborhood retains enormous charm, displayed in the photo below of a restored Creole Cottage fronted by a utility pole festooned with Mardi Gras beads. Note the cat keeping watch and the reflection of the backside of the utility pole in the front window, a deliberate compositional element.  

Creole Cottage, Beaded Pole, The Marigny, New Orleans, LA.

And here is a nearby wall mural:

Wall Mural, The Marigny, New Orleans, LA.

I love the black birds surrounding the big-hearted guy. Que colores! And here is the local coffee house:

Flora Coffee Shop and Gallery, Faubourg Marigny, New Orleans, LA

Here are Wynton, Buddy Guy, Moctar M’Dou and Terence Blanchard:

New Orleans, LA. Wynton with his brothers Branford, Delfayo and Jason, performed a Tribute to their father, Ellis Marsalis, at Fest 2019. I caught this image as they ended their performance, winding their way through the adoring crowd in the Jazz tent. Wynton is an American virtuoso trumpeter, composer, teacher, and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, NY.
New Orleans, LA. Guitar legend and Louisiana-born Buddy Guy is a multiple Grammy-award winner. His style is Chicago meets Southern blues and his sound has influenced key generations of both rock and the blues.
New Orleans, LA. Dubbed “the Hendrix of the Sahara” by the UK’s Guardian newspaper, this Tuareg musician, Mdou Moctar, was forbidden to buy a guitar by his religious parents, so he built his own. He is among the first to play traditional Tuareg music in a rock-guitar format, and has starred in a film loosely based on Prince’s Purple Rain.
New Orleans, LA Grammy award-winning trumpeter Terence Blanchard is a Jazz Fest regular. He is especially appreciated for his community work. His acclaimed 2015 album, Breathless, was largely inspired by the death of Eric Garner, who died at the hands of NYC police, (“I can’t breath!”), and the events which followed.

But I have to say, with all due respect for the gents, the women artists and the female characters of Fest are the most photogenic. I loved the music and energy of Stephanie Jordan, Cecile Savant, (OK, I already gave you a link for my blog about her, but so what?), and the dancers from Niger, performing in the small stage for cultural exchange.

New Orleans, LA. This popular New Orleans jazz singer is part of the esteemed Jordan family. Her father is award-winning saxophonist, Kidd Jordan. Stephanie Jordan
New Orleans, LA. This dancer is part of a cultural association, the 3L Ilfede of Benin, supported by the government of Benin focused on spreading and preserving a wide variety of traditional dances from Benin.

New Orleans, LA. Cecil McLorin Salvant is a rising star, American jazz vocalist of Haitian/French parents. Winner of the 2010 Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition, she has gone on to record multiple albums to critical acclaim. Her third album, From One to Love, won the Grammy in 2015 for Best Jazz Vocal Album. No less an authority than Wynton Marsalis has said of her, ‘You get a singer like this once in a generation or two.’ Her wildly eclectic choices of material on her new album, The Window, makes new magic out of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Visions’ and the West Side Story chestnut ‘Somewhere’. This is what she was performing when I made this photograph at Fest, 2019.

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