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.
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.
And here is a nearby wall mural:
I love the black birds surrounding the big-hearted guy. Que colores! And here is the local coffee house:
Here are Wynton, Buddy Guy, Moctar M’Dou and Terence Blanchard:
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. 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 make this photograph earlier this month at Jazz Fest, 2019. See: my website gallery for “New Orleans Jazz Festival” under the “Events” heading for more Fest photos and images from New Orleans.