French traditions will take on a New Orleans accent Sunday, Nov. 24, when local gypsy jazz band Zazou City accompanies the St. Catherine’s Day Hat Parade uptown. The parade, inspired by the annual Catherinette parade in Paris, will march with the theme “Been There / Done Hat.”
The 2013 parade is the fourth annual New Orleans event honoring St. Catherine, the patron saint of milliners and single women, and the second with Zazou City.
Named after a French subculture from the World War II era, which followed similar trends to the Zoot Suit era in the United States, Zazou City is a jazz band with a style that exhibits strong European influences.
“Zazou City is a swing band that brings the melange of New Orleans gypsy jazz to new heights, including original compositions and what Jelly Roll Morton called the ‘Spanish tinge’,” describes leader Bart Ramsey.
The band, appearing as a quartet, will accompany the marchers from a mule-drawn carriage. Ramsey will play accordion, Nati Vaan will be on violin, Georgi Petrov on guitar, and Pascal Valcasara adds a saxophone to the mix.
“We had a wonderful time playing for the St. Catherine’s Day Hat Parade last year. We’d never played while riding in a mule-drawn carriage before!” comments Ramsey.
Marchers are gathering at Sunday Nov. 24 at 10 a.m. at St. Charles Avenue and Pleasant Street. The parade begins at 10:30 a.m. The event is FREE and open to women and girls of all ages, and they should wear a hat, any hat. Men and boys are welcome to tag along.