The flood called Katrina devastated New Orleans and knocked WWOZ flat on its back in 2005. Because it was summer’s end, our cash flow was as low as the water was high: we were pretty much living from fund drive to fund drive and the next on-air pledge was a good six weeks away. We were running on empty.
It was at this point that the Rex Foundation stepped up to the plate with a lead donation of $10,000. Other money followed, but Rex led the way. We’ll never forget it. In case you don’t know who they are, the Rex Foundation, headquartered in the Bay Area, was founded by the Grateful Dead in 1983 to support worthwhile environmental, indigenous, artistic, scientific and educational organizations. Since that time, Rex has donated $8.9 million to more than 1,200 recipients.
Around three years ago, the Dead’s virtuoso drummer, Mickey Hart, was in New Orleans. His only wish while here: visit Congo Square, holy place of African cultural retention, ground zero of the poly-rhythms that drive so much of New Orleans music. It was a pilgrimage of awe and veneration.
Now Mickey Hart continues to express his love and support for our rich music. He has generously arranged to co-produce with WWOZ a concert at the Metro Night Club in Chicago on July 2 featuring a New Orleans SuperGroup led by Ivan Neville and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, along with Papa Mali, Tony Hall, Willie Green and Marc “Buddha” Balsam. The whole production has the tongue-in-cheek title “Busted on Bourbon Street” and is a benefit for WWOZ as well as a pre-party to the very last three “Fare Thee Well” concerts by the Grateful Dead, scheduled for July 3, 4 and 5 at Soldier Field.
If you plan on being in the Windy City for one of the great gatherings of this summer – and I certainly do – then drop into the Metro and festivate with a bunch of us rowdies from Party City. Never know who might show up.
Remember when "festival season" ended at Jazz Fest and summer in New Orleans was kind of dead? Not so much any more. Check out some of the music festivals and other diversions in and around New Orleans and Louisiana during this summer of 2015.
WWOZ's volunteer photographers ripped it up at last month's New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The proof is in our photo albums: one contains 100 shots from the 2015 edition of the world's greatest music festival, and the other a stylish collection of Jazz Fest head gear.
This year's Creole Tomato Festival happens June 13-14, from 11a-7p each day. Besides bountiful fresh Creole tomatoes for sale, there'll be cooking demonstrations, food booths, live music, children's activities, and a Creole tomato eating contest. And it's free. The festival's three music stages will showcase artists like Paul Sanchez, Kelcy Mae, Johnny Sansone, Flow Tribe & more.
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation has released videos of the 2015 Sync Up sessions. If you were too busy with Jazz Fest to attend the conference, you can see them all here. The Sync Up Conference is New Orleans' top forum for entertainment industry leaders, covering music, film and digital media from the perspective of independent artists.
Rolled up in a blend of spices, crawfish, and Gouda macaroni these little guys are something else! Try fritters for a delicious alternative for entertaining.. Recipe courtesy of Louisiana Cookin' magazine.
The 'OZ Swamp Shop is open and chock full of WWOZ gear.
Live music is the lifeblood of New Orleans. Check out our online music calendar to find out who's playing where.
WWOZ Elsewhere on the Web
WWOZ broadcasts from the French Market on the banks of the Mississippi.