Ernie K-Doe, Mr. Google Eyes, Johnny Adams, Earl King, Danny Barker, Snooks Eaglin and so-o-o many more crossing our door daily in the ole three-room tree house in Armstrong Park where WWOZ crammed its studios from 1984 till the Federal Flood of 2005.
Now, the next edition of Louisiana Cultural Vistas, a quarterly magazine published by the esteemed Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, will feature an article on what it was like to be working in that magical environment. Once it's out you'll be able to see it here. The article will share our many fond memories of those times.
But another aspect of being in Armstrong Park was that it could be a rather desolate place. There were elements in this city that made a concerted effort to keep people out of the area, creating a sort of green line beyond which tourists and non-Tremians were told to dare not venture without getting mugged.
To counter that, WWOZ tried to put on as many events as we could, including one particular concert featuring Marcia Ball, a flock of stilt walkers and other good-timers. In order to entice folk into the park, we assembled the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Trombone Shorty (back when he was truly shorter than his trombone), and did a kind of Pied Piper thing, gathering a following as we wended our way through the French Quarter from the Moon Walk to Armstrong Park. The crowd was particularly encouraged by our signs for “Free Beer,” of which, as you might guess, there was none.
Now, next week, we’re having an event at which we really are giving away free beer: our joint Gambit/WWOZ Anniversary Happy Hour at NOLA Brewing, where the first two drafts are free. We posted requests for RSVP’s on our websites and in Gambit, and within 2 days we reached capacity. Some 500 happy quaffers are being properly celebrated not only for visiting our websites early and often, but for keeping both WWOZ and Gambit alive and well for the past 35 years! Please allow me to raise my glass….
Join us for a pair of live broadcasts in the coming week. On Sunday, February 28, it's Nolatet from Snug Harbor at 8pm. On Wednesday, March 2, we'll help the YLC celebrate three decades of Wednesdays at the Square with a live broadcast featuring the Royal Teeth. Tune in to 90.7FM or visit wwoz.org to listen.
The WWOZ video team hit the streets of New Orleans on February 9 for Mardi Gras 2016, and we're sharing highlights from their footage in our Mardi Gras Day video diary. See Skull & Bones, Wild Magnolias and lots more from the Backstreet Cultural Museum.
Applications are now being taken for the fifth annual Class Got Brass competition, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundations' contest for Louisiana high school and middle school brass bands. At stake: more than $30,000 worth of musical instruments for school bands. Apply online before March 7. Class Got Brass happens during Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival; see below.
The ninth annual Congo Square Rhythms Festival returns to Armstrong Park March 19-20. This free festival, presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, celebrates the music and culture of the African diaspora, featuring the music and dance of Africa, the Caribbean, the American Gulf South and beyond. Acts include Tank & the Bangas, Rebirth Brass Band, the Pan African Youth Orchestra, a Mardi Gras Indian Battle, and lots more.
Piano Night, WWOZ's flagship benefit event, happens Monday, April 25 at the House of Blues, between the two weekends of Jazz Fest. Piano Night is a favorite among lovers of New Orleans music for its celebration of the city's tradition of great piano players. This year we honor Allen Toussaint with a lineup that includes Monty Alexander, Henry Butler, Marcia Ball, John Gros, Joe Krown, Tom McDermott and many more. It'll be another epic night of music, food, and 'OZ love!
This month on WWOZ's weekly syndicated program New Orleans Calling, host George Ingmire goes in search of the late Alvin Batiste - a contemporary clarinetist who also performed with classical orchestras and R&B singers. He was a composer and music teacher who founded the jazz studies program at Southern University, and then taught a generation of young jazz players at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. Listen to New Orleans Calling on Saturday mornings at 7, or stream episodes online anytime.
Louisiana shrimp, prosciutto, and cheese grits? Yes, please. This easy dish will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. We recommend making a big batch for your next celebration.
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.