WWOZ Tricentennial Music Moments

New Orleans celebrates 300 years this year, and in honor of that, we're launching a new series: WWOZ's Tricentennial Moments, on-air and online. In this feature, learn more about the moments, stories, and people who have shaped the Crescent City.

1983: French Quarter Fest is born

Wed, 04/11/18
The first French Quarter Fest lasted three days and took place on six stages on Bourbon Street and near Jackson Square. Performers included Allen Toussaint, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Luther Kent, Connie Jones, and Chris Owens. Read more

Fats Domino's big break: Tricentennial Music Moment

Sat, 04/07/18
From the Lower 9th Ward, Fats conquered the world and changed the future, with a fresh new rhythm and sound from New Orleans that became rock'n'roll. Read more

Sidney Bechet makes his debut: Tricentennial Music Moment

Wed, 04/04/18
Like so many New Orleans musicians, the legendary clarinet and sax player Sidney Bechet followed a family member into a life in music. But Sidney’s musical debut started out at a surprise party -- with more than one surprise. Read more

Louis Prima's Sheik of Araby: Tricentennial Music Moment

Sat, 03/17/18
Louis Prima in a nutshell. Enjoy life, act like you’re up to no good, throw in a little innuendo, and turn something serious into a barrel of laughs. His style came from growing up in New Orleans and it was the secret of his success. Read more

Irma Thomas: Tricentennial Music Moment

Sat, 02/17/18
In 1959, Irma Thomas was working as a waitress at the Pimlico Club in Central City, where they called her "the waitress who could sing." Read more

Skull & Bones Gang in the Street: Tricentennial Music Moment

Wed, 02/07/18
Early on Mardi Gras Day, the very first thing you may hear is drumming and chanting. In the dimness of the light you may see skeletons walking down your street. It’s the Skull & Bone Gang, reminding you just how short your time may be. Read more

Louis Armstrong returns as Zulu King: Tricentennial Music Moment

Fri, 02/02/18
"I have traveled all over the world and no place I've ever been could remove the thought in my head that someday I will be the King of the Zulus," Louis Armstrong said. Read more

Cleoma and Joe Falcon make first Cajun music record ever: Tricentennial Music Moment

Mon, 01/29/18
Joe and Cleoma Falcon were considered among the greatest Cajun accordion players ever. Cleoma’s guitar and singing, combined with Joe’s accordion playing, set a standard for Cajun music that still stands today. Read more

Pete Fountain Says "Yes": Tricentennial Music Moment

Tue, 01/23/18
Pete moved to Los Angeles to appear on "The Lawrence Welk Television Show" from 1957 to 1959. And because 25% of the country watched Lawrence Welk every Saturday night, Pete Fountain was suddenly a star. Read more

Funky Butt Hall: Tricentennial Music Moment

Sat, 01/20/18
In the middle of New Orleans, there’s a green space on Perdido Street, beside Duncan Plaza. No marker, just some parked cars. But about a hundred years ago, it was the site of one of the most important moments in jazz history. Read more

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