Is Pete Fountain a Pop Culture Icon?

If you’re like me, Pete Fountain was someone you got the impression was a big deal, but it wasn’t clear why. He was a part of Bourbon Street’s heyday, but so were other less revered musicians. It didn’t help that he played traditional jazz, which is the New Orleans sound people under 50 had the least exposure to, so what made him special wasn’t immediately apparent.

Anemoia and Burlesque at the Orpheum Theatre

A sterilized relic of Bourbon Street was on display in the Orpheum Theatre on Sunday night. Cupid’s Cabaret featured aerialists, singers, burlesque dancers and a contortionist, all of who gracefully dispatched with layers of clothing mid-performance. The music was mostly contemporary, but it did not detract from the nostalgic aura that swathed the experience. Meanwhile, the renovated Orpheum Theatre suffused a formal integrity that the burlesque dancers playfully subverted. 

The Sound of Smoking

When Jimmy Anselmo wanted a liquor license so that the new owners could open Jimmy’s Music Club, they had to sign a good neighbor agreement that was designed to minimize noise. “The club's patio, which must close earlier than the rest of the club, cannot have speakers, and alcohol cannot be served on the patio,” Keith Spera reported in The Times-Picayune.

Tales Discusses Cocktails' Pasts and Future

When I drank a Vesper Thursday, it occurred to me that I’d never been served more deliberately mediocre drinks than I was at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail. Largely, it was the luck of my panel choices. I knew what I’d get when I attended a talk on Bourbon Street cocktails, but the Vesper—gin, vodka, Lillet, and lemon peel—was an unexpected byproduct of Phil Greene and Simon Ford's discussion of the drinking of Ian Fleming and his greatest creation, James Bond.

Shark Attacks and Signature Cups Come to Cocktails

Tales of the Cocktail celebrates the mixed drink at its finest, so how did a panel on Hurricanes, Hand Grenades and Shark Attacks make the cut? When the annual celebration of cocktail culture begins Wednesday, one of its opening panels will deal with the redneck cousins of the Sazerac and the Ramos Gin Fizz—drinks that are distinctly New Orleans, but associated with co-ed wild nights on Bourbon Street that end with karaoke versions of “Fireworks” more than literary confabs in salons that produce “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”

Bourbon Street Wants to Lead the Noise Fight?

The revised sound ordinance will be discussed by City Council’s Housing and Human Needs Committee Friday at noon in Council Chambers at City Hall, so everybody’s doing what they can to pre-tilt the scales. The most ironic effort comes from a coalition of Bourbon Street and French Quarter business owners, who sent a letter to Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell last week asking her to oppose the revised ordinance. It says in part:

The Sound of Science

David Woolworth is quick to point out that his work is contributing to a "sound ordinance," not a noise ordinance. "There’s sound and unwanted sound, which some would consider noise," he said in an interview Monday. "The same thing you might like, somebody else might not like."

The First Rule of New Orleans

If we have one duty to New Orleans, it's to not contribute to its caricature. We've spent years trying to assert that there's more to Carnival than boobs on Bourbon Street, that we're not drunkenly indifferent to work and the weather, and that there's more to our music than horns and accordions. This isn't a city of native "up from the pavement" talent, but a place where people at every level take music and creativity seriously, and just because the learning doesn't always take place in schools doesn't mean musicians aren't getting education in their craft. 

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