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Lagniappe

 
THE

Defender Picks

 

DIMANCHE

June 25th

THINK DEEP

The Drifter, 12PM

Ft. Javier Drada, Tristan Dufrene, Otto

 

The Tangiers Combo

Bacchanal, 12PM

A mid-afternoon match made in heaven

 

Gentilly Stompers

Bamboulas, 1PM

Get jazzy with it

 

Book Signing

Garden District Book Shop, 2PM

Tanisha Jones, Mark of The Fallen

 

Miami Ice

Black Penny, 3PM

Krewe of Goddesses host a popsicle party

 

Grill Out with Your Gills Out

Bayou St. John, 3PM

Krewe of Mermoux Benefit BBQ for NOAGE

 

Moonshine Taste

Three Keys, 7PM

A POC cabaret series at the Ace

 

Guy Fieri’s Rockin Road Show

Tip's, 8PM

Feat. Cowboy Mouth

 

Unfortunate Side Effect

Banks St. Bar, 8PM

Plus Voodoo Wagon and Bad Mimosas

 

Girls Night Out

Rare Form NOLA, 9PM

A rare male revue show

Lundi

June 26th

Pizza For Pitbulls

Reginelli’s, 11AM

Eat pizza to help dogs, really. Benefitting the Love A Pitbull Foundation

 

Justin Molaison

Chickie Wah Wah, 5:30PM

Happy hour tunes

 

Let’s Get Quizzical

Port Orleans Brewing Co., 6:30PM

Food, drinks, trivia

 

Salves + Infused Oils Workshop

Rosalie Apothecary, 7PM

Last class of the Heart of Herbal Medicine Series 

 

Choral Festival

St. Louis Cathedral, 7:30PM

Presented by the N.O. Children’s Choir

 

Breathe LOVE Yoga

Revolution Fitness, 7:30PM

Hatha Yoga Basics

 

Little Tybee + Cliff Hines + Friends

Hi Ho, 8PM

Elements of folk, jazz, psych, and bossa

 

Mondays with Tasche

Mags, 8PM

Vintage soul and modern blues

 

Charlie Gabriel & Friends

Preservation Hall, 8PM

Joined by Taslimah P. Bey, Djallo Djakate, Marion Hayden

 

A Motown Monday

Circle Bar, 9:30PM

With DJ Shane Love

 

Monday Music Therapy

Lucky’s, 10PM

With CSE & Natasha Sanchez

 

MARDI

June 27th

Movie Screening

Broad Theater, 5:30PM

An intimate screening of America Divided

 

Book Signing

Garden District Book Shop, 6PM

Appearences by Courtney + J.P. Sloan

 

Movie Screening

Café Istanbul, 6:30PM

Trapped: A story of women + healthcare

 

Song Writer Sessions

Foundation Room, 7PM

Supporting NOLA’s songwriting community

 

MORBID ANGEL + Suffocation

House of Blues, 7PM

With support by Withered

 

Astrology | Transits

School for Esoteric Arts, 7PM

A lecture on reading transits in natal charts

 

Boston

Saenger Theatre, 8PM

Get ready for a giant sing along

 

Blato Zlato + Toonces

Siberia, 8PM

Balkan tunes + art-rock

 

Progression

Gasa Gasa, 9PM

Static Masks, Shame, Annette Peacock Tribute

 

MERCREDI

June 28th

Noontime Talk

NOMA, 12PM

Jim Steg: New Work, with Curator Russell Lord

 

Books Beer & Bookworm Babble

Urban South Brewery, 5PM

A fundraiser for Friends of New Orleans

 

Local Intro to Oils

Monkey Monkey, 6PM

Get the 411 on essential oils

 

Rye Tasting

Grande Krewe, 6PM

A flight of rye

 

Stick To Your Guns

Republic, 6PM

With support by Hawthorne Heights

 

Free Yogalates

The Mint, 6:30PM

Part of Wine Down Wednesdays

 

WNOE Summer Jam

House of Blues, 7PM

Jerrod Neimann with Michael Ray and more

 

Comedy Gold

House of Blues, 7PM

Stand up comedy from the Big Easy

 

Corks & Colors

NOLA Yoga Loft, 7:30PM

Let the paints and wine flow

 

Weird Wednesday’s

Bar Redux, 9PM

The Extra Terrestrial Edition

 

Mighty Brother

Saturn Bar, 10PM

With Grace Pettis

JEUDI

June 29th

Essence Festival

Superdome, 10AM

All your favorites in one place

 

Talkin’ Jazz

Jazz Museum, 2PM

With Tom Saunders

 

Ogden After Hours

The Ogden, 6PM

Featuring Andrew Duhon

 

Movie Screening

Carver Theater, 6PM

FunkJazz Kafé: Diary Of A Decade 

 

Bleed On

Glitter Box, 6PM

Fundraising for We Are #HappyPeriod, powered by Refinery29

 

Book Signing

TREO, 7PM

SHOT by Kathy Shorr

 

BYO #Scored

Music Box Village, 730

Presenting “Where I’m From”

 

JD Hill & The Jammers

Bar Redux, 8PM

Get ready to jam

 

Henry & The Invisibles

Hi Ho, 9PM

With support by Noisewater

 

Soundbytes Fest Edition

Three Keys, 9PM

With PJ Morton + Friends

 

Trance Farmers

Dragon’s Den, 10PM

Support by Yung vul

 

Push Push

Banks St Bar, 10PM

With Rathbone + Raspy

 

VENDREDI

June 30th

Electric Girls Demo Day

Monroe Hall at Loyola, 1:30PM

Check out the newest inventions

 

Field to Table Time

NOPL Youth Services, 2PM

Learn how growing + cooking = saving the world

 

Dinner & A ZOOvie

Audubon Park, 6PM

A showing of Trolls

 

Movie Night in The Garden

Hollygrove Market, 7PM

A showing of Sister Act

 

Songwriter Night

Mags, 9PM

Ft. Shannon Jae, Una Walkenhorst, Rory Sullivan

 

Alligator ChompChomp

The Circle Bar, 9:30PM

Ft. DJ Pasta and Matty N Mitch

 

Free Music Friday

Fulton Ally, 10PM

Featuring DJ Chris Jones

 

Spektrum

Techno Club, 10PM

Ft. CHKLTE + residents

 

The Longitude Event

Café Istanbul, 10PM

Presented by Urban Push Movement

 

Foundation Free Fridays

Tips, 10PM

Ft. Maggie Koerner & Travers Geoffray + Cha Wa

 

Gimme A Reason

Poor Boys Bar, 11PM

Ft. Tristan Dufrene + Bouffant Bouffant

 

SAMEDI

July 1st

SLOSHBALL

The Fly, 12PM

Hosted by Prytania Bar

 

Organic Bug Management

Hollygrove Market, 1PM

Learn about pests + organic management

 

Mystic Market

Rare Form NOLA, 2PM

Author talk, live music, art and more

 

Girls Rock New Orleans

Primary-Colton, 2:30PM

The official camper showcase

 

Serious Thing A Go Happen

Ace Hotel, 4PM

Exhibit viewing, artist talk, and after-sounds

 

Art NO(w)

Claire Elizabeth Gallery, 5PM

An eye popping opening reception

 

Antoine Diel Trio

Three Muses, 6PM

With Josh Paxton + Scott Johnson

 

CAIN Ressurection

Southport Music Hall, 9PM

Support by Overtone plus Akadia

 

Grits & Biscuits

House of Blues, 10PM

A Dirty South set

 

Jason Neville Band

BMC, 11PM

With Friends for Essence Fest

DIMANCHE

July 2nd

The Greatest Show On Earth

Prytania Theater, 10AM

Dramatic lives within a circus

 

THINK DEEP

The Drifter Hotel, 2PM

Ft. RYE, Lleauna, Tristen Dufrane

 

Night Market

Secondline Arts, 6PM

With Erica Lee

 

The Story of Stories

Académie Gnostique, 7PM

Learn about the practical magic of fairy tales

 

Silencio

One Eyed Jacks, 8PM

A tribute to David Lynch

 

Alex Bosworth

Bar Redux, 9PM

With Diako Diakoff

 

Church*

The Dragons’s Den, 10PM

SHANOOK, RUS, KIDD LOVE, ZANDER

 

International Flag Party

Howlin Wolf, 11:30PM

The hottest dance party of the year

 

New Creations Brass Band

Maple Leaf, 12AM

A special closing performance

 

Life on the Pledge (PHOTOS)

Inside the WWOZ Studio



At WWOZ, pledge week doesn't cut into regular programming, it enhances the listening. Ryan Sparks and photographer Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee sat in as the station considered its existence.

 

A radio station’s call sign is a unique identifier that separates it from all other broadcasters in the nation. In the abbreviation-prone USA, call letters are usually chosen to signify a geographic location or source of patronage. When Jerry and Walter Brock filled out their federal license to start up a community radio station in New Orleans in 1980, they chose the letters WWOZ, inspired by the Wonderful Wizard of Oz and his demand to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. In the founders’ minds, the varied music of New Orleans, that of generations both past and present, would draw the audience, not the personality of any disc jockey.

 

Of course, within a few years Ernie K-Doe, an endless flame of personality, had his own weekly show on ‘OZ, and routinely navigated the non-profit station into treacherous waters merely by name-dropping local businesses on air.  In retrospect, when you hand over control of the helm every two or three hours to a different New Orleanian with their own idea of which direction to head, such results are inevitable. More than 30 years later, however, the music still takes precedent. One way or another, the personalities of the small staff and their crew of volunteers all find their way out onto the airwaves. There’s no need to hijack the frequency when it so readily absorbs you into it.  

 

On Friday, March 15, WWOZ wrapped their spring membership drive.  As a non-profit, the station’s operating income is dependent on grants and pledged funds from listeners, so to gin up supporters the station goes on an eleven day binge of pitching and promoting itself as the greatest radio station in the country (or, in K-Doe-inspired instances of cockiness, the universe), the guardians of the groove, and the only place like itself on Earth.  In between nonstop recitations of the toll-free pledge line number, New Orleans and Louisiana musicians play short live sets, emphasizing that participation in traditions is an ongoing lifestyle.

 

The performance room where the bands play sounds nice and close like it should, a carpeted space about 400 square feet with windows into the DJ’s studio, a small engineering booth, and an even smaller production room where items like the daily Livewire music calendar are recorded and edited.  On my initial tour of the station, Crystal Gross, the station’s development director, points out some dusty material that has been recently ground into the carpet.

Maggie Koerner performs in the studio while volunteers take a break

 

“When the bands get going, the paint chips start falling,” she said.  

 

Not that it’s all crumbling charm. The station moved to the second floor of the French Market Corporation building on North Peters Street from its longtime home in Armstrong Park in Treme after Katrina swamped the grounds, and most of the equipment has been upgraded since then.  Still, there is the slight feel of being inside of a public school office: old steel lockers line the hall; posters from Piano Nights past with dated fonts hang on the walls; a large metal fixture holds individual mailboxes for the show hosts arranged roughly by their position in the weekly schedule. A Kenny G LP overlooks the pigeonholes as a kind of momento mori. “Lest We Forget,” reads a note attached to its cover. Small offices hold multiple occupants and their paraphernalia.

 

Only about 20 people are on staff at WWOZ, and each person is almost a department unto themselves. Everyone else who passes through the front door is a volunteer, and that difference is magnified while the station raises money. During a pledge drive, the number of individuals who offer their time--show hosts, pitchmen, engineers, phone operators, and musicians--totals more than 300.

 

There is one bottleneck in the station: the copy room that separates the kitchen from the air studio from which the show hosts broadcast.  This is where the communal printer churns out the latest list of new members that need to be thanked on air, where people blow into their coffee before moving on, where calendars, query letters, and calls for donations are posted on a bulletin board.  This is where New Orleans arrives and assembles before being transmitted out into the world.  

 

Honey Island Swamp Band rock the performance room.
 

 

“Our culture is not a given,” James Carville says in a live sermon on Sunday afternoon during Cousin Dmitri’s Acoustic Blues show.  Of course, this became painfully obvious during the federal flood, or, as some around the station refer to it, “that thing that happened.”  

 

Though the physical damage forced a change of venue for ‘OZ and the mental toll claimed some staff and volunteers, WWOZ’s spirit remained intact and received almost daily aid from the listeners from outside Louisiana the station had amassed since their early adoption of online streaming.  The cultivation of a real community on wwoz.org proved to be a major part of the station’s ability to survive. For many, WWOZ is a conduit to New Orleans culture whether they’ve been here or not, almost like a front office for the city, a true one-stop shop. In this scenario, of course, the most visible (or audible) people are the show hosts.  

 

For some people, listening and loving music isn’t enough. They have to be closer to it, observe its origins and classify its evolutions.  All of the show hosts I spoke to fit this mold, occupying their own point on the continuum between collector and fact junkie, fanboy and participant, booster and kingmaker.  While there can be the occasional brush of egos, the disagreements are usually over the interpretation of the Crescent City scripture, not the infallibility of it.  

 

Each host has their own spin on the pitch process as well,  their own estimation of their audience and how to coax it into giving.  Charles Laborde, who hosts the Cajun and Zydeco show assigns French names to each of the donation levels and offers merci mille fois.  Sherwood Collins brings enthusiasm for funding the new transmitter that will push a clear signal to his hometown of Houma for the first time.  Hazel the Delta Rambler can remember when you measured your music collection by the yard, not the megabyte, and worries about the shrinking amount of specialty content available to people without computers, HD radios and smartphones. She makes more plainspoken pleas to her bluegrass aficionado audience.  

 

“My show comes from my heart,” says DJ Soul Sister, explaining the mentality she shares with other longtime programmers.  “The people who do it and last are the ones who want to share the music.  For us, it’s not about personal gain at all.  And the ones who don’t think that way aren’t around for very long.”

 

Soul Sister started as an office volunteer herself, stuffing envelopes and licking stamps one afternoon a week while also starting out as a college radio DJ.  She answered phones for the pledge drive, did voice overs, became a regular.  Eventually she was mentored by Nita Ketner, host of a soul music show in the nineties, and when Ketner decided to leave New Orleans, she gave Soul Sister the chance to replace her.  Now, almost 20 years later, she’s still dropping needles and preaching the power of music on Saturday nights.  

 

Crystal Gross believes that the station’s openness is its main strength.  

 

“The fact that we’re volunteer-based and how we use our volunteer team is incredible.  We allow each person to participate.  We aren’t one identity or way; we’re a collective,” she said.

 

John Gros performs on the New Orleans Music Show.

 

On the final day of the pledge drive, a middle-aged couple from San Francisco spot the WWOZ sign and, being longtime fans who have already made their annual pledge, decide to poke their heads in.  They’ve arrived at a prime moment: Jason Stewart and his band are in the middle of a short jazz set in the performance room.  They bemoan the fact that community radio around the country consists of majority news and talk programming.  

 

“Don’t we have enough news?” asks Louis, the volunteer who is showing them around.  

 

Of course, there is plenty of news available on the station’s website, from second line skeds to benefit bits, but here in the wonderful world of OZ, it is the music that subsidizes the talk. It all starts with the open door policy the station has had since the lean, laissez faire 80’s. Local musicians stop by with instruments or demos, and OZ gives them access to a wide audience already primed for their flavor.  

 

So when the call goes out at pledge time, most musicians are more than happy to heft their gear and brave the dearth of French Quarter parking to come on air and play something unique. They get up early the day after a gig.  They take a long lunch from their day job. They drive up from Reserve just to play two-step triangle.  They set up fast and drop right into songs like switching on a light.

 

For some of them, like James Andrews, WWOZ is a friendly venue filled with familiar faces.  He offers up the crowd favorites “Bourbon Street Parade” and “St. James Infirmary,” a song almost overplayed on OZ in its various versions.  Yet Andrews offers an original livetake on the melody of "St. James," playing in constant counterpoint with his trombonist.  After his session he makes sure his backup players know where to find something to eat.  

 

Others, like Michael Juan Nunez, approach the task with awe and humility in their hearts, as if the performance room was sacred ground.  He sets up directly on the other side of the glass from the Problem Child, the Blues Breakdown’s soft-voiced host, lyric cheat sheets arrayed at his feet.  His heel pops in time with the song he hand picks on a silver resonator. He has his mouth on a mic, his eyes on his hands, his voice going out to the world.  For a couple of moments, he is the sole representative of Louisiana blues to listeners throughout the world, singing of the devil and hitting harmonic accents.  Before his on air time is up, he personally thanks the studio for what they do.  Problem Child reads the pledge line phone number again. You never know who is just tuning in.  

 

Wendell Brunious plays the Traditional Jazz Show

 

Eddie Bo’s baby grand sits in the corner of the performance room, a gift from the piano giant’s family after his death in 2009.  Even though it is a cultural artifact, it is not a museum piece.  It might get dusted from time to time, but it’s never been sent downstairs to the men with latex gloves for painstaking restoration. It doesn’t stand on quiet display behind a stanchion explained by a plaque. You can not only breathe on it, you can sit on its bench and run your fingers over its edges where the black lacquer has worn away from use and action.  

 

It is there not only to be played on but composed on, improvised on, included.  It is the bearer of recitals and renditions, hesitant trial notes and final fortissimos.  The instrument’s voice did not cease with its owner’s.  It has a chance, now and for as long as is necessary, to enchant and entertain so long as there are people willing to approach it and keep it dry, safe, and in tune.  

 

There is a reason that piano fits right in at WWOZ.  

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Erin Rose
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Contributors

Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde

Photographers


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor

Alexis Manrodt

Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

B. E. Mintz

Editor Emeritus

Stephen Babcock

Published Daily