May 082017

“The Spider Queen” cast rehearse the opening sequence of the original play written by James Bartelle and Alex Martinez Wallace (Claire Byun).

By Claire Byun

It’s a world of druids, of ogres, of a rebellious teenager on a mission to clear her father’s name. A world of political strife mixed with a missing amulet, giant birds that age in reverse and a dying queen to rule them all.

“The Spider Queen,” an original play produced and performed by the NOLA Project, opens Wednesday as the seventh production in the New Orleans Museum of Art’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden. Continue reading »

May 052017

McDonogh 35 Gospel Choir energizes the crowd gathered under the Gospel Tent at Jazz Fest on Thursday (Claire Byun).

By Claire Byun

A slew of local schools showed off their skills to crowds at Jazz Fest on Thursday, ranging from Gospel choirs to circus acrobatics. Through the chilly wind and dark clouds, students wowed crowds with their talent and athleticism.

Performances from other schools are scheduled throughout the remainder of Jazz Fest. You can check the full festival schedule online. Continue reading »

May 042017

If you’re heading out to Jazz Fest today (Thursday), make sure to catch one of the many local schools performing throughout the fairgrounds.

First up, the Eleanor McMain Singing Mustangs take the Gospel Tent at 11:20 a.m. The secondary school’s Gospel choir consists of approximately 55 students in the 9th through 12th grade and has performed at Jazz Fest for the last six years. Continue reading »

May 032017

Friends of the Boogaloo held a crawfish boil for GiveNOLA Day to benefit the free fest. Crawfish was boiled by George from Mid-City Yacht Club (Claire Byun/cbyun@nolamessenger.com).

By Claire Byun

Bayou Boogaloo organizers are readying for the 12th annual festival, though they’re still ironing out a few details – including a lease with the city.

Unlike past years, the city is seeking $20,000 from the Mothership Foundation – which produces the free fest – to use the land around Bayou St. John for the weekend. Instead, organizers have proposed a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the city that dedicates $5,000 per year toward tree upkeep and litter abatement along the Bayou. Jared Zeller, president of Mothership Foundation, was on hand Tuesday evening to answer questions about the festival to members of the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association. Continue reading »

Apr 252017

Celebrate the roots of New Orleans’ culture and heritage with a free program honoring International Jazz Day.

The New Orleans Recreation Development Commission event will exhibit the fundamental language of jazz and its rhythms, featuring the sounds of the Preservation Hall All-Stars, an ensemble comprised of legendary, traditional jazz masters that have toured internationally for over 50 years. Continue reading »

Apr 182017

A still from “Death of Louis XIV” (Via the New Orleans Film Society).

C’est la vie… at least for a week in New Orleans.

The 20th annual French Film Festival kickstarts Friday with 14 new feature length films, including Frantz, Personal Shopper and My Life as a Zucchini. One lucky filmmaker will also be awarded a $32,500 #CreateLouisiana French Culture Film Grant; the grant recipient will screen the film created with this funding at the 2018 French Film Festival. Continue reading »

Apr 112017

Bayou St. John outlined in red.

By Claire Byun

Cassie Pruyn, local author, is writing a narrative history of Bayou St. John. The book – which will be published by History Press in New Orleans – is scheduled to come out later this year.

Pruyn is still looking to interview people who are important to the area, or who have lived in the neighborhood for years, for the book. Continue reading »

Mar 312017

Several Mid-City artists and ensembles are hitting the stage for the 2017 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Xanier University’s Jazz Ensemble will hit the stage Saturday, April 29 at 11:30 a.m. The ensemble, which will play on the Lagniappe Stage, has toured the United States and South American countries while being recognized annually for its work toward preserving jazz.

Keeping with the educational performances, the McDonogh #35 High School gospel choir is slated to perform Thursday, May 4. The group’s innovation year after year make it a crowd favorite among Gospel lovers and those who appreciate fine choreography, and the ensemble’s biography on the Jazz Fest’s website touts the group’s charm. Continue reading »

Mar 302017

The New Orleans Recreation Development Commission wants your photos of nature from all around the city – and the first place winner will win a new LG 360 CAM Spherical Camera.

The contest, which runs through April 15, is open to everyone. Participants can submit up to three photos taken in Orleans Parish of nature: wildlife, plants, natural landscapes, people enjoying the outdoors, or any photo in which nature is the central theme. Continue reading »