Wordless Wednesday: Swoon


Photo credit: Charlotte Hamrick New Orleans, 2011

LadyFest New Orleans’ 3rd Year


LadyFest New Orleans is a non-profit music, spoken word and arts festival organized by local women to showcase, celebrate and encourage activism through the arts for and by New Orleans women. It also serves as a benefit for local organizations that support women.

The festival runs for five days at five different venues. It will begin on Wed., Nov. 4, 6 pm at St. Anna’s Episcopal Church, 1313 Esplanade, New Orleans, with a Homily by Deacon Joyce Jackson, the first and only black woman Episcopal deacon in New Orleans. This will be followed by gospel music from Tonia Scott and the Anointed Voices who were the featured choir in “Skeleton Key”. The Queen Clarinet of Louisiana, Doreen Ketchens, will close out the evening with lots of hot music from Doreen’s Jazz New Orleans.

The festival moves to Snug Harbor on Thur., Nov 5 with two shows 8 and 10 pm at Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, 626 Frenchmen, featuring Cindy Scott, Leah Chase, Megan Swartz on piano, Cori Waters on drums and Cassandra Falconer on bass.

On Friday, Nov. 6, Sweet Lorraine’s, 1931 St. Claude is the place to be with Charmaine Neville, David & Roselyn, Estelle Compagne on flute, GaBrilla Ballard, Lynn Drury & the Pfister sisters accompanied by Amassa Miller on Piano, Cori Waters on drums and Cassandra Falconer on bass.
Poet Valentine Pierce will be reading from her work also.

Sat, Nov. 7th the show moves to the Marigny Theatre, 1030 Marigny at St. Claude to enjoy blues with Beth Trepagnier, hear Gina Forsyth, dynamite on guitar or fiddle, and be amazed by Kayne Reznick‘s lusty irreverent folk songs, Lindsay Mendez performing music from her new CD, Olivia Greene bringing a fresh slant to jazz accompanied by Cori, Cassandra and Estelle. Then Some Like It Hot tears up the evening.

Sun., Nov. 8th, LadyFest New Orleans 2009 has its final performance at the Ashe’ Cultural Arts Center 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., from 11 am to 6 pm with 30 X 90, Dixie Rose, Hazel and the Delta Ramblers, Kelcy Mae, Margie Perez, Olga and Troi Bechet with Mimi Geste on Piano, Cori Waters on Drums, Cassandra Falconer on Bass and Estelle Campagne on Flute.

For more info, including some great photos, visit LadyFest New Orleans.org

Elizabeth Catlett’s Satchmo

“Art can’t be the exclusive domain of the [elite]. It belongs to everyone.”
~~~Elizabeth Catlett

Satchmo Fest is in full swing this week-end here in New Orleans, an annual festival celebrating the life and music of our native son. Volumes have been written about Louis Armstrong’s musical legacy and how it changed the world. A cursory google search brings up many, many articles about him, his music and his life. This post is not about Satchmo but about Elizabeth Catlett, the African-American female artist who sculpted the 10 foot bronze image of Louis that dominates Louis Armstrong Park which opened in 1980 on the sacred land known as Congo Square.

Photo by Infrogmation.

Elizabeth was born in 1919 in Washington, D.C. and graduated from college in 1937 with a B.A. degree from Howard University. In 1940 she earned the first master of fine arts degree in sculpture from the University of Iowa. That fall she accepted a teaching position at Dillard University here in New Orleans where she worked to advance the civil rights of African-Americans when she bussed her students to Dillard Museum (now The New Orleans Museum of Art) to view a Picasso exhibit. The museum itself wasn’t closed to African-Americans but was located in a city park where blacks were not allowed. Such an endeavor in 1940’s America was bold but in keeping with her life-long fight for equal rights for African-Americans.

Elizabeth’s art has focused primarily on the black woman’s experience and the mother and child theme has become her hallmark in sculpture and print. She’s dedicated to public art and is passionate about the accessibility of art to students and minorities as is personified in the Louis Armstrong sculpture.

Elizabeth Catlett is a woman we can all admire, not only for her amazing artistic talent, but also for forging the path of public art for all.


Elizabeth Catlett: In the Image of the People
Elizabeth Catlett: dean of women artists – Black- and Mexican-influenced art
Elizabeth Catlett: legendary artist is still creating and living life on her own terms