Grant Alden- Some thoughts on the past, present, and future of New Orleans music. A beginning.
It is impossible to have any sustained interest in the music of North America without constantly tripping over seminal figures who came from, settled in, or drifted through the venerable port city of New Orleans. It has been as impossible this last month to turn on the television or read a newspaper or listen to the radio and not be transfixed by the damage done to the Crescent City, and to the entire Gulf region, by Hurricane Katrina (and then by Hurricane Rita).
There is a good chance that, by the time this magazine reaches your hands, the media will have tired of New Orleans, the politicians will have settled firmly into the business of assigning and deflecting blame, and the real estate developers will have drawn up an array of schemes to rebuild the city.
But we will never grow tired of the music and literature and art and food — in short, the culture — New Orleans has produced, nor can we ever fully pay our debt to the nurturing environment the city has long offered to those pursuing creative outlets. The degree to which the disaster was inflicted by nature and subsequently exacerbated by man may be worth examining, but it can’t alter the overwhelming sense of loss among those who called New Orleans home.
What follows is an attempt to talk about what has happened to the people who belong to that community, and to assess what the future might hold for them. For all of us.
For this job we asked two experienced journalists to do some very difficult work, and sought out three artists from the New Orleans area to write what they felt, what they’ve been through, what they knew. It isn’t the whole story. The whole story will take years to be told, and nobody will agree to its details.
But it’s a beginning.
Articles by Robert Doerschuk, Alex Rawls, Mary Gauthier, Peter Holsapple and Grayson Capps can all be found in the No Depression archives “A Place to Be” for New Orleans, LA.