Julie DeVita tells how she learned about New Orleans parading culture and her experiences performing with the marching group Gris Gris Strut. DeVita compares the non-interactive parades from her home of New York City to the participatory and collaborative parading traditions of New Orleans. From her perspective as a new member of Gris Gris Strut, DeVita gives visceral first-person descriptions of parade performance. Chris Nicotera—musican, teacher, and long-time member of Gris Gris Strut—tells DeVita about the history and customs of independent New Orleans krewes and marching groups.
Drew Fink is a jazz saxophonist who moved to New Orleans from his hometown of Greenville, South Carolina to study music at the University of New Orleans. Fink describes the social challenges of his transition from homeschooling to the Fine Arts Center, a performing arts high school in Greenville and sister institution to the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. Fink discusses how he learned the social dynamics of the New Orleans scene and improvisational performance. Fink interviews his mentor Brent Rose, a professor of Music Theory and Jazz History at University of New Orleans since 2002. Rose discusses his musical influences, the dynamics of the New Orleans jazz scene, and his relationship with other musicians.
Niya Zulu and her family are key figures in the New Orleans marching and parading culture. Niya’s father, Shaka Zulu, is Chief of the Yellow Pocahontas Tribe. He and Ziya’s mother Na’imah Zulu run the Golden Feather Mardi Gras Indian gallery and restaurant. At a young age Niya began touring with her family’s performing arts groups, learning the stilt dancing tradition, and photographing Mardi Gras Indian parades. Niya’s grandfather, Zohar Israel, is the second Chief of Northside Bone Gang, and she interviewed him to learn more about his masking experiences. Israel discusses Mardi Gras Indian traditions and songs, the origins of the Northside Skull and Bone Gang, the politics of urban space in Tremé, and the preservation of parading culture.
Julia Hines writes about her life in the Seventh Ward neighborhood of New Orleans. Her mother, Jamell Hines, has lived in the Seventh Ward for over 25 years, and she describes the demographic and physical transformations happening in the neighborhood. Julia identifies community gathering places and events in the Seventh Ward such as bar rooms, halls, local businesses, public parks, and Super Sunday. Julia and Jamell unpack the causes and implications of gentrification and neighborhood crime.
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