Friday, May 18, 2007
8:00 p.m. midnight
Bourbon Vieux, Cajun Cabin and Five O'Clock Grille: 500 Bourbon Street
Cost: $30 per person. Attendees are welcome to purchase tickets for non-attendees who are at least 14 years old as of May 18, 2007.
In classic New Orleans tradition, on the legendary Bourbon Street, attendees can indulge in the essence of wizarding New Orleans: Cajun cuisine, the largest balcony on Bourbon Street and some of the world's best wizard rock! The combined venues of the Bourbon Vieux, the Cajun Cabin and the Five O'Clock Grille, home to many a Mardi Gras revel, will host conference-goers for one night only as Phoenix Rising brings wizard rock to the French Quarter and the wizard rockers bring down the house with their unique combination of popular music and Harry Potter. Our wizard rockers will include Draco and the Malfoys, The Parselmouths, The Remus Lupins and The Whomping Willows. Each $30 ticket comes with full Cajun-style buffet dinner, one drink ticket and wristband access to this private event on the famed Bourbon Street for a night of history, music, dancing and celebration.
Menu: Spring mix with Créole tomatoes, crumbled bleu cheese, pecans and raspberry walnut vinaigrette; chicken and andouille sausage gumbo; corn macque choux; red beans and rice with smoked ham and andouille sausage; muffuletta pasta salad; shrimp and crawfish étouffée; Cajun fried turkey with pistolettes; and pecan praline bread pudding with chantilly cream. Please note that the spring mix salad, the corn macque choux, the muffaletta pasta salad, and of course, the bread pudding are vegetarian. Cash bars will be available, in addition to the drink tickets.
Jazz was born of the sudden dispersion of freed slaves after the American Civil War. African-Americans set off from the South, looking for a new life, and carrying with them their musical traditions, including African, Caribbean and European melodies and rhythms. Jazz rose organically, both north and south of the Mason-Dixon line and spreading west, into a variety of sounds and rhythms. While St. Louis birthed ragtime and Memphis adopted the blues, New Orleans, with her own unique population, began not only the march of Dixieland, but the mean notes of Buddy Bolden and the curlicues of Jelly Roll Morton, finally giving way to the brilliance of Louis Armstrong.
By the late 1800s, the dichotomy of French New Orleans and American New Orleans had given way to a new division: whites and Créoles lived downriver of Canal Street, including in the Vieux Carré, and blacks lived upriver. Until this time, Créoles were the backbone of New Orleans musical community; they were trained musicians, and often gave lessons to blacks across Canal Street as freed slaves moved into the city. Things changed in 1894, however, with the amendment to the Black Code in the southern states, otherwise known as the Jim Crow laws.
Under the Jim Crow laws, even a drop of black blood classified a person as black. Créoles, also known as les gens de couleur libres, or "free people of color", had until this time been a powerful segment of New Orleans society. Said to own upwards of $15 million in New Orleans property at the time of the Civil War, Créoles were educated, bilingual and skilled in trades such as cigar-rolling and carpentry. As the Créoles were slowly forced into Uptown with the influx of former slaves migrating to the city, two musical traditions the embellishments of the Créoles and the raucous passion of the newly-freed slaves collided and merged.
Shortly after Jim Crow, New Orleans' lawmakers created the Storyville District, named after Alderman Sidney Story, confining the city's bordellos to one 38-square-block area, the only zone for legal prostitution in the country. Storyville, known to its residents as "the battlefield" for its quality of life, provided an incubator for jazz, not only in its brothels, but in its saloons and cabarets. Basin Street, its main thoroughfare, often rang with the cornet of King Buddy Bolden while Jazz Belles, the local prostitutes, hawked their wares.
Storyville flourished until 1917, when the city disbanded the district. By then, "jass", America's only truly indigenous music, had morphed and moved north to St. Louis and Chicago, and then east to New York. Buddy Bolden's notes could no longer be heard, as Jelly Roll Morton once said, from Basin Street to Lake Pontchartrain. Sidney Bechet's clarinet was silent in the City that Care Forgot, and even Jelly Roll himself moved north to conquer Chicago before being stabbed to death in Los Angeles.
The great New Orleans jazz tradition thrives, however, first with the new king of Louis Armstrong's trumpet, and today with the funeral second lines, the rowdy parades, the mean blues in Preservation Hall and Tipitina's, and the countless street performers who lend a unique rhythm to the daily life of the Crescent City.
Phoenix Rising's Storyville will revive and celebrate this great tradition and these incomparable musicians who graced the grim halls of Storyville. The blues will be played, the history will be celebrated, magic will be made, and until midnight, attendees can revel in the past of one of America's great cities.