Sunday, February 28, 2010
New Orleans has had lousy weather this winter but the spirit of the city has never been warmer. The sense of optimism and racial harmony following the Saints Super Bowl win and the election of a new mayor offers real hope after years of sorrow and frustration following the federal flood. People streamed into town after the Saints won just to stand in the street and screeeeeeam "Who Dat?" Second lines, which seemed endangered only a couple of years ago, are now going strong as the entire city seems to have taken to the streets. The Aints funeral march led by Glen David Andrews and the Baby Boyz Brass Band a week ago started at Tuba Fats park in Treme with a largely black second line and marched to d.b.a., picking up 10,000 white people along the way. The David Simon HBO series Treme will soon be airing and is likely to go a long way toward enhancing the city's image even further. French Quarter Fest and the Jazz and Heritage Festival both have great lineups, and some of the smaller festivals that dot the calendar are picking up support as tourists become aware of them as cheaper alternatives to the big festivals. Trombone Shorty has a new album that really captures the power of his outstanding Orleans Avenue band and has signed with Verve records. With a full tour schedule, Shorty will be one of the biggest stars of the year. Anders Osborne also has an outstanding record ready to come out on a major label, Alligator records. Music is one of the leading economic engines bringing New Orleans back. The city still faces a massive recovery to fix its schools, hospitals, housing and infrastructure, but there's a real sense that the tide has turned in this city's favor.