Thursday, August 26, 2010

No music left on North Rampart Street

Got the following email last weekend:

Hi everyone,
Just a note to let you know that Charlie and I have decided to close Donna's
permanently. We have had a good run on Rampart St but it is time to move on. We
will never forget all the good times and the people who passed through our doors
to listen to the best musicians in New Orleans and to eat Charlie's good food.

Charlie is doing great. He is busy writing a cook book and re-inventing himself
as an author! :) I, of course, am still "Miss Dr. P" to my science students and
I enjoy every minute of it.

Please feel free to contact us via this email address. I will most certainly
keep the website active for a while until we know that our customers "across the
pond" and elsewhere in the world know that Charlie will not be "holding court"
any longer in Donna's kitchen! :)

Donna and Charlie
Donna's Bar & Grill ...where great food and live music come together under one
roof! Live Local Music & Dinner~ Thursday,Friday, Saturday, Sunday nights
800 N. Rampart Street, New Orleans, LA 70116 504-596-6914

Donna's closing finishes off what was once a great music scene on North Rampart Street. It was the first place I saw a waist-high Trombone Shorty, and the first place where I tasted Abita Purple Haze, which I had a brief, intense addiction to. I remember a moving night when Bob French brought up a young lady to sing. She was in the National Guard and was shipping out the next day for a tour in Iraq. There were several great nights listening to Tom McDermott etc. etc. Now Donna's has gone the way of the Funky Butt, where our house god Samantha came from as a palm-sized kitten in 1999. Got to write about the Funky Butt again in the recent cover story on Anders Osborne for OffBeat because his fruitful partnership with Monk Boudreaux began there. The city planners have been trying to drive music off of North Rampart for years. Now they've succeeded. They're not happy, though. Now they're going after live music in the streets too. They won't be satisfied until the only music left in New Orleans is at tourist festivals, convention parties and Bourbon Street. Except not on Bourbon Street itself. I call them the Blues Meanies. Stop asking for our votes if you're going to steal our music!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Herman Leonard passes

Here's the Times-Picayune piece:

Herman Leonard, photographer of jazz greats, dies
Published: Sunday, August 15, 2010, 10:27 AM
Dennis Persica, The Times-Picayune

Herman Leonard, a photographer who created some of the most famous images of
Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington and other jazz greats, died
Friday at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Mr. Leonard, 87, lived in
New Orleans until Hurricane Katrina struck and destroyed much of his

Mr. Leonard was best known for his smoky, backlit portraits of jazz artists
in New York, Paris and London, many of which graced the covers of numerous
jazz albums. He was born and raised in Allentown, Pa. When he was 9, he
became enthralled with photography when he saw an image being developed in
his brother's darkroom.

He attended Ohio University in Athens, which offered a degree in
photography. He left college to serve with the Army from 1943 to 1945,
serving with the 13th Mountain Medical Battalion as an anesthetist. He
returned to college after the war and graduated in 1947.

Mr. Leonard apprenticed under the master portrait photographer, Yousuf
Karsh. After a year, Karsh encouraged Leonard to break out on his own.

In 1948, he moved to New York and became involved with the jazz scene there,
making agreements with club owners to photograph rehearsals in exchange for
photographs for their marquees. Mr. Leonard said his aim was "to create a
visual diary of what I heard, to make people see the way the music sounded."

Quincy Jones, the musician and composer, once said that Mr. Leonard's images
"are documents of historic significance, cataloguing the development of one
of the greatest art forms in American history..."

"When people think of Jazz, their mental picture is likely one of Herman's."

Subjects of Mr. Leonard's photographs include Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett,
Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie.

In 1980, Mr. Leonard moved to the island of Ibiza, where he remained until
1987. In 1985 he released his first book, "The Eye of Jazz." In 1988, the
first exhibition of Leonard's jazz photographs was held in London. His first
U.S. show premiered the next year.

Mr. Leonard moved to New Orleans in 1992, immersing himself in the city's
jazz scene. He released his second book, "Jazz Memories," in 1995.

Mr. Leonard's home and studio were damaged in Hurricane Katrina and his
archive of over 8,000 prints were lost in the flood. Fortunately, his
negatives had been housed at The Ogden Museum of Southern Art and escaped

Mr. Leonard moved to Los Angeles and rebuilt his life and business there.

© 2010 All rights reserved.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Night of Treme

“A Night of Treme” to Benefit Make It Right Foundation

August 13, 2010, New Orleans – HBO, Geffen Records, House of Blues and Make It Right are excited to announce “A Night of Treme,” a benefit show featuring the artists and music from the highly-acclaimed HBO series Treme. House of Blues in New Orleans will host the concert on the eve of the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Saturday, August 28 at 8:00pm.

Tickets go on sale through Ticketmaster on Friday, August 13. All of the proceeds from the ticket sales go to benefit Make It Right’s work rebuilding safe, sustainable and affordable homes for working families in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward. In addition to the general admission ticket, guests can purchase a VIP ticket, which includes admission to the show and the after-party at House of Blues’ restaurant and Voodoo Garden. The after-party will include food, open-bar and special appearances by beloved New Orleans’ artists and luminaries.

"Make It Right has had a singular impact on addressing the housing needs of New Orleans after Katrina, particularly in the 9th Ward. The cast and crew of Treme are proud to be doing whatever we can to assist in those efforts," states Treme creator and executive producer David Simon.

“A Night of Treme” will feature a range of musicians identified with New Orleans’ music tradition. These include John Boutte whose “Treme Song” is the series’ theme as well as Lloyd Price, Kermit Ruffins, Coco Robicheaux, Paul Sanchez, Doreen Ketchens, James Andrews, Jon Cleary, Irma Thomas, Rebirth Brass Band, Guardians of the Flame Mardi Gras Indians as well as some special guests. A number of these artists have appeared in the HBO Series Treme and will be heard on the Treme Soundtrack album coming from Geffen Records this fall. Also releasing are exclusive musical video performances from various artists in the HBO series.

“House of Blues is proud to support Make It Right in their effort to rebuild homes in the Lower 9th Ward and all the musicians and artists who have made Treme the success that it is,” said Sonny Schneidau of House of Blues in New Orleans.