Saturday, November 17, 2007

On the Highland Jazz and Blues Fest, the Blanc et Noir Marching Society and Shreveport

Dorothy McDonald, Charles Gerard and confreres of the Highland Jazz and Blues Festival know they have a cool thing on their hands. Highland is the city's most bike-riding and artistic area and the most diverse part of Shreveport. They've got a festival line-up that fills the pocket.

But they're not going to be mobbed. One day the Highland Fest will be the happening place to be for a few hours each year, but that's not likely to happen in 07. This fest has been building since 04. It is terribly, terribly young by Shreveport standards.

I know how they feel. When Jerry and Tarama Davenport and I inaugurated the Blanc et Noir Marching Society last year we felt like we had the tout le tout for Shreveport. We felt like Shreveporters might rush to join us in support of a second line brass band and the essence-of-Carnival spirit embodied in a marching krewe.

Unh un.

Shreveport has a wait-and-see syndrome. "Build it and they'll come" would not be the operative phrase here."Build it and they'll get interested in it just as you're about to close it down" is what I've observed.

Like the Highland fest organizers, the core group of Blanc et Noir is not going to give up.

In fact, we have a common interest today. The fest will kick off with a second line starring Daryl Williams and his red bass trombone. Williams leads the Red & Black Brass Band, the band associated with Blanc et Noir, though at this fest he is part of the Zillionaires.

Blanc et Noir appreciates the synergy. And wishes everyone success in getting involved in the pageant of the city.

The Blanc et Noir marches in the Krewe of Highland parade on Sun, Feb 3, 08.
Membership is $30.
The Columbia Park fest takes place from noon to 6 pm.


Unknown said...

I think it has to do with parking or rather walking.

The Highland parade route is a l-o-n-g one to march. I marched it once when Katee was performing with the Caddo Cuties. Columbia Park doesn't have a vast amount of parking. My point is we are a nation of people getting fatter and fatter. We don't like to walk. I don't say this as a hater, I'm a big gal struggling to get into healthier shape.

I think my point is proven with all the shops going up at 70th and Youree. The anti-mall is designed so you can drive to each store instead of parking in a big lot and walking up and down the mall. With the anti-mall you park in front of Target, go in, run out and move your car to the front of T.J. Maxx, run in and then drive over to Strawn's and go in and eat, then drive over to Kinko's get copies made and then drive to Kroger for groceries.

Looking back over the article that Maggie Martin did on Blanc et Noir
February 24 07 post) it looks like you've made it okay to have marchers march only part of the way. I think that's a good thing to emphasis until we can all get frothed into shape.

The one thing I emphasized on my downtown walking tours this summer was that it was only a mile at a slow easy pace and I still had folks asking if we walked the entire way.

P.S. Do you have a "rescue vehicle" for folks to climb aboard when they poop out? Also are dogs allowed? Dog owners may be a good group to go after since many of them are used to walking their pets at least 45 minutes a day. And looking at the photo gallery on The Times website it looks like Les Boutiques de Noel had a big turn out for their pet fashion show.

Pan's Pantry said...

The Festival picked up a great deal after you left, RT. As a vendor, I had a great day, and as a Highlander, it would've been great even without the fantastic sales.

I hope this festival keeps on going for a long time.

Anonymous said...

Hey Robert, this event has turned the corner, in my opinion. There were plenty of folks there, enough that if it doesn't have any more, that's just fine. I think you short-changed a great thing in your review. Maybe you didn't stay long enough to see the crowds, but they were definitely there!