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By Joseph Dempsey twopics

Sunday, April 13, 2008

One picture cannot plumb the depths of this story. So you get two. This lively band is belting out Dixieland with unfettered fervor. The rhythm is frenetic, the tune is classic, and the band has their New Orleans Bourbon Street crowd in the palm of their hands. Toes are tapping, hands are clapping, and the air is filled with electricity.

However, the band members appear to be emulating the great stone face.

It's that way with serious practitioners. The trombonist and trumpeter seem to be nearly immobile while the clarinetist is "taking his ride," accompanied by the drummer, bassist and pianist. I can but surmise that once the music starts, a mystic glue materializes, permeating the minds, bodies, and souls of the musicians. It moulds the group into a cybernetic state of togetherness that puts all other earthly systems to shame.

We can see the musicians, and as earth people, we rejoice as we hear the results. But we are on the outside looking in. Mind you, this is not a complaint, for nary a soul can argue with the results. The music is moving people. Two in particular.


Strolling down Bourbon Street is a couple who sniff the glue oozing from the musicians. They step into an unoccupied section of the street and begin some world-class jitterbugging to the electricity generated by the band. Their movements are quick, smooth, and well practiced. Their muscles ripple as they twirl, kick, and connect to the music. Their movements are a blurring frenzy of bodies in concert with each other and the music. Now the crowd is bordering on berserk. People are grinning from ear to ear. In this micro-corner of the world, there is no strife, no pestilence, no untoward spirits.

The band builds to its fourfold amen, the dancers tune their movements, and the crowd bursts forth with tumultuous applause. Then, the band, back on earth, joins the crowd with ear-to-ear grins.

This microcosm of joy was part and parcel of the twenty-fifth French-Quarter Festival in New Orleans 2008. The festival started as an event to draw local New Orleans people to the French Quarter for some fun.

Since then, its popularity has grown exponentially. It was reported that there was not an empty hotel room anywhere near the French Quarter this weekend past, proving to this observer that there is still great value in fun. And in particular, good ol' dirt under the fingernails, git on down, New Orleans fun.

N O T E S:  
Band: Nikon D200 / AF-S Nikkor 18-70mm f3.5-4.5 G ED.
Dancers: Nikon D200 / AF Nikkor 80-200 mm f2.8 D.
Both hand held.

Click the jump wings
to see the previous Photo of the Week. . . .

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