Natese Dockery, a twenty-year old Xavier Student from Ohio walked into Congo Square to experience the culture of the Crescent City. Around her, people danced to the rhythm, while eating and drinking with joyfully. With all of the action, Dockery took out her phone and Snapchatted her New Orleans adventure.
March 18 -19, Congo Square held the New World Rhythms Festival, celebrating the music that creates the New Orleans Culture. Jazz, African Drums, and Brass Bands heard throughout the French Quarter, drew in crowds.
Dockery said she recorded the festival because the entertainment was intriguing. “I wanted everyone to see the people dancing and bands playing because it is liberating,” Dockery said. “My father in Ohio wishes that he could join the fun, so I document it for him.”
Along with the music, there was an arts market, with entrepreneurs selling jewelry, art, and incents. Food vendors from across the city served the traditional New Orleans Cuisine. Café Dauphine prepared Fries, Catfish, Smoky Chicken Pastas, Lizaradi Rolls, and Fleur-De-Lis Sweet Potato Pies. Co-owner of Café Dauphine, Tia Henry said, “Business has been picking up since the festival begin. Both days have been simply wonderful.”
The festival held the “Class Got Brass” Competition, a school Brass Band tournament, featuring high schools across Louisiana. The reigning school from the competition was Landry-Walker High School, located in Algiers, La. The “Chosen Ones” Brass Band walked away with $10,000. Wilbert Rawlins, Jr. the Band’s director, said that they would use the money to buy more instruments for their students. He wants the music tradition to continue for these students. “Hopefully you see now here the next Hot 8 Brass Bands or Rebirth Brass Bands.” Rawlins said. “All of these guys will grow up and have a skill that is going to take them through the rest of their life. They will preserve our culture.”
The members of the brass band were also grateful that they won the completion. “This is our first time doing this. So I mean, we never had a feeling like this before,” Rodney Lewis, a student from Walker-Landry said, “Our band director, he came over and said that Edna Karr had first place, but when they said our name, our whole spirit just changed. It really is a good feeling.”
The Rebirth Brass Band took the stage for the festival’s finale. The crowd sang along to “Casanova” and showed their fast foot work. Chadrick Honore, member of Rebirth Brass Band congratulated the schools involved in the competition. However, he had a little bit of advice for the musicians. “Growing artists, continue to practice, practice, practice.” Honore said.