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Second Annual Treme Fall Festival and Inaugural Bear Creek Bayou Festival

26th September 2016   ·   0 Comments

By Geraldine Wyckoff
Contrubiting writer

The 175-year old St. Augustine Catholic Church, a historic place of worship in the Sixth Ward that has long been vital to the spirit of community, no longer looks like it’s crying. The rust marks that resembled tears streaming down the white building from the decorative iron work high above have been wiped away and the front of the church now gleams with a fresh coat of paint. The wrought iron, the source of the “teardrops,” has been revitalized as well. The funds to accomplish the task were procured by the Historic Faubourg Treme Association through donations and money raised at last year’s inaugural Treme Fall Festival. There is, of course, a lot more work to be done on such an old structure – on-going really – so it’s time to strike up the bands again at the second edition of this family- and neighborhood-friendly event to be held along Henriette Delille Street that runs in front of the church. This year’s Treme Fall Festival is being held Saturday, October 1 and Sunday, October 2.

Drummer and bandleader Benny Jones, who is being honored by the fest, might not be 175 years old, though in the present era, he’s legendary and core to the community as well. He grew up in the Treme, ran with the Dirty Dozen Kazoo Band, the predecessor to the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, on Mardi Gras Day and importantly heads the Treme Brass Band that carries on the traditional sounds of the streets.



“I call him the last of the Sixth Ward,” declares saxophonist Roger Lewis who met Jones in 1976 and stands as the longest-term member of the Treme Brass Band. “Last” may be a slight exaggeration considering the pockets of long-term denizens of the Treme, who enjoy recalling all the old clubs, friends, and unbelievably often know, who was married to who, where they lived, who their children and grandchildren are. Jones is part of the Treme collective memory that keeps the neighborhood vital.

On to the music…. Being the man of hour at the festival, Jones gets to take a bit of a break making his only appearance sitting in with the TBC (To Be Continued) Brass Band at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

“Ain’t nothin’ I can’t do,” says Jones about playing the hotter brass band style performed by the younger members of TBC. “They play more up tempo but there’s nothin’ I can’t get by with.”

Jones’ contributions to music and the Treme community and beyond, will also be acknowledged with a presentation at 4 p.m., following a set by the Treme All-Stars a group that lives up to its name. It includes such notorious Treme musicians and characters as trumpeters/vocalists Kermit Ruffins and James Andrews plus the “Mayor of the Treme,” drummer and vocalist Shannon Powell.

Saturday’s focus is on the styles of music that have echoed for decades throughout the Treme. Clarinetist and vocalist Doreen Ketchens opens the festival at 11 a.m., making a too rare appearance outside of her regular spot in on Royal and St. Peter streets. Best known for exuberantly blowing in the traditional, New Orleans style, Ketchens is certainly recognized in the area having attended Joseph A. Craig Elementary School and Kennedy High School.

Naturally, trombonist and vocalist Glen David Andrews will be “in the house” or more accurately on the street, giving his usual all being at 4:15 p.m.. The groove gets smoother and more sophisticated when Mike “Soul Man” Baptiste hits at 5 p.m. with the energetic and always colorful Tank and the Bangas taking it out beginning at 6:15 p.m.

Sunday is church day at St. Augustine that offers its now renowned jazz mass starting at 10 a.m. followed by a reception in the adjoining hall.

Good music, good times and good food is what the Treme has always been about. The Treme Fall Fest delivers all of that while celebrating and supporting the everlasting beauty and importance of the St. Augustine Catholic Church.

Bear Creek Bayou Festival Makes Its Debut in New Orleans

Okay, the name of this inaugural event, the Bear Creek Bayou Festival, sounds, well, somewhat silly now that it’s moved from its longtime home in Florida. It also doesn’t reflect its totally funkified line-up and state of mind. The “Bayou” was added to the name apparently to indicate the change of locale but that didn’t help much since it’s being presented on the east bank of the Mississippi River at Mardi Gras World on Friday, October 20 and Saturday, October 1.

With that said and done, the line-up of artists at the fest definitely screams a New Orleans back beat, the funkiness that continues to be, thanks to the Meters, identified with the city’s sound. Carrying on that attitude is keyboardist and vocalist Ivan Neville and his so aptly named band, Dumpstaphunk, that performs both Friday and Saturday. One of its members, bassist/vocalist Tony Hall will get things going at noon on Friday leading his own band at one of the venue’s three stages.

Musicians from New Orleans and Brooklyn, New York have been mixing things up a lot of late and often head to each others’ turf – or stages – to throw down. The New York guys with a passion for funk, soul and old school also intermingle in bands like Lettuce and Soulive. Funk Family might just be a better name for this festival that boasts a godfather of the genre, the incredulous George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic taking off at 8:30 p.m.

It sounds like a blast.

For more information and the full schedule go to

This article originally published in the September 26, 2016 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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