features

John Boutte.
robbiesaurus / Flickr via MusicInsideOut.org

John Boutté is hard to intimidate. He may be the only guy who has ever told Stevie Wonder that his singing was flat. Boutté’s observation, during a chance encounter with Wonder, changed his life for good. What’s more, it made our lives better.

For more than 20 years, Boutté has built a career writing and performing his own songs, as well as re-interpreting the signature work of others. This week, Boutté tells Music Inside Out how he got so good at finding lyrics to suit his voice, his tenderness, his outrage and his legendary sass.

McIlhenny Company Archives, Avery Island, La

You know how you can walk into a mainstream clothing or household store, like Urban Outfitters, H&M, Pier One, and find indigenous designs printed across anything from a rug to a tank top? Well this is the hyperlocal origin story of how native aesthetics entered into non-native markets.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

When you are down on your luck in Louisiana, dental care can be hard to come by. Medicare doesn’t cover it for adults, so many low-income people have to rely on volunteer dentists and special clinics that often have long waitlists. In Covington, the Food Bank has made helping these people a priority.

The Food Bank provides food for those in need, but they also have a thrift store, an emergency assistance center and a dental clinic. They call these their “core ministries,” and hope the services target the community’s primary needs.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

The first day of the United Nations international climate talks has wrapped up at the Conference Of the Parties, or COP21, in Paris. As world leaders try to reach an agreement to limit global warming and stave off climate change, Louisiana has a lot at stake.

Deacon John.
Music Inside Out

Deacon John’s mother wanted him to be a singer, but she hated rock ‘n roll.

Oh well. Mrs. Moore’s little boy picked up a guitar, and it wasn’t long before rock ‘n roll came tumbling out.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Anointed Hands Boxing Gym on Pontchartrain Drive in Slidell is a modest facility, filled with loud music and kids. It is kind of like a community center — the coach taught a group of kids how to hit the boxing bags while others played on gym equipment and parents joked at the front desk.
 

 It is not necessarily what you would expect at a boxing gym. That could be because the owners, Dupre and Shedee Strickland, aim to do more than offer training for aspiring boxers — they want to help.

This week, the 77-year-old New Orleans songwriter, producer and arranger Allen Toussaint died after a concert in Madrid. For most of his career, Toussaint preferred working behind the scenes, but our friend Gwen Thompkins met him at a time when he'd thrown himself into performing extensively around the world. Before they parted ways for what would be the last time, Toussaint gave Thompkins a gift: a demo recording of a song he never got to release, but said he wanted the world to hear.

The brass-band sound is a proud tradition of New Orleans. But over the years, those horns have evolved to embrace a broader repertoire, full of funk and jazz and even a little hip-hop — and the sounds have migrated well beyond Louisiana. Take NO BS! Brass Band, whose core members met at Virgina Commonwealth University and proudly claim Richmond, Va. as their home base.

The port plans to add rubber-tire gantry cranes like these to add to their container marshalling yard in an effort to increase container handling and turn times.
Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Business is good for the Port of New Orleans. Cargo shipping is up about 20 percent this year from last. Because the Port is an independent public entity, not run by the city or state, it can take that extra money and invest it right back into operations. There are currently more than $40 million worth of improvements underway as a result.

The Mechanical Curator Collection / The British Library

This story is part of TriPod: New Orleans at 300. Tripod moves beyond the familiar themes of New Orleans history to focus on forgotten, neglected, or surprising pieces of the city's past to help us better understand present and future challenges. 

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