interviews

New Orleans' mayor: Storm's crux was levee failure

Aug 17, 2015
Kai Ryssdal

In just a few years, the city of New Orleans will celebrate its 300th birthday. As the celebration approaches, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu wants New Orleanians to strive not just for a rebuild, but for progress.

“I want them to think about building the city for the future and not just getting back to where we were before Katrina hit,” Landrieu says.  

Jon Cleary's songwriting is pure New Orleans. The pianist and singer has absorbed every last bit of sound from the Mississippi delta. But here's the thing: Cleary was born and raised in England.

Dr. Michael White
Derek Bridges / Flickr via MusicInsideOut.org

What do you hear when he plays his clarinet?

Can you hear the bayou? The river? The French Quarter? People sitting on their stoops waiting for someone to deliver the news? Penny parties?

That’s not a clarinet in the doctor’s hands; it’s a time machine.

“I listened to Johnny Dodds’ recordings. I listened to Sidney Bechet. I listened to George Lewis. I listened to Edmond Hall. I listened to Omer Simeon, Barney Bigard, and so many others. And you listen to that and you say, ‘Wow, I would like to capture that feeling.'”

A. J. Croce
Shelby Duncan / MusicInsideOut.org

It’s easy to tease out the artists who’ve inspired A.J. Croce’s singing over the years — Ray Charles, Paul McCartney*, Buddy Holly, even Ray Davies of The Kinks. He loves early rock n roll and R&B. So perhaps it’s ironic that A.J. rarely sounds like his father, singer-songwriter Jim Croce, who made his mark on music in the late 1960s and early 70s.

With nine albums to his credit and more than 20 years as a touring musician, A.J. Croce is his own man, performing his own music. And a devoted fan base has shown its appreciation for the genre-busting of the younger Croce.

As the 10th anniversary of Katrina approaches, many reporters are looking at post storm progress through the lens of New Orleans' education system. Two recent articles in particular caught WWNO education reporter Mallory Falk's eye. Falk spoke to Danielle Dreilinger of NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune and Emmanuel Felton, a staff writer for The Hechinger Report, about their recent looks into discipline and corruption in New Orleans schools.

StoryCorps

StoryCorps is an oral history project based on the idea that the stories of everyday people are the most important and interesting of all. This week, Kyle Williams talks about “one of the most mortifying moments that anyone can have in their high school career.”

Sweet Crude. l to r Jonathan Arceneaux, Jack Craft, Alexis Marceaux, Marion Tortorich, Stephen MacDonald, Sam Craft, Skyler Stroup.
Zack Smith

Onstage, they don’t look like a traditional rock ‘n roll band. Sure, the seven members of Sweet Crude are kinda young and kinda scrawny and their clothes suggest a GAP-meets-Garanimals flare.

But they carry no guitars. Five of them play percussion. And yes, there’s a glockenspiel in the mix.

Sweet Crude sounds different too. They produce a sophisticated mixture of rhythm, classical strings, and musical theater that’s highly danceable and even educational. That’s because the band sings in English and Louisiana French – a language they’re learning on the job.

David Simon.
American Library Association via Music Inside Out

For most of his working life, David Simon has been telling an epic story of the American city — one corner at a time. First on the pages of The Baltimore Sun, then in the books Homicide: Life on the Killing Streets and The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood.

But it was on television that David Simon found his biggest and most devoted audience. NBC’s Homicide: Life on the Street and HBO’s The Corner and The Wire presented crime and punishment in an entirely new way. Detectives and criminals became extraordinarily ordinary people.

Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina ushered in massive change to New Orleans' education system. What lessons have we learned since then? Today the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans (ERA) kicks off a conference trying to answer that question. ERA's director, Douglas Harris, sat down with WWNO's Mallory Falk to discuss how the conference - and his organization - came about.

Support for education reporting on WWNO comes from Baptist Community Ministries and Entergy Corporation.

Jason Marsalis
Music Inside Out

As a child, Jason Marsalis watched old television shows as much for the music as for anything the characters were doing onscreen.

“I became a big fan of reruns of the tv show, The Monkees,” he tells Gwen. “My father thought it was just hilarious that I was into this. But when I look back on it, that was music from the 1960s.”

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