IN THE SWING
For a patriotic New Orleans Fourth of July, it was hard to beat the National World War II Museum. With a menu of special concerts and celebrations in honor of our nation’s birthday, the museum was a fitting choice for many locals and visitors to commemorate the occasion.
It was also the perfect time for the museum to kick off one of their most popular summertime activities, the “Sunday Swing” concerts.
Each Sunday through Aug. 25, with the exception of Aug. 11, the World War II Museum relives the 1930s and the big band era by featuring a different band in one of best dance venues in the city, the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion. It doesn’t require much imagination to envision what such a dance must have been like back then, with bandleaders like Glenn Miller or Tommy Dorsey at the helm.
While I spied quite a few couples on the dance floor who had those memories, most couples were just learning their swing moves thanks to the help of the museum’s dance instructor.
Both the lessons and the music are free and open to the public. For the dance-shy, there are plenty of seats to enjoy the floor show from a safe distance.
However be forewarned: I observed many toe-tappers in the audience who found it hard not to move to those wonderful big band tunes.
According to Alan Raphael, the museum’s marketing manager, the swing concerts began after Katrina as a means to bring the locals back.
Years later, the popular music series continues to attract largely a local crowd.
Recently selected by Trip Advisor as the seventh most popular museum attraction in the country and among the top 20 in the world, the National WWII Museum continues to grow and evolve with new exhibitions and interactive experiences that help us understand our nation’s military history while honoring those who have proudly served.
“Eighty percent of museum visitors are not local,” said Raphael. “Our goal is to continue to capture at least 10 percent of the 8 to 10 million visitors that travel to New Orleans annually. It still is surprising to learn how many of our visitors were not aware of the museum beforehand. Our marketing strategy is squarely aimed at capturing that visitor immediately upon arrival through more visible signage and direct outreach to area concierges.”
For locals, the National WWII Museum remains one of our city’s finest resources. When was your last visit? If you can’t remember, it’s been too long.
For information on The National WWII Museum and its many activities, please visit www.nationalww2museum.org.
Don’t forget to check out the next Sunday Swing on July 14 when Lionel Ferbos and the Louisiana Shakers will have you tearing it up on the dance floor.
La Vie de Ville captures city life New Orleans style every Thursday in The Advocate New Orleans’ Community News Section. Please email information on your upcoming event to firstname.lastname@example.org.