NEW ORLEANS — People United for Armstrong Park launched its free concert series Jazz in the Park a year ago, partly to celebrate the park’s reopening after Katrina — something the group had pushed to make happen — and partly to ensure that it will be a hub of the city’s cultural economy, Vice President Ben Harwood said.
Jazz in the Park, which begins its third season of Thursday concerts next month, is certainly bringing people to the Tremé park. The turnout is typically 2,000 to 3,000 people, Harwood said. Kirk Coco of NOLA Brewing Co., lead sponsor of the concert series, described the crowds as a good representation of New Orleans’ diversity, with tourists from the French Quarter, Tremé residents and music lovers who flock there from other parts of the city.
Jazz in the Park runs from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., and offers a farmers’ market, crafts and vendors selling prepared food and beer and cocktails as well as live music.
The inaugural spring series of concerts was followed by another in the fall, and Harwood said that there will be a summer series as well, although those events will start later in the day to avoid the worst of the heat.
People United for Armstrong Park announced the spring lineup Wednesday morning, under vivid blue skies as the New Skool Brass Band provided music in front the park’s arched front gate.
Emanuel Lain Jr., the group’s president, said the idea of the concerts was to bring music back to a place that has an importance to the city’s culture. That’s how people do things in New Orleans, he said.
“We get together, form a group and make things better in the city,” Lain said.
To that end, People United for Armstrong Park has received a grant from NOLA For Life, a city initiative to curb murders, to train at-risk youth in music production.
Flow Tribe and James Andrews will perform in the first concert on April 18. Performers for the final concert, on June 13, have yet to be announced. The rest of the lineup is:
- April 25 — Shannon Powell’s All-Star Band and Glen David Andrews
- May 2 — Brass-A-Holics and Kermit Ruffins
- May 9 — Meschiya Lake & the Little Big Horns
- May 16 — The Blues Masters featuring Big Al Carson and Big Chief Bo Dollis & the Wild Magnolias
- May 23 — Hot 8 Brass Band and Donald Harrison & the Congo Square Nation
- May 30 — Colin Lake and George Porter Jr. & Bill Summers
- June 6 — Mike Soulman Baptiste and Joe Krown Trio featuring Russell Batiste & Walter “Wolfman’’ Washington.