POSTED Thu. Apr 24, 2014

Creative Culture

An art for all festival seasons.
Kat Stromquist
Written by KAT STROMQUIST
SHARE

Four days before its opening at the Fair Grounds, Jazz Fest still looks like a traveling circus that got to town a week too early. Security is non-existent. Orange-vested men grumble into walkie-talkies, bumping across the throughway on forklifts and golf carts. Mysterious white tents stand empty, waiting to be packed with thousands of sweaty, sunburned fest-goers in straw hats and Hawaiian shirts.

By the time I find Nan Parati in this ghost town, I’m hot, dirty, and seem to have developed a mild heat rash. But Parati, an affable, middle-aged blonde woman with a crinkly smile, seems completely unperturbed.

“There are two kinds of people in the world—festival people and non-festival people,” she says. “I’m a festival person.”

Parati is the co-coordinator of the Jazz Fest art department. She takes me on a quick tour of the grounds to show me her work: she’s helped create the festival’s signage, artwork and backdrops of the festival for the past 30 years. Working with a staff of more than 20 people, she pencils out the iconic brush-stroke lettering that advertises crawfish beignets and strawberry lemonade, on signs topped with miniature paintings of the facades of Uptown houses. At the Jazz and Heritage Stage, she points out one of her signature backdrops: a stylized horn player on a dark green field.

“We try to keep [the art] Louisiana-based, because it’s the Louisiana Heritage Fair as well, so that it’s representive of Louisiana and New Orleans,” she says. “I think a lot of festivals go with more sponsor-driven [decorations]; [producer Quint Davis] is more about the art. It’s not just for the sponsors, it’s for the festival-goer.”

Though she moved to Massachusetts after Katrina, Parati stayed involved with the fest. Preparations for the following year’s event begin almost immediately after the close of the current year’s, but Parati’s job kicks into high gear in January, when art direction begins in earnest.

Along with design, her team handles restoration—the chicken-on-a-stick sculpture we pass is the same chicken that hung there last year, with the appropriate maintenance and updates. When new sponsors for the fest come on board, Parati’s team works with them and the festival’s producers to work out designs that still fit in with the kicky aesthetic. (She tells me they like to “keep the festival festive,” which, as a mission statement, seems surprisingly straightforward and effective.)

For this year, Parati partnered with Dirty Coast creative director Blake Haney to feature the casual loops, points and curlicues of Parati’s lettering on one of the company’s NOLA-centric t-shirts. The festival will also sell a black and gold Jazz Fest shirt with a similar design. Her style is known and beloved by festival-goers nationwide, even by visitors to the restaurant she owns in small-town Massachusetts.

“People love the signs; they call me year-round and ask me to do signs for them,” she says. “Sometimes people come in [to my restaurant], look around at the signs and say, ‘Does somebody here work at Jazz Fest?’”

POSTED Dec 14, 2018

Atmosphere

Breaking Down the Best New Orleans & Louisiana Holiday Music

Breaking Down the Best New Orleans & Louisiana Holiday Music

Hey, the weather outside is kind of frightful! About as frightful as it gets down here anyways (also, note that next week temperatures will be back in the…....
CONTINUE

Written by ADAM KARLIN
POSTED May 10, 2017

Creative Culture

Carnival Redux at the New Orleans Museum of Art

Carnival Redux at the New Orleans Museum of Art

On May 12 the New Orleans Museum of Art will fling open its doors for Masquerade: Late Night at NOMA, a costume party replete with float builders, mask-makers,…....
CONTINUE

Written by DAVID JOHNSON
POSTED Dec 23, 2016

Atmosphere

Some Holiday Music for the Weekend

Some Holiday Music for the Weekend

Happy holidays, y’all. We hope you find plenty to occupy you during this busy Christmas weekend, but if you find yourself having a small, quiet moment, or just…....
CONTINUE

Written by ADAM KARLIN
POSTED Dec 21, 2016

Creative Culture

A Native New Orleanian's Retrospective at NOMA

A Native New Orleanian's Retrospective at NOMA

Imagine doing something you love for seventy years. Many people aren’t lucky enough to live that long, much less put their heart and soul into their passion projects…....
CONTINUE

Written by FRITZ ESKER
PAGE

    Our Local Publisher Partners

    • The Arts Council of New Orleans
    • WWNO
    • WWOZ
    • PRC
    • NOMA
    • The Historic New Orleans Collection
    • Southern Food
    • Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
    The Arts Council of New Orleans

    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.

    WWNO

    WWNO, the NPR member station for New Orleans, serves southeast Louisiana and parts of southwest Mississippi by broadcasting balanced news, thought provoking analysis, classical music, jazz and other musical styles, intelligent entertainment, and unique local content. We broadcast on 89.9 FM, and KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area as a public service of the University of New Orleans. All of WWNO’s programs, including its growing local news coverage, are available online at WWNO.org.

    WWOZ

    WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.

    PRC

    Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.

    NOMA

    As a nexus for the arts in New Orleans, NOMA is committed to preserving, interpreting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.

    The Historic New Orleans Collection

    The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

    Southern Food

    The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

    Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.

    X

    Thanks.

    was added to your favorites.

    VIEW YOUR PROFILE

     


    Share On Twitter Share On Facebook