POSTED Fri. May 24, 2013
Slipping into summer
Rex Gregory
Written by REX GREGORY

Local musician Rex Gregory, on summer, slowness and staying in the city.

The Monday after Jazzfest (the N.O. Jazz and Heritage Festival) has to be the holiest day of the year for New Orleans musicians. We have been the tireless provider for what amounts to the city’s second Mardi Gras for a solid two weeks. Really, though, one should take that all the way back to French Quarter Fest and call it a solid month of pure, unfettered artistic output.

Monday after Jazzfest is the Sabbath, Day of the Dead, Labor Day, and Ash Wednesday all rolled up into one. To address any other questions related to this topic, and for an inside look on how I myself spent that day, see exhibit A (above).

Now then: we arrive to the long summer months that supersedes spring festival time. The heat bears down on the city, and all of a sudden the population of transients that inhabit our city is whittled down to the brave, the committed, and/or the ignorant.

The city slows down and feasts on a smaller diet of its own lifeblood. It’s almost a kind of hibernation. We’re in limbo, waiting for the waves to take us up again. Saints season is roughly when it starts, which steamrolls into Halloween and the end of hurricane season, like coins in the slot for another year of life as we know it.

But one must arrive there first, somehow.

This is when one finds their character in New Orleans, year after year. You might leave for the summer; maybe you’re on tour, or vacationing. That’s totally understandable. You catch some sights, hear some sounds, and you bring it all back for trade during harvest season. You tell stories of your pleasant summer months spent abroad, like a summer camp of your own fabrication.

If you stay the summer, then you’re part of a period of shift and opportunity that the city presents to those conscious of its movement. People leave, vacating positions that open to others. Established musicians are on tour, which means a slough of nightclubs opening up to new acts. Some students stay, and some go home for the summer, and again, the space is there for the filling. What begins in June often reaches its apogee in April of the next year.

I strongly encourage everyone to do whatever their gut is telling them to do this summer. If that’s leave, then leave, and catch the next wave of New Orleans seasonal bliss when it comes around.

If it’s stay, then go out and be a part of the city. Try new things, new places, new experiences. Don’t lament the heat in the corner of the room closest to the air conditioner. Now is a time of opportunity, of openness and space. Use it!


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    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, 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


    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.


    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.


    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.



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