POSTED Thu. Nov 6, 2014


Get Ready for the 1st Annual Brass Menagerie
Adam Karlin
Written by ADAM KARLIN

Brass Bands music is a distinctly New Orleans thing. Jazz was born here, but has long since outgrown its Louisiana roots and evolved into a worldwide commodity. The Blues were born further up the delta, but much of that music migrated north to Chicago, and outwards to the rest of world. Even New Orleans hip hop has gone global; when Big Freedia gets a reality show on Fuse, it can safely be said a genre invented in the city’s poorest wards is now a national phenomenon.

But brass music, despite the touring popularity of bands like Rebirth and the Treme Brass Band, still feels as local as a snowball on a summer’s day. In fact, I’d argue much of the touring success of the above bands stems from people seeing these acts as New Orleans music and New Orleans shows; brass bands always seem have that N.O. geographic adjective appended when they play outside of Louisiana. In contrast, someone like Katy Red is often promoted as simply a bounce artist, as opposed to New Orleans bounce artist.

For all that intensely local spirit, there hasn’t been an official day to celebrate New Orleans brass. Until now. On Saturday, WWOZ rings in the first annual Brass Menagerie and Brass Ball. Ten local brass bands accompanied by ten local marching krewes (including Chewbacchus. Nice!) will assemble at 6pm on 527 Elysian Fields Avenue (near Chartres). The parade will roll at 8pm through the French Quarter and the Marigny.

When the Brass Menagerie Parade ends, the Brass Ball party begins, around 9pm, at the Blue Nile. Admission is $15 in advance, and $20 at the door, and proceeds benefit WWOZ.

The full lineup of the Brass Menagerie has yet to be announced, but we do know about seven bands on the roster, including:

Stooges Brass Band
How good are the Stooges? In what may be a master stroke of cultural diplomacy, the State Department sent them overseas to tour in Pakistan and India. As you can see from the below, they like to work some hip-hop into their flow.

Lagniappe Brass Band
This seven piece band has some serious funk in their bones. The song A.P. Tureaud is a classic of the brass catalogue, and Laginappe’s below take is one of my favorite versions; when the horns kick in with that iconic riff at 1:48, I get shivers up my spine.

Pocket Aces Brass band
What I love about the Aces is that they always seem to be having fun. Their shows are an uninterrupted string of playful banter, audience participation and tongue in cheek jokes. And they can wail too, so credit.

Free Agents Brass Band
Sometimes, you know from the first bar of music that a band’s members are operating in incredible creative sync. Listen to The Free Agents’ ridiculously tight Fatboy below if you don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m also throwing in this video, which is more promotional than musical, because it’s just an excellent depiction of a Second Line.

New Breed Brass Band
The nine members of the New Breed have been playing together since high school, and it shows – again, this is a band where the members seem to finish each other’s sentences (or musical measures). The below video, by Deborah Cotton, one of the finest documentarians of New Orleans street culture, perfectly captures a quintessential New Orleans moment: the New Breed leading a Second Line of Baby Dolls and skeletons during Mardi Gras in the Treme.

Browncoat Brass Band
I’m guessing the Browncoats will march with Chewbacchus. That’s because they’re a science-fiction themed brass band, which may be the only time I ever type that sentence. The name derives from ‘browncoats,’ a political faction from the cult show Firefly; here’s the Browncoats playing the Firefly theme at the Chewbacchus parade. Keep Flying, guys.

Hot 8 Brass Band
The Hot 8 is one of the city’s best bands, period. They’re simply in a league of their own. I first heard the song New Orleans After The City on the show Treme, and I couldn’t stop listening to it for days. It’s one of the best 504 hometown pump up tracks you can find; at 2:04 it goes from catchy to totally infectious.

POSTED Jul 18, 2019

Creative Culture

August in New Orleans

August in New Orleans

New Orleans may be known as a party town, but locals work as hard here as they do in any city. Take a break from the routine with…....

Written by CREE MCCREE
POSTED Nov 27, 2018


Ready for Reveillon

Ready for Reveillon

Just like caroling on Jackson Square, the St. Louis Cathedral concerts, or bonfires on the levee, Reveillon dinners are a beloved Crescent City holiday tradition. This year a…....

POSTED Feb 28, 2018


Off To The (Wiener) Races...

Off To The (Wiener) Races...

We often stress on this site the unique nature of New Orleans. The one of a kind confluence of cultures, ethnic groups, immigration patterns and geographic conditions that…....

Written by ADAM KARLIN
POSTED Nov 30, 2017




Almost any identifiably New Orleans menu item has a corresponding festival, but up until recently, one of the city’s most iconic culinary treats was left without its own…....

Written by ADAM KARLIN

    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, 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.



    was added to your favorites.



    Share On Twitter Share On Facebook