Music has always been integral to daily life in New Orleans, and its landmarks can blend into its neighborhoods. The history of the city’s music, and its outsized influence in popular music everywhere, can be traced to creole cottages, parlors, churches, and street corners as well as concert halls and auditoriums. Some are still active; others have been transformed or demolished. A Closer Walk highlights and contextualizes these sites, to advocate for their future, to celebrate their memory, and to honor the men and women who have shared their music with us.
The A Closer Walk (ACW) project and site is presented by WWOZ New Orleans and produced by five partners: Bent Media, e/Prime Media, the Ponderosa Stomp Foundation, Randy Fertel, and WWOZ. The site is edited by Jordan Hirsch.
WWOZ is a community radio station, internet broadcaster, and video producer with the mission to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans music and culture, and is owned by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation. Listener-supported and volunteer-programmed, WWOZ serves the New Orleans music and cultural community via promotion of its musical culture and heritage. Established in 1980 in a cramped space above Tipitina’s, the station moved to Armstrong Park in 1984. After Hurricane Katrina, ‘OZ moved to its current HQ in the French Market in 2005. From its beginning the station has been an early adopter of new media and today offers content online at wwoz.org, on the radio, through streaming video, in its station app, and via the LiveWire Music Calendar app. An extensive collection of live performance videos is available at www.wwoz.org
THE NEW ORLEANS JAZZ & HERITAGE FOUNDATION
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation is the nonprofit that owns the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell. The Foundation uses the proceeds from Jazz Fest, and other raised funds, for year-round programs in education, economic development and cultural enrichment. The Foundation also is the owner of radio station WWOZ, the Archive of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, and the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center. The Foundation’s many programs and events include the Don “Moose” Jamison Heritage School of Music, Community Partnership Grants, the Sync Up Conference, the Class Got Brass competition, the Catapult Fund entrepreneur boot camp, the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival, the Treme Creole Gumbo Festival, the Congo Square Rhythms Festival, the Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival, monthly free concerts, and much more. More information on the Foundation’s activities can be found here.
BENT MEDIA, INC.
Hi! We’re Bent. We help brands become more relevant, connected and successful. Digitally focused. Real world results.
An award-winning digital agency founded in innovation, Bent Media has worked with some of the world’s most beloved brands. We’ve also cultivated projects and clients that shout New Orleans, yet speak to the whole world.
Founded in 1992 by New Orleanian Brad Brewster, we’re homegrown ‘cultcha’ lovers who make a living bringing local and international brands to life online.
Bent Media’s experience and expertise helped design, develop, produce and manage A Closer Walk website from concept to completion, with additional support from the A Closer Walk partners.
Kevin McCaffrey is an award winning filmmaker, writer, editor, and oral historian. His interests primarily focus on culture, history, arts, culinary history, Louisiana cultures and the environment. He has created documentaries for broadcast television, clients, exhibits, and online and which have also been screened in several film festivals. His articles and columns have appeared in local and national magazines and newspapers and he produced a book on the history of the New Orleans Jazz Fest. He was a member of the Louisiana Folklife Commission and has been awarded grants and fellowships including a Monroe Fellowship at Tulane University studying Jazz history, Visiting Scholar at Newcomb College, and is a Fellow of the Loyola University Institute for Environmental Communication.
Randy Fertel, author of The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak: A New Orleans Family Memoir and A Taste for Chaos: The Art of Literary Improvisation, traces his paternal roots to South Rampart Street where his Great Aunt Nettie’s father-in-law Jake Fink sold Louis Armstrong his first cornet. He is founder of Artist Corps New Orleans which seeks to improve music education in NOLA, and is on the board of The Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona Heights, Queens NY.
THE PONDEROSA STOMP FOUNDATION
The Ponderosa Stomp Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in New Orleans in 2001. Our mission is to celebrate the legacy, revitalize the careers, and preserve the history of American music and musicians. Our signature event, the Ponderosa Stomp Festival, is a biennial celebration of the lost heroes and heroines of rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, blues, garage, soul, and rockabilly.
A Closer Walk would not have been possible without the support and contributions of many individuals, institutions and organizations.