On this current tour, there has been a very strong connection to New Orleans, both musically and spiritually.

Many of the arrangements and songs can find their homes in NOLA and our boss makes mention of our need for diligence in remembering how bad things still are down there. He mentions his personal drive through the destroyed neighborhoods and how he equates it with the greatest displacement of Americans since the dust-bowl days right before they play “My Oklahoma Home”. He also mentions how it is sacred ground for any musician, either the birthplace or the filter of most imported musics to become American music (jazz,blues, rock and roll, etc.) I think this reminder of the importance of NOLA while the cameras turn away from the sensational images of the initial destruction is important. No one is titillated or entertained by the frustration of negligence and bureaucracy; it makes bad TV I guess.

I have come across a documentary called “The Drive” that is attempting to share the scale and shameful slowness of the situation down there and some previews are available at YouTube. The video is produced by the New Orleans Video Access Center (NOVAC).

Perhaps we all need to be reminded how bad it is down there now or how wonderful and screwed up it was. It is a special, sacred place and the people who make it that way deserve to come home someday. We owe New Orleans a debt for its style, its music, its food, the way they make the weight of the air feel more like an expensive coat than a wet blanket and for the fact it it such a remarkable reminder of how when cultures and people combine, wonderful things happen.

In this short attention span lifestyle, it's important that we don't forget the things that got us here…

A trailer for “The Drive” can be found here:

We need to keep this situation in each other's minds until the government starts doing something about it. If it's a landgrab for developers, then it's all in a day's work for this administration. To think that an area 7 times the size of Manhattan is rendered useless and lifeless and nobody talks about it anymore is unthinkable. That's what I'm thinking about today.

   Also, if you get a chance to see the current Elvis Costello/Allen Toussaint tour, do it. The band and the music are wonderful; we had the pleasure of hearing so of it at the Jazz and Heritage Festival and all reports are that it has gotten better and better. I was lucky enough to see an interview with them on the Tavis Smiley show today. You can listen to it all here and also see some video footage.