New Orleans music to highlight Fitts’ inauguration day

Regina LoBiondo, Staff Reporter

Tulane students are familiar with the phrase “Only at Tulane, Only in New Orleans,” and equally accustomed to second lines, beads and crawfish not only in the city itself, but on Tulane’s campus. New Orleans culture is understandably incorporated into most Tulane events, and Tulane Univeristy’s 15th Presidential Inauguration will be no exception.

President Michael Fitts will be inaugurated 2 p.m. Thursday in McAlister Auditorium, and, in true New Orleans fashion, local jazz will enliven the event.

“Tulane has this incredible — what I would characterize as symbiotic — relationship with New Orleans,” Vice President for Student Affairs Dusty Porter said. Porter has been involved with planning of Fitts’ inauguration for the past several months.

Porter said the Inauguration Planning Committee thought, “How do we make this event reflect the culture that we’re in in this amazing, one-of-a-kind city in America?” The answer lies in its legendary status as a city of music.

Dr. Michael White’s Original Liberty Jazz Band was the obvious choice to perform at the ceremony, according to Porter. The band has a history of playing events for Tulane and even performed at the inauguration of the university’s last president, Scott Cowen.

The culminating event of Thursday’s inauguration is a performance by Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, which the Inauguration Planning Committee booked almost a year ago.

“From the beginning it was, ‘we want to have Trombone Shorty,’ because of his history and legacy in New Orleans,” Porter said.

New Orleans native Troy Andrews, known as Trombone Shorty, grew up in Treme participating in brass band parades. At only six years old, Andrews became a bandleader. In 2002, Andrews released his first studio album “Trombone Shorty’s Swingin’ Gate” as Troy Andrews. It wasn’t until 2005 that Andrews adopted the name Trombone Shorty.

Andrews has established himself as an accomplished contemporary jazz musician beyond New Orleans. Andrews’ music is self-described as hard-edged funk.” He often uses elements from hip-hop and rock in the jazz tradition. He has worked with several notable musicians and producers, such as Lenny Kravitz and U2. He has performed on several television shows, including Late Night with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel Live. He has performed at the White House several times and at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.

Andrews also has a history of performing at Tulane. He performed “When the Saint’s Go Marching In” with Dr. Michael White’s Jazz Band at Tulane’s 2012 commencement, where he also received the President’s Medal from Scott Cowen for his charity work. Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue also performed at Tulane this past December in the “Tunes for Toys” free concert.

Students are also contributing to the musical celebration. Green Envy will sing the national anthem and Tulane’s alma mater. The Tulane University Jazz Band has also been invited to perform on the LBC quad, weather permitting, to add to the festivities. As the main event, and with regards to introducing the tenure of Tulane’s president, Trombone Shorty’s resume more than fits the bill.

The concert will be held at 8 p.m. in Devlin Fieldhouse.