Treme Creole Gumbo Festival offers tasteful experience

Michael Ossorguine, Staff Reporter

The varieties of exquisite family-style gumbo accompanied by troupes of talented brass bands infused Louis Armstrong Park with some of New Orleans’ signature spice and jazz last weekend at the 2015 Treme Creole Gumbo Festival, which made for a pleasant afternoon on a beautiful sunlit day.

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, which brings the city festivals such as its legendary Jazz Festival, hosted the event, now on its eighth year, with the promise of the finest brass band showcase that America has to offer. The old was blended with the new, as brass bands touting respected legacies shared the stage with bands new to the scene with a more up tempo and polished take on the genre.

The scenic park, located on the outskirts of the historical Treme neighborhood, was also filled with various merchants selling bits of New Orleans culture: voodoo dolls, jewelry, arts and crafts stations, and, of course, a whole lot of gumbo.

“The Treme Creole Gumbo Festival is our way of paying tribute to our ancestors and our cultural traditions — with great food, music and fun,” the Jazz and Heritage Foundation said in a promotional article on its website.

The foundation delivered on its goal with some energetic and lively acts that made the gumbo taste all the better.

The Fairview Baptist Church Brass Band, which is credited for starting a jazz renaissance in the 1970s, came on at 12:15 p.m. Sunday and was a crowd favorite, playing old hits that current leader, trombonist Lucien Barbarin, reminisced playing at New Orleans clubs in the early days of the bands history.

Immediately after, a comparatively newer band, with a more modern and aggressive sound took the stage. Magnetic Ear, known for its covers of rock bands such as Nirvana, and menacing horn sections infused with the classic jazz swing performed a great act that got everyone’s attention.

The all-inclusive and family-friendly atmosphere was a main theme of this festival, and people of all ages participated in the fun. Whether they were picnicking on the grass, getting autographs from band members, waiting in long lines for the 12 gumbo vendors, or dancing in front of the stage, there was no shortage of activities to keep festival-goers entertained.

The festival, which was held on Nov. 14 and 15, was a chance for locals and tourists alike to eat some tasty New Orleans cuisine while enjoying a great afternoon and early evening listening to some essential players in the musical history of New Orleans. The gumbo was as rich and varied as the melting-pot culture of this city, leaving everyone at the Treme Creole Gumbo Festival with a great taste in their mouths.

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