Tuesday, March 31, 2015

McConaughey: 'What a big, beautiful mess'

During the New Orleans Film Society gala, actor Matthew McConaughey stated his feelings in a speech about New Orleans:
"I said this years ago. A friend of mine asked, 'What is New Orleans like?' I said New Orleans is like a giant, flashing yellow light. Proceed with caution...but proceed. it is not an overly ambitious place, and that's being complimentary. It has a great identity, and, therefore, it doesn't look outside itself for intrigue, evolution or labels of progress. People here are proud of their home. You're proud of your Crescent City. You know your flavor. You know it's your very own. And if people want to come taste it with you, you welcome them with open arms. But you do not solicit."
"The hours trickle by here.Tuesday and Saturday are more similar here than any other place I've ever been. The seasons slide into one another without any status quo. Yes, it is the Big Easy, home of the shortest hangover on the planet, where libation can greet you on Monday morning with the same smile as it did on Saturday night." 
"OK, (it's) home of the front porch. I don't know if y'all recognize this: It's home of the front porch. Not the back porch. Everyone everywhere else has back porches. The back porch is something different. The front porch is an engineering feat that lends itself to the sense of so much community around here and fellowship. Private property and lines of demarcation all land across borders. Here, you relax facing the street. You do not retreat into the seclusion and privacy of your backyard. No, you engage with the goings-on of the world that is in front of you. It's a great engineering feat that you've pulled off here. It really is."
"What's my alarm here? My alarm here is church bells, sirens and a slow-moving, $8-an-hour carpenter nailing windowpanes two doors down. That's a good alarm. Do not honk your horn in a traffic jam here."
"You do not sweat the misdemeanors, and, since everybody's getting away with something, the rest of us just want to be on the side of who's getting away with it. And if you CAN get away with it, good for you. You love to gamble. Rules are made to be broken, so do not preach about abiding. And, hey, if (they) don't get away with it, you're probably gonna let them slide anyway."
"Where else do the dead rest eye to eye with the living? New Orleans is a right-brained city. Do not come to town wearing your morals on your sleeve unless you want to get your arm burned. Yes, it's oil and vinegar, but somehow they mix. The poverty, the humidity, they both gracefully suppress all the rationale. And if you're crossing a one-way street, it is best to look both ways."
"Mother Nature rules around here. We all know that. (She's) the natural law queen who reigns supreme. She's a science to the animals, yet she's an overbearing and inconsiderate b--- to us bipedal humans. But here, you forgive her, and you forgive her quickly. You have to. You know any disdain for her wrath is going to reap more wrath, more bad luck, more voodoo and more karma, so you roll with it...actually you meander rather slowly forward, taking it in stride and never sweating the details."
"See, the art is in the overgrowth here. Mother Nature wears the crown around here. Her royalty rules. And unlike in England, she has both influence and power. And, like the most authentic European cities, you guys don't use vacuum cleaners to give structure to anything, you use brooms. You use rakes to manicure, because everything here lends it soft edges."
"Where it falls is often where it lays, the swerve around the pothole, the duck beneath the branch, the poverty, the murder rate, all of it is just how it is and how it came to be. Just like a good gumbo, the medley is in the mix."
"Thank you, New Orleans; thank you, Louisiana. Cheers." 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Sanchez Center to reopen in Lower 9th Ward

2015 King Zulu, Andrew P. Sanchez. Jr.
By Lauren Laborde, myneworleans.com
When I pull up to the pale yellow Zulu Headquarters on Broad Street and before I even exit my car, Andrew P. Sanchez Jr. is holding the door of the club wide open for me, his matching yellow blazer and black-and-yellow striped bowtie gleaming in the sun. It is quickly apparent that the 2015 Zulu King has a gregarious personality and likes to make the people around him feel comfortable.

Sanchez’s father is the late Andrew Pete Sanchez, who served as property management director under former Mayor Moon Landrieu and was one of the first blacks to be appointed to lead a city department. A community center in the Lower 9th Ward was named after him, but it was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina’s floods. It is scheduled to reopen soon. Sanchez Jr. currently wears many hats; has worked in sales, marketing and consulting in several capacities; and still champions the revitalization of the 9th Ward.

Like many past Zulu Kings and members, being involved in the organization runs in the family. Sanchez Sr., besides being Zulu’s Big Shot in 1977, served as the club’s Chairman of Carnival Activities, as Sanchez Jr. has for the past 10 years of his 18-year involvement with Zulu. Other family members involved in Zulu includes siblings, cousins, daughters, nieces and uncles. Besides his role of Chairman of Carnival Activities, Sanchez Jr. seems to have served in virtually every other capacity of the organization. Being King seems a natural progression for him.
Q: What are some of the Zulu traditions you most look forward to?

One of my favorites is watching the King be saluted on Mardi Gras morning by the Soulful Warriors. It’s a tradition that a lot of the members don’t get to participate in because they’re getting ready for the parade that morning, but it’s a tradition that’s very beautiful. To see the King get ready to get into the limo and come out to the parade on Mardi Gras morning and to see the Soulful Warriors salute the King, I think that’s a big tribute and a quiet highlight in the Mardi Gras season.
Q: And what are your favorite Carnival traditions in general?

My campaign theme (while running for King) was “saluting all that is Carnival.” I chose the theme because there are traditions that take place in Zulu that are very exciting. We begin our Mardi Gras season with a church service, where we come together and have a lot of sincerity about being blessed to go through the Mardi Gras season safely. From there we have the Queen’s arrival, and there’s a tradition when we receive the Queen and officially announce the Queen of that year. And that evening it culminates with the King and Queen party. That’s where we more or less introduce the organization to the King and Queen and to society, because our friends and family are guests at this event. From there we … have different parties and events and the members come out and pay tribute to our characters. When you look back on Ash Wednesday, it seems like a blur.

I think about all the people who have helped make the Zulu organization what it is. … we are right now a revitalized organization. Since Katrina, our organization average age is anywhere between 35 to maybe 55, whereas before Katrina we were an older club. So when I look at having an election theme saluting all that’s Carnival … I look at how over the years we’ve transformed Mardi Gras into this beautiful time of the year. Normally everyone’s excited about the holidays, but in New Orleans we’re almost happy to get the holiday season over so we can get into Mardi Gras – such as with Zulu.

It’s really been, for me, an exciting time. When you’ve had a chance to work with the organization and all of these guys on the wall [the Zulu club walls feature photos of past Kings] I’ve assisted and prepared them to be King. And now I get a chance to stand with them.
Q: Growing up as a child in New Orleans, what are your memories of Carnival?

When I reflect back on being a child, my dad, Andrew P. Sanchez Sr., served as Zulu’s Chairman of Carnival Activities. I always looked forward to when my dad went to the ball; I used to always love to see my dad get dressed up in a tuxedo. Then the time came for me to attend the ball.

As a child we always went to the parades; we’d get a chance to see Bacchus, Endymion. As a child your eyes light up and you’re jumping around for all those throws and at the end of the day you think, now what am I gonna do with all this stuff? But it’s the excitement, it’s the fun, it’s the thrill. When I reflect back on all the years I’ve been here in this beautiful city I’m excited, because I’ve enjoyed it ever since being a child.

Age: 56 Profession: Project manager and consultant Born/raised/resides: Lower 9th Ward Education:Alfred Lawless High School, John McDonogh 35 High School, Southern University Favorite Band: Earth Wind and Fire Favorite Restaurant: Acme Oyster House in Metairie Food: Seafood Book: Harry Potter series

True confession

I love to swim. I don’t get to swim as much as I’d like to, but the Andrew P. Sanchez Multi-Purpose Center is about to re-open and it will have a pool, and I’ll really get back into swimming.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Post Katrina Christmas reminiscence

By Bruce Fleury 

Christmas came as a big surprise this year. The usual onslaught of catalogs never appeared. Just a few strands of colored lights dot the town. The only Christmas card I've received is from the self-storage unit where my surviving possessions are stashed. Gone also are the long lines of my hopeful students, waiting to see if they were naughty or nice on their final exams. Life has changed.

My holiday reminder lately has been the cheerful little dog on the Dogpile Web page. When the doggie donned a pilgrim hat, we knew it was Thanksgiving, and we broke out the frozen turkey dinner. When I saw him sporting a big scarf and winter hat, I knew it was the season to be jolly.

But I'll admit being jolly is a real stretch this year.

If only we could rewind the tape to last Christmas, when we were standing in the street, our heads tilted back in disbelief as we watched snowflakes tumble from the sky, wrapping our neighborhoods in a Currier and Ives cloak. But fate had different plans.

This holiday season, instead of making cookies and wrapping presents, we've spent our time standing or sitting one the phone, arguing with insurance adjusters, bankers, Realtors and service reps, trying to get back all the things we took for granted, like fresh water, electric lights, cable TV, hot showers and home cooking. All of our energy is spent picking up the pieces of our shattered lives.

Normally, this time of year is full of excited calls from friends and loved ones. But for a while I stopped looking forward to calls from the folks I care about. The simple question "how are you?" would force me to relive the whole nightmare in my head, a low-budget science fiction film with my respirator serving in lieu of Darth Vader's helmet. There were moments when I felt like I had been sucked into a computer game like Doom or Half Life, when I was crawling through the moldy wreckage of my flooded Broadmoor home with my flashlight, keeping a weather eye out for zombies. That's the price you pay for being a survivor
As I tell the people who aren't here: It's as if you were nearly finished working on a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle, a tranquil scene of pastoral family bliss. You left for a moment to answer the door, and returned to discover that some thoughtless stranger had swept the puzzle to the floor. Then the dog rolled around on the pieces, dragging the box away when he trotted off. Then the cat threw up on what remained. 

Now you are left with a wet, sticky, stinking mess, coated with stuff you don't even want to touch. Nonetheless you grit your teeth and pick up as many pieces as you can find, carefully cleaning each one as you go, regretting those you cannot save. How will you ever find the strength to put it all back together? And you don't even have the picture on the box to guide you. 

But all is not lost, though it might seem that way to many of us this Christmas. For me at least, the most important pieces of our puzzle have survived. We were able to sneak past the National Guard in a daring pre-dawn raid and rescue our stranded pets. And despite the roller coaster ride of hope and despair, I'm still happily married (at least as of this morning).

My teenage son will soon be back from his evacuation exile in northern New York, having learned what a white Christmas is really all about. Hopefully his French-Canadian lumberjack genes stood him in good stead. And we will soon be moving into our new home, leaving our tiny refugee condo perched high over St. Charles Avenue (you see, dear, I told you that if you stuck with me you'd end up on the Avenue!)

Things will never be the same, but we soldier on, because that is ultimately what life is all about. We put the pieces back together as best we can. We shake off the holiday blues and give thanks for what we have, even if it is not what we are used to.

We are grateful for all our good friends and relations, who helped us back from the brink. And we take comfort this holiday season in witnessing the true meaning of Christmas -- the spirit of giving, the importance of family and the rebirth of hope. 
. . . . . . . 
Bruce E. Fleury is a professor of biology at Tulane University. His e-mail address is bfleury@tulane.edu.

Originally published in the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Dec. 25, 2005

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Danny Barker's protégés kept trad jazz alive


Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane University
By Katy Reckdahl, New Orleans Advocate
Without Danny Barker, today’s New Orleans soundtrack would sound dramatically different.
In 1970, Barker, a seasoned jazz musician who had played in New York with jazz greats like Cab Calloway, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Benny Carter and Jelly Roll Morton, came home to start a youth band that is credited with almost single-handedly reviving traditional New Orleans jazz.
For his group, the Fairview Baptist Church Christian Band, Barker recruited New Orleans teenagers who — like teens across America — had turned their attention to rock ’n’ roll and R&B. Over the next few decades, he convinced dozens of young people that brass band music was both cool and worth preserving.
Now, 44 years later, Barker is considered a savior of one of the city’s most prized traditions, and the Fairview band is seen as an essential part of the city’s jazz history, having created a strong core of young players to carry on the tradition.
Fairview’s original members went on to form the Hurricane and Dirty Dozen brass bands, which inspired the Rebirth, New Birth, Lil Rascals, Soul Rebels, Hot 8 and more.
Other original members, now in their 50s and early 60s, lead their own jazz ensembles. Altogether, the group’s alumni command key stages at every New Orleans music festival.
Later this week, Barker’s students and admirers will host a forum and two concerts to raise money for the first Danny Barker Festival, which will kick off in January, on what would have been his 105th birthday.
The event will give Barker’s students a chance to emphasize that traditional jazz would have withered without their mentor and that the city’s vaunted second-line parades would have few bands blowing along with them.
“Brass bands were run by a bunch of old men, and they were dying and no one was trying to keep that tradition going,” said Fairview member Harry Sterling, the longtime guitarist for Big Al Carson, another Fairview alumnus. “So if Danny Barker hadn’t kept the tradition alive, there would be no Hot 8. No Algiers Brass Band or Soul Rebels. No Pinettes.”
Barker filled out his band’s ranks with church members, cousins, musicians’ kin and children from his 7th Ward neighborhood, including trumpeter Leroy Jones, then 12, who began hosting weekly rehearsals at his family’s garage on St. Denis Street, a few blocks from Barker’s house.
At its peak, the band had 30 members who would sometimes split up into three different bands to play three different gigs, Jones said.
“We can measure Danny Barker’s gift by the musicians that came out of that band,” said Fred Johnson, who was spurred by Barker’s traditional funeral procession to help form the Black Men of Labor, a social aid and pleasure club that makes a point of hiring traditional brass bands for its annual parades.
Even young musicians who weren’t formally Barker’s students were influenced by him. Trumpeter Kermit Ruffins recalled Barker driving his big Pontiac “real slow” through the streets of Treme and stopping to talk about music with him.
Rebirth snare drummer Derrick Tabb formed his Roots of Music marching band program partly because he saw the effect of Barker’s Fairview band. He has fond memories of Barker pulling over, especially if he saw young musicians at work. “He was always willing to teach, show or just have a laugh with you,” Tabb recalled.

Rescued from the water

After floodwaters deluged Barker’s Sere Street home in 2005, friends retrieved dozens of sodden boxes and gave them to the curators of the Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane University, who were able to salvage much of it: signature hats and shoes, letters, receipts, news clippings and countless longhand and typewritten manuscripts, edited and re-edited.
The collection’s contents reflect the Barker that his colleagues and students describe: a natural musician and writer. He published his own memoir, “A Life in Jazz,” and a book about African-American musicians called “Bourbon Street Black.”
His handwritten notes are everywhere: The back of a church bulletin or a scrap from an envelope might include a set list for an upcoming Fairview event and random to-do reminders — to get a strap for Puppy (one of the group’s drummers), return a contract for Saturday, buy cat food and check on the lawn mower.
Barker kept a pen handy and scraps of paper in his pockets and on the dashboard of his green 1972 Pontiac so that he could always scratch out a quick thought, said Jerry Barbarin Anderson, now 50, who was 6 years old when the band began and often tagged along with Barker after the Fairview rehearsals he attended with his grandfather, Charles Barbarin Sr., and teenage uncles, Lucien Barbarin and Charles Barbarin Jr.
Barker had grown up in the one of the city’s best-known musical families, the Barbarins, and he spent all his life watching musicians in clubs and the brass bands who ruled the streets, with names like Superior, Imperial and Olympia.
He described the bands to Peggy Scott LaBorde in a WYES-TV interview that’s also part of the Hogan archive: “All these bands were jazz bands: six, seven men without a piano, see, and you could move all over with it, and they had this raunchy, laid-back rhythm that they played. Not in no hurry, they weren’t infuriated to go nowhere. This was get-down music, see.”
Several decades later, that scene was in the hands of elderly men. Or so Barker observed in 1965, after moving back home with his wife, vocalist Blue Lu Barker, whose mother was ailing. They’d been gone for decades. In 1930, the couple had moved from New Orleans to New York, where Barker played banjo and guitar on stages all across the city.
Barker continued performing until his death; he had a standing gig at the Palm Court Jazz Café in the French Quarter. He also became an assistant curator of the New Orleans Jazz Museum, whose instruments and recordings are now part of the jazz collection at the Old U.S. Mint. After work, as he stepped outside the museum, he worried that the music he performed soon would live on only in historical exhibits.
In a handwritten essay in the Hogan Archive titled “The Fairview New Orleans Jazz Institute,” Barker described the band’s beginnings. “I had been wondering about the plight of New Orleans jazz, considered old and out of date — passé,” he wrote.
Part of the problem, he continued, was that the city’s brass-band musicians “rarely encouraged youngsters to join their ranks playing the street music, one of the most captivating, exciting scenes” for the “eyes, ears, feet — the heart.”
He formed the Fairview band with the Rev. Andrew Darby to “revive the interest” in jazz for musically inclined young people, he wrote.
Barker hadn’t set out to create a legacy for himself, said trumpeter Gregg Stafford, who was 17 when he joined Fairview. “But he knew he had to do something to keep the music going. He told me, ‘If you don’t teach the next generation and make them aware of their history and the history of their culture, it will be lost and someone else will be claiming it.’ ”

Jazz lessons

The first non-cousin recruited to the band was Leroy Jones, a diligent student who practiced every day in his garage in the 7th Ward. One afternoon, said Jones, now 56, a big Pontiac parked at the end of his driveway and out walked “the hippest old man” he’d ever seen. Barker introduced himself and asked if Jones wanted to be part of a band. Soon, Jones’ garage was part of jazz lore.
“It was exciting,” Jones recalled. “When we didn’t have rehearsal, I’d do my homework and practice for four or five hours. We’d get together and jam, and Blue Lu would fix us little snacks.”
The whole concept seemed so fresh and new, Jones said, noting that while Doc Paulin had some of his young sons playing in his band, a band made up entirely of teenagers was unheard of.
Barker decided that the idea of reading music might seem too intimidating to some children. So there was no sheet music at Fairview practices, said trombonist Lucien Barbarin, 58, who started out on snare drum with the Fairview. Barker kept it simple: He would teach them melodies by playing songs on the banjo or guitar or spinning records of Tuxedo or Olympia brass bands.
“Then we would follow by ear,” Barbarin said. Most would play the melody, and those who could improvise would provide harmonies and riffs beyond that.
First, they learned church hymns: “Down by the Riverside,” “A Closer Walk With Thee,” “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Then they learned more secular classics, including Paul Barbarin’s “Second-Line” and “Bourbon Street Parade,” written by Barker’s uncle.
Barker also taught stage presence.
Sterling remembers his lessons: “Be the best musician you can possibly be. Always be on time. Learn to be a sideman before you become a leader. Dress well. Always look good. Be kind to people all the time. Kill them with kindness, and they’ll respect you.”
In his way, Barker groomed the teenagers as they moved toward manhood. He also counseled them and kept them from delinquency.
He recruited Eddie Boh Paris to play sousaphone after Paris walked in front of him at a corner store and a shoplifted Hubig pie fell out of his waistband. Paris was unwilling at first, but Barker kept him in the band by threatening to tell his mother about what he’d witnessed.
The drummer Anderson, once a young hothead, remembers Barker working to cool him off: “If I got angry, he’d say, ‘Go practice.’ ”
For him, the lessons went far beyond the history and the art form. “I found what jazz can offer for musicians and people who love music: peace of mind,” he said. If not for Barker, he believes he would likely be in prison or in the grave. “Danny saved me,” he said.
Once the Fairview band hit the streets, it grew exponentially, Stafford said. Barker would tell inquiring parents when the band rehearsed and they’d drop off their children at Jones’ garage in ever larger numbers.
As they gigged, Barker also taught his charges how to read an audience. At an early event, Lucien Barbarin recalled asking Barker why people in the crowd didn’t seem to be enjoying themselves. Barker assured him that the crowd just needed to loosen up. “Wait until they get a couple of drinks in them,” he said. “They’ll listen, and they’ll think you’re great.”

Branching out

The Fairview band was a hit locally, and it played prestigious gigs at places like the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Within a few years, however, Barker began to hear complaints from fellow musicians that his popular children’s band was taking their jobs.
While Barker continued to work with younger children for years to come, he decided to cut the older kids loose rather than fight the musicians’ union. In 1974, Barker helped Jones establish the Hurricane Brass Band, dubbed as such because they “came up the street and blew like a storm,” Jones said.
Soon, Stafford would begin playing in Barker’s band, Danny Barker & the Jazz Hounds, which he did for about 15 years before Barker, in failing health, asked Stafford to carry on the name through his own band, Gregg Stafford & the Jazz Hounds.
But for most of the original band members, the break had come earlier, in 1974, when Stafford remembers Barker handing Jones a stack of business cards that said “Hurricane Brass Band” on them and saying, “You’re on your own now.”
They may have been on their own, they say, but they were following a track set for them by Barker, who kept New Orleans jazz young and swinging.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fresh produce returns to the French Market

Photo: Matthew Hinton, The New Orleans Advocate

By Ian McNulty, New Orleans Advocate
A riverfront location and access to overland portage routes made the site of the French Market a natural for trading and commerce among Louisiana’s native peoples long before it became the city’s first official public market in 1791. Today, market boosters say, a confluence of that long history and the modern appreciation for fresh and local foods recommends the site for a new weekly, year-round farmers market.
That market will debut Oct. 15, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and will continue each Wednesday thanks to a new partnership between the city-run French Market Corp. and Market Umbrella, the nonprofit group that operates three other editions of its Crescent City Farmers Market around town.
Leaders of both organizations on Wednesday outlined details of their new market-within-a-market plan, which will begin with more than two dozen vendors selling a mix of fresh produce and seafood, locally raised meats, bread, pasta, grab-and-go snacks and handmade pantry staples.
The farmers market will take shape in a covered, open-air pavilion area near the French Market’sbank of walk-up cafes and a small stage used for live music and cooking demonstrations.
Jon Smith, executive director of the French Market Corp., said the idea is to provide local residents and chefs with a new venue for fresh foods direct from their producers and to give out-of-towners more tastes of local flavors to enjoy on the spot, to buy for picnics or to take home as edible souvenirs.
“I can’t think of a better way to honor the history of this place than with an open-air market like this,” Smith said. “We want the market to be something that people will plan a visit around. We’re hoping to create a mini-festival atmosphere.”
The French Market hosted a weekly edition of the Crescent City Farmers Market from 2004 until Hurricane Katrina. That venture attracted far fewer vendors and shoppers than the other local farmers markets, but both partners in this new effort said they feel better equipped today to promote and develop the weekly market day.
“We know this is no small task, but we have done our homework,” said Kathryn Parker, executive director of Market Umbrella.
Over the summer, her staff conducted surveys at the French Market and nearby businesses, circulated an online survey, polled vendors at other markets and conducted a focus group with local chefs.
This feedback guided the mix of fresh and prepared foods the market planners sought to achieve during an open call for vendor applications last month. The research also led them to add new features, like free parking for vendors and market shoppers, plus a designated loading zone for chefs collecting large orders for their restaurants.
As with the other local farmers markets, vendors at this new site will accept payment from people using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the government assistance program commonly called food stamps.
“We’re ready. Now what we really need is the people of New Orleans to show our local food producers your support and reclaim your food heritage,” Parker said.
While perhaps best known today for souvenirs and other retail items sold at its flea market area, the French Market was once an essential part of the city’s network of public markets.
The new farmers market plan is the latest in a series of efforts at the French Market to rekindle that legacy and update it for modern tastes and lifestyles. In June, the market revamped its annual Creole Tomato Festival with an expanded lineup of food and music. And last month its board approved a proposal from three well-known New Orleans purveyors of artisan foods — St. James Cheese Co.Bellegarde Bakery and the butcher shop Cleaver & Co. — to open a new eatery at the market. That concept, called Continental Provisions, is under development for an expected debut later this fall.
“I’ve been with the market since 2010, and we’ve seen such remarkable changes,” said Demetric Mercadel, president of the French Market’s board. “The addition of the farmers market, with all the delights it’s bringing, will be such a huge step forward for what we intended to do with the French Market.”
Some vendors on tap for the market’s Oct. 15 debut are familiar names from other locations of the Crescent City Farmers Market, like Pete & Clara’s Seafood and Monica’s Produce. Others are new to the New Orleans market circuit, like Feliciana’s Best Creamery, a dairy in Slaughter, and Iverstine Farms, of Kentwood, which will offer pasture-raised meats, including special-order turkeys for Thanksgiving.
Another market vendor, Bob Romero, owner of sugar producer Three Brothers Farm, in Vermilion Parish, predicted the French Market venue would be a good way to reach new customers.
“You need more than belts and sunglasses for sale when visitors come here. They want something local,” Romero said. “I imagine my cane syrup going back to California with someone. That’s a whole new market for us.”
Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter, @IanMcNultyNOLA.