NEW ORLEANS — Chef Emeril Lagasse and Wynton Marsalis kicked off the school year with a free, educational concert for more than 2,500 grade school children at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
Students attended from Orleans parish public schools, which included Ben Franklin Elementary, Mary McLeod Bethune, and charter schools from Orleans Parish and Algiers Charter School Association and parochial schools such as St. Michael’s Special School. Students cheered a cooking demonstration of Jivin’ Jambalaya with Marsalis on trumpet with his septet including Don Vappie on banjo.
Marsalis explained the origins and elements of jazz, while Lagasse described the basics of cooking this New Orleans favorite.
“There are many similarities in cooking and music,” said Lagasse, “These children, being from New Orleans, already feel it. Wynton and I wanted them to have a great fun experience to kick off the school year.”
The audience sang and clapped to famous tunes like “Down By the Riverside” while the Jivin’ Jambalaya sizzled on stage. The band played second-line music through the audience for a dramatic finish.
Emeril Lagasse Foundation, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Foundation and Celebrate Jazz LLC sponsored the event. Hotard Coaches Inc. President Jim Sedeski donated the entire fleet of coaches and bus drivers to transport schools to and from the event Monday. Almost all participating schools did not have their own transportation and would otherwise have been unable to attend.•
By CityBusiness staff report