Wanda Rouzan leads her own band, the “Taste of New Orleans,” but insiders know that the singer herself is more of a “Whole Meal.” Singer, actress, choreographer, grand marshal and educator, Wanda is the quintessential Big Easy performing artist. Her show business career spans nearly 50 years.
“See, as a child I grew up singing with my sisters, Barbara and Laura (The Rouzan Sisters),” Wanda says. “We’d be singing in the kitchen, on the front porch, anywhere anybody would listen. I was called Wanda Lee then or simply my nickname, Huckle-Buck. I used to sing and do the huckle-buck dance as well as eat huckle bucks (frozen cups), as many as I could as often as I could on a hot New Orleans day.”
In the video below, Wanda Rouzan talks to Edward Anderson about grand marshals, second lines and her role as a musical ambassador for New Orleans.
A note from the editor: New Orleans Jazz Legends series credit must be given my young “on the rise” film editor Seth Rodriguez. As a product of UNO film school, Seth’s work has awarded him recognition as one of the top students in his class. His youthful perspective and tenacious work ethic have helped me turn hours of talking head footage into this concise and hopefully enjoyable weekly series for NOLA Art House Music and NolaVie audieces.
Seth, 22, is from Lafayette Louisiana. He describes his upbringing as unique, as he is a child of mixed heritage from two distinctly cultural traditions: His mother is Cajun and his father Mexican. His interest in film was sparked during high school, when he and his friends began creating their own action movies, which they published on YouTube. His passion for film was further harnessed after meeting and befriending director Dean Simler (Mad Max, Dances withWolves, Apocolypto) whom he shadowed during the filming of Secretariat here in Louisiana. Seth is the first in his family to attend college and follow his passion in the arts. Seth’s future plans after UNO are to remain in New Orleans, tap into the expanding Hollywood South film industry here, and establish himself as a notable film director.
Edward Anderson, founder of Nola Art House Music, produced this series of jazz interviews as part of a Dillard University grant to celebrate the lives of local musicians who have made significant contributions to the legacy of New Orleans musical traditions, funded by the Louisiana Endowment for the Arts. Read his introduction to the series here.