Wednesday, January 10/Cafe Istanbul (2372 St. Claude Ave): The Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies offers a free film screening and what promises to be spirited conversation about housing issues in this country. The film is America Divided: A House Divided, executive produced by Norman Lear, Common and Shonda Rhimes, and focuses on gentrification, displacement and racial discrimination in housing. Immediately following the screening, there will be a facilitated panel discussion on housing in New Orleans. The event takes place on Wednesday from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM. It’s free but tickets are limited, so get there early to get a seat.
Thursday, January 11/The ALLways Lounge and Cabaret (2240 St. Claude Ave): Last month our own Davide Benedetto interviewed Camille Roane of Black Girl Giggles, and now you can head out for the first Black Girl Giggles show of 2018 with Jasmine Ellis. Jasmine Ellis’s standup has been described as “energetic” and “joyfully neurotic,” and she’s pretty sure that was a compliment. Jasmine had performed in Las Vegas, New York, and LA, and earned spots on several festivals, including Out of Bounds Fest in Austin, and and Blue Whale Comedy In Tulsa. And now, she’s coming to New Orleans. The show begins at 9:00 PM and goes until 10:30 PM. Tickets range from $5 to $40, and you can purchase them here.
Thursday, January 11/New Orleans Jazz Museum (400 Esplanade Avenue): It’s Tricentennial time. The 300th anniversary of the city of New Orleans has officially begun, so you can expect to see lots of special events popping up from now through December. Get in the mood and get the skinny on some of our best characters when investigative reporter and cultural historian Jason Berry speaks Thursday as part of the Friends of the Cabildo’s Second Thursday lecture series. Berry will talk about the intersecting lives of William C.C. Claiborne, the embattled governor of the Orleans Territory after the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, and Antonio de Sedella, popularly known as Père Antoine, the pastor of St. Louis Cathedral and one of the city’s most complex figures during Claiborne’s time. Berry’s newest book, to be published in October, is City of a Million Dreams, a character-driven history that follows burial traditions as a mirror on the city’s evolution. He’s a great raconteur, not only in print but also in public, so this is a great way to start your yearlong history lessons. The lecture is free and open to the public and will take place Thursday at 6:00 PM at the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint.
Thursday, January 11/Poor Boys (1328 St. Bernard Avenue): New York is coming to New Orleans in the form of Dirty Fences. They are touring and celebrating their third studio album, Goodbye Love, which came out in October. That means Poor Boys Bar will be filled with guitar riffs, sing-along choruses, and those Dirty Fences harmonies on Thursday night from 9:00 PM until the band is done.
Friday, January 12/Historic Opera Guild Home (2504 Prytania): The Big Wig Ball is back for its second turn. The event benefits free Student Night at the Opera and is presented by the Sylvain Society Young Professionals and the New Orleans Opera Association. This year’s theme is “HAIRajuku,” like Harajuku, the historic fashion district in Japan. Think Tokyo pop art and colorful street fashion. Guests are encouraged to wear costumes and wigs and can participate in the the wig contest to be crowned “Big Wig 2018.” The Big Wig Ball begins at 7:00 PM, and you can buy your tickets here.
Everyday around the city/All around the city: You ready for more Tricentennial fun and food? Restaurants around town are getting into the Tricentennial act with specials commemorating the anniversary. DTB will unveil a rotating selection of specialty cocktails throughout the year showcasing reinterpretations of classic New Orleans libations, starting in January, with the Louisiana Cocktail, a play on the Sazerac featuring sassafras-infused rye, bitters and Balsam amaro with a pecan oil drizzle. Toups South has a $30 two-course prix fix menu through January offering dishes that pay tribute to centuries past, including Oysters Rockefeller Soup and Cochon de Lait Pork Belly. LOA in the International House Hotel, has an entire cocktail menu designed to highlight the 300th anniversary , while SoBou offers the Vieux Carre, a drink first mixed in the mid-1930s at the Monteleone Hotel.
Weekend fun fact: Wait, did you say Tricentennial? That 300-year anniversary has landed New Orleans on CNN Travel’s 18 best places to visit in 2018. Advising that the city has “serious roots,” the article goes on to say that the city with more than 130 annual festivals (at last count) will celebrate in top festive form, mentioning, in passing, Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival, French Quarter Festival, Tricentennial NOLA Navy Week, Propect.4 and, as lagniappe, Commander’s Bread Pudding Souffle. The only other U.S. destination on the list is Asheville, N.C., putting New Orleans in an elite class indeed — one that includes the Cape Verde Islands, Malta, Serbia and Rwanda.
Saturday, January 13/ The Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes and Culture (1010 Conti Street): The all-female marching krewe, Dames de Perlage, has been chosen to display its hand-stitched beaded bustiers and headdresses at the Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes and Culture in the French Quarter. The exhibit opens January 13, 2018. Mardi Gras Museum covers the history of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, displaying one of a kind costumes from the Carl Mack collection, and showing an evolution of design and thought while maintaining tradition. The exhibit opening is at 6:00 PM, and you can find out more details here.
Sunday, January 14/Ashe Power House (173 Baronne Street): Head to Ashe for a MLK Day salute on Sunday. A community singalong led by local vocalists and musicians, including the Zion Harmonizers and Mchaela Harrison, will celebrate the Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend. The public is invited to gather for Lift Every Voice and Sing, on Sunday from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Ashe Power House, just around the corner from Ashe Cultural Center, for an evening of inspirational songs from the Civil Rights Movement and peace marches.
Tuesday, January 16/Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts (1419 Basin Street): American jazz and gospel singer Lizz Wright is the featured artist at the National Day of Racial Healing event, which will be taking place on Tuesday, January 16. National Day of Racial Healing is a call to action to help mobilize communities, organizations and individuals across the United States in support of truth, racial healing and transformation. We know that one way to do that in New Orleans is through music, and that is why the Foundation for Louisiana is partnering with Ashé Cultural Arts Center and the City of New Orleans is hosting this free concert. The concert begins at 7:00 PM, and you can find out full details here.