A Slice of New Orleans

 

If there’s a better way to start a weekend, I’m not sure what it is. The video starts with three musicians sitting curbside in old New Orleans. The clarinetist appears to be battling a cough. The tuba player wipes the sweat from his brow while an adorable little girl appears to be scolding her imaginary friend. Just another group of street musicians in the French Quarter, right?

But then the lady aims that clarinet heavenward and, oh my soul, the talent with which she’s been blessed. Her name is Doreen Ketchens, and I had the honor of meeting her about a decade ago. A crowd had gathered around her in front of the Cabildo, next to St. Louis Cathedral. It was an enormous crowd and they were mesmerized as Doreen’s clarinet lifted up toward the Cathedral. It seemed she were playing for the Almighty Himself.

She is just as unassuming as you please in conversation, and you’d have no idea that in reality she’s a classically trained clarinetist who has performed all over the world. But her heart was back home in New Orleans. Unfailingly polite and down to earth, you’d have no idea that such an awesome talent stands before you, until she goes to work. Then, the greatness and beauty of that talent is breathtaking. As much as I’m enjoying my little jaunt in California, the bayou country of Louisiana calls me home. But until I can get there, perhaps I can bring a bit of home to you good folks to enjoy.  

Members have made 23 comments.

  1. Profile photo of StickerShock Inactive

    Wow….amazing. Her voice is absolutely lovely as well.

    Thank you for posting this.

    • #1
    • June 18, 2011 at 5:02 am
    • Like0 likes
  2. Profile photo of Kenneth Inactive

    No wonder she’s battling a cough. New Orleans was just named the dirtiest city in America.

    • #2
    • June 18, 2011 at 9:36 am
    • Like0 likes
  3. Profile photo of Leslie Watkins Member

    As a native of both north and south Louisiana (born in Shreveport; LSU grad), I can very much appreciate the prospect of coming upon great musical talent in places you’d never expect to hear it. The touristy Cabildo and Jackson Square area highlights the mingling of diversity that is New Orleans: lots of schlock mixed in with pure unadulterated talent. Thanks so much, Dave, for bringing such moments to life! Pure lagniappe!

    • #3
    • June 18, 2011 at 9:52 am
    • Like0 likes
  4. Profile photo of Del Mar Dave Member

    With roots in Terrebonne Parish and a veteran of two 1960s summers working on the levee by the Huey Long Bridge, I mourn the almost complete loss of traditional jazz in New Orleans. This is close enough, thank you, Dave, and Doreen is truly as superb as you paint her.

    • #4
    • June 18, 2011 at 9:56 am
    • Like0 likes
  5. Profile photo of Andrea Ryan Member

    As always, a beautiful post about your charming home town…I can see why this makes you homesick. There is so much rich culture in that part of the country.

    • #5
    • June 18, 2011 at 9:57 am
    • Like0 likes
  6. Profile photo of Crusade A Day Keeps Jihad Away Member

    I loved Wynton Marsalis’s tribute. Your video reminds me of it. Thanks for sharing Dave.

    • #6
    • June 18, 2011 at 10:02 am
    • Like0 likes
  7. Profile photo of Dave Carter Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author
    Del Mar Dave: With roots in Terrebonne Parish and a veteran of two 1960s summers working on the levee by the Huey Long Bridge, I mourn the almost complete loss of traditional jazz in New Orleans. This is close enough, thank you, Dave, and Doreen is truly as superb as you paint her. · Jun 17 at 9:56pm

    Del Mar Dave, (nice name, by the way), my Dad tells me that I have an uncle somewhere back there that worked on the Huey P. Long Bridge itself. Small world, ain’t it?

    • #7
    • June 18, 2011 at 10:02 am
    • Like0 likes
  8. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher
    Andrea Ryan: As always, a beautiful post about your charming home town…I can see why this makes you homesick. There is so much rich culture in that part of the country. · Jun 17 at 9:57pm

    Indeed, Andrea. And it’s a damn shame that some people can’t enjoy such culture without trying to run it down.

    • #8
    • June 18, 2011 at 10:04 am
    • Like0 likes
  9. Profile photo of Andrea Ryan Member

    Dave, I will never forget sharing some mighty fine Bourbon and a few cigars on my back deck and listening to your Cajun jokes. Your gift for story telling makes a person want to experience what you’re describing…I would love to have the opportunity to have you show me your home town one day.

    • #9
    • June 18, 2011 at 10:13 am
    • Like0 likes
  10. Profile photo of Dave Carter Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author
    Andrea Ryan: Dave, I will never forget sharing some mighty fine Bourbon and a few cigars on my back deck and listening to your Cajun jokes. Your gift for story telling makes a person want to experience what you’re describing…I would love to have the opportunity to have you show me your home town one day. · Jun 17 at 10:13pm

    I think story telling is a southern tradition in large measure. I know that my grandparents and great grandparents, and even my great great grandparents, could weave a story that would have us all completely mesmerized. I hope I can keep that flame going for as long as possible.

    • #10
    • June 18, 2011 at 10:20 am
    • Like0 likes
  11. Profile photo of Kenneth Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    Andrea Ryan: As always, a beautiful post about your charming home town…I can see why this makes you homesick. There is so much rich culture in that part of the country. · Jun 17 at 9:57pm
    Indeed, Andrea. And it’s a damn shame that some people can’t enjoy such culture without trying to run it down. · Jun 17 at 10:04pm

    Gee, don’t blame me, I’m just the messenger. The crown for filthiest American city was bestowed by folks surveyed by Travel and Leisure magazine.

    I really groove on a culture of squalor, public drunkenness and welfare dependency.

    • #11
    • June 18, 2011 at 10:26 am
    • Like0 likes
  12. Profile photo of Andrea Ryan Member
    Dave Carter
    Andrea Ryan: Dave, I will never forget sharing some mighty fine Bourbon and a few cigars on my back deck and listening to your Cajun jokes. Your gift for story telling makes a person want to experience what you’re describing…I would love to have the opportunity to have you show me your home town one day. · Jun 17 at 10:13pm
    I think story telling is a southern tradition in large measure. I know that my grandparents and great grandparents, and even my great great grandparents, could weave a story that would have us all completely mesmerized. I hope I can keep that flame going for as long as possible. · Jun 17 at 10:20pm

    You’ve already got it down. Do your son and daughter recite your stories?

    • #12
    • June 18, 2011 at 10:27 am
    • Like0 likes
  13. Profile photo of FeliciaB Inactive

    Wow, Dave. What a great video!

    • #13
    • June 18, 2011 at 10:36 am
    • Like0 likes
  14. Profile photo of Dave Carter Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author
    Andrea Ryan

    Dave Carter

    Andrea Ryan: Dave, I will never forget sharing some mighty fine Bourbon and a few cigars on my back deck and listening to your Cajun jokes. Your gift for story telling makes a person want to experience what you’re describing…I would love to have the opportunity to have you show me your home town one day. · Jun 17 at 10:13pm
    I think story telling is a southern tradition in large measure. I know that my grandparents and great grandparents, and even my great great grandparents, could weave a story that would have us all completely mesmerized. I hope I can keep that flame going for as long as possible. · Jun 17 at 10:20pm
    You’ve already got it down. Do your son and daughter recite your stories? · Jun 17 at 10:27pm

    Yes, and my nieces and nephew tend to ask their mom to tell them “Uncle Dave” stories,…the ones where I did something truly nuts and/or got in trouble, etc. My nephew is a complete entertainer too, so the tradition lives.

    • #14
    • June 18, 2011 at 10:38 am
    • Like0 likes
  15. Profile photo of FeliciaB Inactive

    One of the things I love about the South is it seems like people are more authentic, less varnished. Yet, at the same time, there’s an underlying decency. I like that.

    • #15
    • June 18, 2011 at 10:38 am
    • Like0 likes
  16. Profile photo of Dave Carter Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author
    FeliciaB: Wow, Dave. What a great video! · Jun 17 at 10:36pm

    Amazing musician, isn’t she? The city is full of those kinds of musicians. And the food!! Jazz for the palate! I’m thinking a red beans and rice fix is in my future…

    • #16
    • June 18, 2011 at 10:39 am
    • Like0 likes
  17. Profile photo of Andrea Ryan Member
    Dave Carter

    Yes, and my nieces and nephew tend to ask their mom to tell them “Uncle Dave” stories,…the ones where I did something truly nuts and/or got in trouble, etc. My nephew is a complete entertainer too, so the tradition lives.

    Including the ones that involve whoopee cushions in church? 🙂

    • #17
    • June 18, 2011 at 10:42 am
    • Like0 likes
  18. Profile photo of Dave Carter Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author
    Andrea Ryan

    Dave Carter

    Yes, and my nieces and nephew tend to ask their mom to tell them “Uncle Dave” stories,…the ones where I did something truly nuts and/or got in trouble, etc. My nephew is a complete entertainer too, so the tradition lives.

    Including the ones that involve whoopee cushions in church? 🙂 · Jun 17 at 10:42pm

    Not going there…. Not gonna do it….

    • #18
    • June 18, 2011 at 10:45 am
    • Like0 likes
  19. Profile photo of George Merritt Inactive

    It is contributions like this that make my subscription to Ricochet cheap at twice the price. Love the music as I love New Orleans. I can’t live there, though. I’d weigh 400 pounds within a year. And yes, Leslie, it is a pure lagniappe from the city.

    • #19
    • June 18, 2011 at 10:48 am
    • Like0 likes
  20. Profile photo of Andrea Ryan Member

    When we first moved to Pensacola my husband brought home the command from his C.O. that all wives must take a one day course in manners. I wasn’t so sure about the being commanded part, but I was a good sport about it. It was given by a few of the senior officers’ wives in one of those gorgeous plantation homes on base with the wrap-around porches. I was completely surprised by how much I enjoyed it…and how much I learned. There were several wives who were either from the South or who had spent a decent amount of time in the South and they had that charm that draws you in. Even their cooking had a charm to it.

    • #20
    • June 18, 2011 at 10:52 am
    • Like0 likes
  21. Profile photo of Andrea Ryan Member
    Dave Carter
    FeliciaB: Wow, Dave. What a great video! · Jun 17 at 10:36pm
    Amazing musician, isn’t she? The city is full of those kinds of musicians. And the food!! Jazz for the palate! I’m thinking a red beans and rice fix is in my future… · Jun 17 at 10:39pm

    Now I want chicory coffee and beignets for breakfast. Darn it. Where do I get those?

    • #21
    • June 18, 2011 at 10:56 am
    • Like0 likes
  22. Profile photo of John Lamoreaux Inactive

    This is like seeing the Rolling Stones playing for dimes down around the corner. Doreen’s Jazz is Dixie royalty, and they call Doreen herself ‘Miss Satchmo’. She’s dispensing largesse to the peasants here. Normally she’s touring the world for State, as an American cultural ambassador — or trying to teach New Yorkers something about real culture. Fantastic video, thanks.

    • #22
    • June 18, 2011 at 10:59 am
    • Like0 likes
  23. Profile photo of Del Mar Dave Member

    Dave Carter

    Del Mar Dave: With roots in Terrebonne Parish and a veteran of two 1960s summers working on the levee by the Huey Long Bridge, I mourn the almost complete loss of traditional jazz in New Orleans. This is close enough, thank you, Dave, and Doreen is truly as superb as you paint her. · Jun 17 at 9:56pm

    Del Mar Dave, (nice name, by the way), my Dad tells me that I have an uncle somewhere back there that worked on the Huey P. Long Bridge itself. Small world, ain’t it?

    Dave: Another Huey Long connection: Last time my wife and I went to Houma, we stayed in a B&B owned by the attorney son of the doctor who attended Huey Long from when he was shot until he died. The attorney makes some kind of grits!

    • #23
    • June 19, 2011 at 5:29 am
    • Like0 likes