Check out the full piece at the link above.
Whenever a piece of mine sits awaiting publication, as this one did, I conjure a complete rewrite in my head. Still, the following describes the scene I found at Armstrong Park in New Orleans earlier this month, set against the backdrop of a reality-check. For me, the spiritual value of unlocking Congo Square trumps all else. LB
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Once alight with bulbs that spelled out "Armstrong," the large steel archway above North Rampart Street, across from the venerable Donna's Bar & Grill, was dark much of the past decade, largely rusted. Beneath it, the main gate to a park named for trumpeter Louis Armstrong had been padlocked for more than three years, save for the occasional special event. Just inside, Congo Square - where two centuries ago enslaved Africans and free people of color spent Sundays dancing and drumming to the bamboula rhythm, seeding the pulse of New Orleans jazz - had been effectively off limits. The adjacent Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts, home to opera and ballet performances for more than 30 years, sat empty and in need of repair after taking on 14 feet of water in 2005.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Blumenfeld: WSJ: Unlocking Congo Square, Reopening Mahalia Jackson Theater