NYC meets New Orleans

Girls Club roaming reporters experience the music and culture of New Orleans!

Ms. Leona Tate of the Lower Ninth Ward Living Museum

One of the highlights of our Civil Rights trip to New Orleans and Montgomery, Alabama last year was meeting Mrs. Leona Tate, one of The McDonogh Three.
Ms. Tate was one of three African-American girls, who, at the age of six, were the first black students to integrate an all-white school in New Orleans!
We met Mrs. Tate at the Lower Ninth Ward Living Museum, where she is a board member continuing the activism and work for her community that she started as a small child.

Big Chief Demond Melancon of the Young Seminole Hunters

It was an incredible honor to be welcomed warmly into the home and studio of master beader Big Chief Demond Melancon of the Young Seminole Hunters while in New Orleans this summer. He and his partner Alicia gave us a glimpse into the beautiful traditions and culture of New Orleans.

“With a career spanning almost three decades, Melancon is well-known for his meticulous hand-sewn beadwork used to create massive Mardi Gras Indian suits which are composed of intricately beaded patches depicting actual and imagined events from African and American history. His complex and multidimensional portrayals draw inspiration from indigenous people in America, enslaved Africans, and inspirational leaders from history. His work draws from a broad variety of stylistic influences, features imagery rich with symbolism and meaning, addresses stereotypical representations of black people, and tells powerful stories from his experience of the African diaspora.”

Listen in, as the charismatic Big Chief gives us yet another reason to love the incredible culture and people of New Orleans.

Music Box Village – a Tiny Town of Musical Wonder!

Music Box Village in our sister city of New Orleans is truly an experience where art comes alive and vibrates with song!
We have had the honor of performing there in the past in a female musical history of New Orleans and are lucky to count Airlift, who run Music Box, as our NOLA family!
Enjoy this magical audio journey and the below video with performance highlights!

 

 

Sowing Seeds of Hope with Jackie Sumell

Jackie Sumell is an incredible artist, activist  and compassionate friend of the Girls Club.
Her work seeks to expose and change the abuses perpetrated by the criminal justice system in America.
We caught up with Jackie in her home town of New Orleans, at her Solitary Garden project. What resulted is more of a discussion than an interview, one that we hope more people will be having after The Solitary Garden tour this Fall.
To find out more about the project please visit the Solitary Gardens website. 

The Changing Face of Politics — Cyndi Nguyen Breaking Barriers in the South

WGRL has a sisterhood with the great city of New Orleans, so we were inspired to learn that Cyndi Nguyen became the first Asian American to earn a seat on the New Orleans City Council!

We caught up with Councilwoman Nguyen on our last trip to New Orleans where she graciously spent some time with our young reporters discussing her journey from Vietnamese immigrant to community leader and some of the things she plans to do to improve her community.

It’s an inspiring story that energizes us to seek even more diversity in the faces of those who represent us.

 

 

 

Dread Scott — Revolutionary Artist Speaking Truth to Power

On our recent trip to New Orleans, we had the extreme pleasure of running into activist and artist Dread Scott at Paper Machine, an art gallery-print shop-artist studio in the Lower 9th Ward.

Dread was gracious enough to grant us an interview and spoke eloquently about his mission to make revolutionary art to propel history forward and how that manifests in his work.

Dread also told us about his latest project taking place in November of this year. The Slave Rebellion Reenactment is a community-engaged performance that will bring to life a suppressed history of people with an audacious plan to organize, take up arms, and seize Orleans Territory. In this area of land stretching across most of present day Louisiana, the rebels of the 1811 uprising were determined to fight not just for their own emancipation, but to end slavery.  It is a project that will animate a revolutionary vision of freedom that creates a space for viewers and participants to dream: What if …?

We learned a lot in our conversation and are quite motivated by the way Dread Scott uses his voice and his art as a tool against oppression.

Presenting Princess Shaw – Words of Music, Love, and Life

One of the highlights of our recent trip to our sister city, New Orleans, was a chance to interview the inspiring songbird Princess Shaw!
Princess Shaw has overcome tremendous struggle in her life and is a testament to staying true to your gift and the grace of forgiveness.
Check out her film “Presenting Princes Shaw” if you haven’t already and tune in for a few words of life advice, realness and a surprise song from this warm, gracious and gifted human being!

Sisterhood and Community at Louisiana Products

When in New Orleans, WGRL recommends a trip to the Louisiana Products Deli, a neighborhood institution for more than thirty years!
Run by charming sisters Martha and Melanie, Louisiana Products is part art gallery, part community center and part old sc

hool deli with delicious home cooked NOLA specialities. In this edition of our podcast, Martha explains some of the heart behind this one of a kind store where you can get your groceries with a healthy warm helping of New Orleans culture.

Meschiya Lake – From Circus to Jazz Classics

Meschiya Lake was a little girl with a big voice, starting her career at the tender age of nine! WGRL caught up with the sultry voiced New Orleans vocalist who has lived a fascinating life that includes running away with the punk rock circus! From eating glass to her current stint singing jazz with her band The Little Big Horns , we were transfixed by her story and her talent.

Irma Thomas – the Soul Queen of New Orleans Exclusive

In May of this year we had the incredible opportunity to take WGRL on the road to New Orleans for Jazzfest where we had the chance to meet and interview none other than the Soul Queen of New Orleans, the Grammy award winning Irma Thomas!
Irma shared her wisdom from over 58 years in show business in an insightful interview with our teen reporters.
We were so inspired by our conversation with the gracious star that our artists on the trip decided to do a portrait which is pictured below.
We hope you enjoy our conversation with this great and talented lady!

 

Tank and the Bangas – Words of Wisdom from New Orleans

Le bon ton roulet in New Orleans! This Spring we had the very special opportunity to visit this world class city of art, culture, food and music. In conjunction with our sister group, the YaYa’s, we had a booth at the legendary Jazz Fest and spent 4 days live painting, experiencing and getting inspired by all this beautiful city had to offer.
WGRL was able to conduct a series of remote interviews with some of the most exciting female musicians in the city, both established and rising stars.
Tank, the dynamic lead singer of Tank and the Bangas and her manager Tavia made their way to us in the middle of a tropical downpour and the hectic schedule of rehearsing for their new tour. We truly appreciate these great inspiring ladies words of wisdom!
AND check out the live painting we did of the beautiful Tank below! 🙂