MAIN STAGE | SATURDAY, MAY 25
Festival Begins at noon.
Between The “Saints Streets” St. Ann – St. Philip
MAIN STAGE | SUNDAY, MAY 26
Festival Begins at noon.
Treme Fest 2018
After I walked through the Lafitte Greenway, heading to the Treme 7th Ward Cultural Festival, I could hear the beat of beautiful drumming, which I thought was coming from the festival. As I crossed Claiborne to the bridge, I could see a lone red tin shipping container with the words “Veggie Nola” written in white across it, a colorful deep freezer with the same Veggie Nola logo. I saw the word “Huckabucks” and nearly jumped to the counter hoping it would be the same fruity, sugary syrup frozen cup concoction from my childhood. I would also find the sounds of the drumming were made by one of the owners of Veggie Nola, Tyrone “Brotha T” Henry and his brother Simba Marvin. I have to admit I was happy to see my black brothers in this light and I couldn’t wait to brag about them without knowing them.
Growing up, living here in New Orleans the media and some of those bias people with and without our melanin are quick to point out the wrong that our black men do, rarely shining the light on them. If these two brothers were involved in a crime their names and faces would be known throughout New Orleans, but here they stand under the Claiborne Bridge striving to partake of the prized American Pie, and I didn’t know who they were. But, hopefully, I can use my mustard seed like blog to expose the truth about my people, my fellow New Orleanian’s.
Veggie Nola is a portable storage container food truck that offers a wide variety of vegetarian dishes and beverage, such as fresh salads, tropical juices, coconut nectar huckabucks, and healthy snacks. They are known for their Bissap Breeze, Brotha T’s own blend of hibiscus tea and fruit juices. The huckabucks weren’t the 50 cents artificial fruit flavored blend that I grew up addicted to, but a healthy version of it, the sugar is replaced with coconut nectar and real fruit and juices. Today I would try the pineapple ginger tea, which tastes similar to the Jamaican Ginger Beer, and it was tasty, refreshing and put a pep in my step.
As I sipped on my tea heading to the festivities, I took a few pics of the drink offers, moving the man’s paper holders, cups and bottles to capture the effect I wanted, but no sooner than a click the wind would take the menus with them. Brother T was unfazed by my actions, didn’t tell me to stop as I rearranged his display to my liking either, and I loved that about him. He must have sisters lol. As I walked off, it seemed as if they serenaded my exit with him returning to beat on his drum.
The festival wasn’t as big as the previous one I attended, but that was a ribbon cutting for the Cid_Nola. I loved the balloon arches, the chair set and general set up of the previous one, but that’s not saying it wasn’t nice. It’s just saying I like balloons lol.
I attended on Saturday, the crowd wasn’t as thick as it would be Saturday, but it paid off for me because I could maneuver easily to take my pictures. As usual, there were the native New Orleans who only needed a beat to get on the dance floor to show off their version of our New Orleans foot werk Second Line dancing. I have traveled quite a bit and working in the entertainment industry. I have witnessed my share of people dancing, but they have nothing on New Orleans dancing. It’s like our bodies move as if it is the music as if the whole body comes alive even the pinky toe. New Orleanian’s dance with purpose in their steps, without intention, even the kids have that Nola footwork, jazzamataze rhythm, and blues dance. Seconline dancing, footwork is a form of soulful dance, entertainment and the act of celebration. The music takes over you. The sound penetrates your ears, soul, and bodies as others watch until it takes over them.
I arrived at the stage right when a female singer was wrapping up her performance, but I was happy I got there at that moment to hear the Ragin Rebelz, whom I never heard of. They had me dancing and gyrating to there deep sick hot lyrics with dope Reggae and New Orleans beat. They performed for us, feeling their sound they jumped and moved from one part of the stage down to the dance floor. The one artist waved their flag in the air with pride beaming from his movement. They were the right type of hype, staying true to their namesake “Ragin Rebelz,” which I can hear as I type.
All in all the singers, band and DJ did an excellent job at keeping the crowd entertained and engaged even when there was about a 7-minute downtime with technical difficulty, which is a lot in the entertainment world, a couple of songs could have played in that time, but everyone waited in anticipation. The Baby Dolls and the Where Ya At 2nd Line Band were due to perform at that time.
I have yet to identify all the subgroups of the New Orleans Baby Dolls, but these ladies did a great job representing the culture of the Baby Dolls. Staying true to the beautiful sexy like costumes, laced booty shorts, and socks, fishnet stocking, glittered boots and decorated 2nd Lined umbrella’s they lead the 2nd Line opening for the band.
The Where Ya At Band was excellent, the horns and drums were able to penetrate our hearts, moving us to dance. I was a little thrown off as the Hype Man kept saying, “6th Ward” I heard myself say “I thought we were in the 7th Ward,” but all it takes is crossing the street to be in another Ward, but we were celebrating the Treme 7th Ward. I hope he didn’t get reprimanded for it, and he did mention they just came from another performance. It was an easy mistake, but ish we were in the 6th Ward after all lol.
As they closed out, I decided to walk it on out home. The rain had yet to fall, and there was no evidence in the clouds that it was near. So, I walked from the Treme 7th Ward to the St. Roch 8th Ward finding treasures I would never have found if I was driving.
The rest of my walk was filled with so many great finds and more photo opportunities, but most memorable was being around my people. I met so many interesting Nola characters that make up our Nola Life Story.
My entire day, my Saturday from start to finish defines what New Orleans is to me, a vast cultural pot of gumbo, filled with soulful, meaningful, priceless ingredients.