NOLA, Hoops, and All That Jazz

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The National Basketball Association has hit New Orleans this weekend for the annual All Star Game, which tips off tonight at 8 p.m. Television coverage of the event has been… interesting… as it simultaneously celebrates the glitz of the French Quarter and bemoans the sad state of the rest of the city. Shots of commentators and tourists thronging Bourbon Street alternate with NBA stars lending helping hands to redevelopment projects in neighborhood schools and community centers. And of course there’s been a big effort to incorporate as much local musical flavor into the weekend spectacle as possible, with (among others) Marc Broussard and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band performing during the slam dunk competition, and Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis scheduled to play for the main event this evening.

Larry Blumenfeld, a pickup basketball playing buddy of mine and an accomplished music writer, has a piece in today’s New Orleans Times Picayune about the connections between jazz and hoops. Larry is currently a Katrina Media Fellow with the Open Society Institute, and has been documenting cultural recovery in New Orleans for The Wall Street Journal, Village Voice, and Salon.com. And he has a blog at www.artsjournal.com/listengood. Check it out while you enjoy the game and all that good music.

[cross-posted to A.D. website]

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