Heading On Down to the Audubon Zoo with Meschiya Lake & The Little Big Horns

Here in New Orleans music permeates pretty much everything and Audubon Zoo is no exception to that rule.

Immortalized in The Meters’ song They All Ask’d For You  – written by Art Neville, George Porter Jr., Leo Noncentelli, and Zigaboo Modeliste – Audubon Zoo is also famous for its annual philanthropic event the Whitney Zoo-To-Do, a black-tie fundraiser replete with New Orleans’ customary signature blend of great food, great cocktails, and great music.

This year is Zoo-To-Do’s 40th anniversary and as part of the celebrations will feature performances by Walter “Wolfman” Washington and the Roadmasters, Jessie’s Girls, Julio Y Cesar, and Meschiya Lake.

“I am pretty excited to be performing at the zoo,” said Lake. “I adore animals and it is for a good cause. I always enjoy that.”

From a circus performer with the Know Nothing Family Zirkus Zideshow and the End of the World Circus to her current career as one of New Orleans’ best Jazz-singer-with-an-edge, Meschiya Lake is no stranger to the ups and down of showbusiness and, according to Lake, playing at Audubon Zoo definitely falls into the up category, not least because she is excited to bring her four-month-old daughter Saiorse (which means freedom in Gaelic) on her first visit to zoo.

Over the more than ten years that Lake has called New Orleans home, Lake has performed on the streets of the French Quarter, New Orleans music clubs, and even at Celtic Connections, Scotland’s biggest folk music festival held yearly in Glasgow. She was also took home the Big Easy Music Awards “Best Female Performer” of the year for 2010, 2011, and 2012.

In January 2018, she and her band are heading back across the pond to revisit Celtic Connections, something  that, she says, she is very much looking forward to.

“I loved Scotland,” said Lake. “I found Scottish people to be funny and down to earth. And they loved to hang out. Really looking forward to going back.”

“Sometimes when I sit down and think about it, it is pretty nuts,” said Lake. “Ten years ago, I was working all kinds of other jobs with bands on the side. I drove a forklift. I did migrant farm work. I worked in a lot of kitchens. In 2007, I started street performing and now I make my living with music and that is pretty cool, but, you know? But I still like to play on the streets. It is all part of the musical experience and as long as people are having a good time, that is what is important to me. It is always seat of the pants, as we say.”

Zoo-To-Do will take place on Friday, May 4, 2017 at Audubon Zoo, 6500 Magazine St, New Orleans, 70118.

More information about Meschiya Lake and The Little Big Horns is available at http://www.meschiyalake.com/

More information about the Audubon Nature Institute is available at http://audubonnatureinstitute.org/zoo


Collision 2016

While I have occasionally been called a boozer, a schmoozer I am not. So I admit that when I attended Collision 2106, the massive technology networking conference hosted in New Orleans between the two weekends of Jazz Fest, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

Collision 2016 brought more than 11,000 entrepreneurs, investors, and media members to our already Jazz Fest crowded city. With so many talented people and so little time, I found it kind of overwhelming, and I am not in the least bit surprised that, according to Collision figures, more than 52,000 cups of coffee were drank during the event.

But like any other event, after your third cup of coffee the thing to do is find your niche, so I gravitated towards the Music Stage, where the conversation was kicked off by WWOZ’s new COO Arthur Cohen and Scott Aiges, long time director of programs for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, whose opening remarks set the stage for various explorations on how technology is changing the face of the music world, as well as the worlds of the various industries that depend on it.

After discussing the essential place of music in the structure of New Orleans, and the importance of making sure that that music is heard all over the world, Cohen and Aiges were followed by speakers Heather Gallagher and Bear Kitty, representatives of that most imaginative of all creative festival communities, Burning Man. Gallagher and Kitty focused their talk on the amazing power of intrinsically community-based creativity, and the importance of creating space in our communities for that creativity to thrive.

As the day went on, other issues discussed by various speakers included modern day music rights, the future of music media, building communities around live events, creative collaborations, and business models for funding music, and how to build an audience in this digital age.

It also saw a demonstration by Remidi CEO and DJ Andrea Baldereschi of the T8, a “wearable musical instrument” in the form of a smooth black glove which allows the wearer to create electronic music by simply tapping, not just a physical surface, but the very air itself. Eight sensors in the glove and a motor sensor bracelet detects the wearer’s hand movements, allowing them, via controls in the bracelet, to scroll through music samples and notes and set specific sounds that play when the hand moves in a certain way.

While a similar product was released by musician Imogen Heap in 2015, according to Remidi’s Chief Technology Officer, the TO is by far a more affordable option for most people. It also allows people with no formal musical training to produce high quality music almost immediately, he went on.

“Anyone can tap a rhythm,” said De May.

Collision also witnessed the merging of technology, bounce music, and twerking as New Orleans’ Queen of Bounce Big Freedia unveiled her new App at the conference.

big Freedia


“No one knows what the future of bounce is,” said Big Freedia. “But by using the new technology that is available, the number of social media platforms that you can reach is immense, and I want bounce, and the culture of New Orleans, to reach as many new audiences as they can.“