Viola T. Johnson
NEW ORLEANS, LA, November 4, 2014 - The Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard Merchants & Business Association is proud to announce the 8th Annual Central City Festival. The annual fete takes place Saturday, November 15, 2014, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., in the 1600 and 1700 blocks of Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. Festival goers will move to the thumping rhythms of a wide range of music from New Orleans bounce to rousing second line, and from contemporary to gospel. The festival is free and open to the public.
Forced to hold on to this piece of excitement until after Voodoo, we are ecstatic to announce that BIG FREEDIA will ignite the stage this year. Dubbed "The Queen of Bounce," we're expecting huge crowds and booty shaking like the festival has never seen before. Last year, New York City's Herald Square was the setting for Freedia's Guinness World Record for the "Most People Twerking Simultaneously." This year, we hope to break that record when Freedia, during her concert session, leads a two-minute competition at the festival.
Also heating up the stage this year will be the "electric soul rock-and-roll" band Honorable South, the soul-stirring First Emanuel Baptist Church Choir, local rap/dance delight Lucky Lou with a youth dance competition, Ashé's Sistahs Making a Change dance troupe, and the Kuumba Institute kids. Brazilian dancers Casa Samba will wow the crowd with their incredible costumes and moves. And participants are encouraged to join the parade and get their second line on with the high-spirited Free Agents Brass Band accompanied by the Young Men Olympian Social Aid & Pleasure Club. The Consulate of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in New Orleans has come on board, and promises food that represents a taste of Venezuela, as well as a music and dance performance.
This year's festival will debut Cooking Demonstrations featuring Casa Borrega, Café Reconcile, Kid Chef Eliana, Chef Matt Murphy (Irish House) and Chef Ryan Hughes (whose restaurant, Purloo, who will soon open in the Southern Food and Beverage Museum). As always, there will be activities for children and youth, door prizes, food trucks and crafts vendors. Join us as we foresee a thrilling 8th year.
Meanwhile, you may have heard the buzz about the Boulevard. The many years of efforts are now bearing fruit. There is a rapid succession of new openings of businesses, expansion of existing non-profits and establishment of additional cultural anchors, such as the Southern Food and Beverage Museum and the New Orleans Jazz Marketplace. In sync with the festival, other events on that day include a 3-on-3 youth basketball tournament, the OCH Art Market and an historic homes tour.
Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard is a designated Louisiana Main Street and Cultural Products District. The Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard Merchants & Business Association /Main Street Initiative is dedicated to cultivating economic sustainability for the neighborhood commercial district.
Central City Festival would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors, to date: the City of New Orleans, Gulf Coast Housing Partnership, Ashé Cultural Arts Center, First NBC, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, Landis Construction Co. LLC, Church Alley Coffee Bar, Southern Eagle, Richards Disposal, Inc., Hope Community Credit Union, Ryan Gootee General Contractors LLC, Fidelity Homestead Savings Bank, Latter & Blum Realtors, New Orleans Musicians Assistance Fund, People's Health, Louisiana Office of Cultural Development, New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Network, Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard Merchants & Business Association, Perez, Southern Food and Beverage Museum, The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and Richards Disposal.
Vending opportunities are still available, and we welcome much-needed volunteers. Call 504.528.1806 or stop by Ashé Cultural Arts Center, 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. for an application. For more information, visit www.ochaleyblvd.org