Hurricane season is with us once again, and we can only hope that the weather gods smile upon us for the next five months or so. Those of us who experienced Hurricane Katrina at the southern extremity of the Mississippi can certainly feel the pain of those directly affected by the dreadful flooding in the more northerly reaches of the river this year. Our thoughts and best wishes are with all of the victims of the Midwestern floods.
June, as always, is a fairly slow month around here. Maybe the major news item was the return to operation of the Carrollton Ave. leg of the St. Charles streetcar line, thereby finally restoring the 170-year-old line to its pre-Katrina state. With that, all of the city's streetcar lines -- Riverfront, Canal Street and St.Charles-Carrollton -- are now as they were almost three years ago.
Musically, many of the musicians are off on tour in various parts of the country/world and at least one of the major jazz clubs is taking its annual summer vacation. The Palm Court Jazz Cafe closed at the end of June, and manager Nina Buck says it will re-open in late September.
Speaking of clubs, in light of last month's reference to the change of ownership at Fritzel's Jazz Pub on Bourbon Street, I am pleased to report that the club will be maintaining its policy of nightly live jazz despite concerns to the contrary. While it was closed for about two weeks in June for repairs and the installation of air conditioning (yes!), it is now back to a schedule of nightly performances.
Clarinetist Ryan Burrage, who had been providing the music most nights of the week, was in France for the month. In the meantime, John Royen's quartet with Tim Laughlin held down the Monday night slot, singer Lisa Lynn the Sunday slot and pianist Jim Hession's quartet the remaining evenings. Old-time Fritzel's visitors will be pleasantly surprised by the renovations carried out by the new ownership, who, incidentally, promise some more dramatic new features at the club. Stay tuned, and thanks to them for maintaining the pre-existing live music policy.
Most of the other jazz venues are open and operating as usual, and, as of this writing, a new club featuring live jazz (among other things) has been open for about two months. It is known as My Bar@635 because of its address, 635 Bourbon St., right next door to Maison Bourbon. The room is newly renovated (including air conditioning) and has a fine grand piano, which has attracted the likes of Jim Hession (along with his vocalist wife, Martha) to appear there on Monday nights. Clarinetist Orange Kellin has also led a trio at the venue, but a firm schedule of performers has yet to be established.