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When I think of New Orleans, three things come to mind, Food, Music, and Mardi Gras.

OffBeat Magazine‘s Best of the Beat Awards is a celebration and an awards ceremony to honor the best of the best of New Orleans musicians.

As part of the celebration, they invite some of the best restaurants to bring in their best dish to pass.

While some of them were new to me, like Bread Pudding, everything was delicious!

I must confess I got bloated on the various soups, crab puffies, beans, rice, deserts, and some of the most delicious macaroni and cheese I have ever had.

Topping off all the other wonderful food was...  CHOCOLATE!

Topping off all the other wonderful food was... CHOCOLATE!

This lovely lady brought back fond memories of my visit to Brussels as she served their Southern Candymakers locally made pralines and other confections including Belgian Chocolate!  She was kind enough to let me slip a few extra pieces into my lens case and I have a piece melting in my mouth as I write this!

Trombone Shorty Steals the show!

Trombone Shorty Steals the show!

There’s always a scene stealer in every show but Trombone Shorty seemed to steal the whole show winning award after award.  What did he win?  A better question is what didn’t he win, with Kermit Ruffins taking Trumpet Player of the Year and GIVERS taking Best Song of the year.

An early Valentine's Day moment with Mr. and Mrs. George Porter Jr.

An early Valentine's Day moment with Mr. and Mrs. George Porter Jr.

It was an early heartwarming, Valentine’s Day moment when George Porter Jr. was called forward to receive his Lifetime Achievement in Music.  He brought his wife with him, introduced her, then handed her the award and stepped aside to give her the podium.

Mrs. Porter accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award from her loving husband George

Mrs. Porter accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award from her loving husband George

As Mrs. Porter stepped up to the microphone I wondered how she would handle being thrust into the limelight.  It was no surprise when she revealed the strength, humor, and beauty that has most certainly kept him strong for these many years.

For more information on the awards check OffBeat’s award page.

GIVER performing at The Best of the Beat

GIVERS performing at The Best of the Beat

 

After the awards ceremony GIVERS were next on stage giving a dazzling performance of their Song of the Year and others from their repertoire.

Big Freedia got booties shakin!

Big Freedia got booties shakin!

When GIVERS cleared the main stage I wandered back to the back stage where Big Freedia got booties shakin with his rhythm and booty bouncing beat.

 

George Porter Jr. and The Grand Finale!

George Porter Jr. and The Grand Finale!

To close out the evening (at least for me!) George Porter Jr. and other greats performed in a group with no particular name but I’ll just call it the Grand Finale though anyone who heard it might just call it awesome!

Oh, a final note on my initial “Two out of Three Ain’t Bad!” comment.  I’m not Catholic so I don’t do the Lenten fasting and such and to me, Mardi Gras is a celebration of the coming King, and I am good with that.  So, while it wasn’t Mardi Gras day, the Generations Hall was filled with the festive Mardi Gras atmosphere of celebration.  Really, two out of three ain’t bad but The Best of the Beat really pulls out the stops for a solid three out of three, ten out of ten or 100 out of 100.  Whatever the standard, The Best of the Beat is tops!

For more photos (a thousand or so ;-) from The Best of the Beat check out the Weird Review Photo Gallery!

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