Haitian Kanaval was the highlight of New Orleans this week thanks to a partnership between the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and indie rock band Arcade Fire.
The first Krewe du Kanaval Haitian-themed celebration kicked off Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 6) with a Rara band dance circle at the site of the historic Congo Square in Armstrong Park. The one-day party, named for the Haitian Creole term for pre-Lent celebration, is designed to be an annual tradition recognizing Haitian culture in New Orleans ahead of Mardi Gras.
The event was conceived by New Orleans’ resident rock stars Win Butler and Regine Chassagne, of the Grammy-winning band Arcade Fire, who teamed up with pals at Preservation Hall to present the parade and other activities. Chassagne, a Canadian whose parents are from Haiti, was the prime mover behind the celebration.
In attendance were some keys Haitian artists such as Paul Beaubrun and Ram who gave the audience a real taste of Kanaval, Haitian style.
All membership proceeds from the event support the work of KANPE, a foundation that stands with the most vulnerable Haitian families towards their financial autonomy.
The Haitian-themed Carnival parade in New Orleans seems natural because a huge wave of Haitian immigration to New Orleans in the early 19th century influenced the city for all time. Reports that President Trump made a coarse disparaging remark about the Caribbean nation within a week of the announcement of the Kanaval.
We hope such celebration will help people to understand the strong cultural and historical connection between Haiti and New Orleans said actor and ambassador at large of Haiti Jimmy Jean-Louis.
Here’s a look at Jimmy Jean-Louis at the event.