The Tipitina’s Music Office Co-Op in downtown Shreveport held a press conference on Wednesday, March 21 to celebrate a pair of milestones for the organization: the completion of phase one of Tipitina’s large-scale photo tribute to musicians with roots in Shreveport-Bossier, and the local launch of a school band instrument program, “Instruments A-Comin’.” Five-time GRAMMY nominee Kenny Wayne Shepherd, whose portrait is among those included in the new artwork adorning Tipitina’s, was in attendance. Other musicians featured in the artwork who were also in attendance at Wednesday’s unveiling included bluesman Buddy Flett, charismatic Southern University music professor Dr. Dorsey Summerfield, and Blade Studios co-owner Brady Blade, Jr.
While I had to dash before hearing remarks from the group, I did get to shake hands with Tipitina’s Foundation co-founder Roland Von Kurnatowski and tell him “thanks.” It’s hard to overstate the dramatic visual impact that these larger-than-life photos have on Shreveport’s West Edge Arts District. The corner of Texas Street and Louisiana Avenue is now an enormous billboard promoting our region’s music heritage. The artwork ranges from a beautiful yet profoundly “staged” image of Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter (Ledbetter was usually impeccably dressed, here he wears overalls and a neck handkerchief) to an iconic photo of 70’s sound-art collective The Residents. Others who grace the building include Victoria Williams, pianist Van Cliburn, country star Kix Brooks, and more. To see these larger-than-life images for yourself, visit Tipitina’s at 700 Texas Street in downtown Shreveport.
To see a few more photos from the press conference, check out our Flickr set.
Tipitina’s Shreveport office doesn’t seem to have a website; anyone interested in learning more about their outreach programs benefiting area musicians should call (318) 934-0000. Shreveport-Bossier band directors and representatives of area school music programs should click here to apply for the $10,000 Tipitina’s Foundation grant.