9th Ward Daily Photo via rl reeves jr

Louisianan by birth. Musician by circumstance. Imperious. Loathed by many. A bully who would break up a spitball fight with a pistol. The musically-revered Joe King Oliver charted his own path in the world of jazz and cared little what people thought of him.

When the authorities shutdown the whorehouses of Storyville near the French Quarter in 1917, Joe Oliver, along with hundreds of other musicians was faced with financial ruin. The parlors of the brothels paid good money, and the men cared little if their world was filled with hustlers, gamblers and roustabouts. Continue Reading

9th Ward Daily Photo via rl reeves jr

Albert “Yella Boy” Thomas was murdered in New Orleans on this day in 1997. He was 22 years old. Thomas’s group at the time of his death was U.N.L.V (Uptown Niggas Living Violent) Raw violence was a thread that ran through Yella Boy’s music and his life until his abrupt end.

Thomas was shot in the head, and found dead in Central City. Continue Reading

9th Ward Daily Photo via rl reeves jr

We’re marking the anniversary of the birth of George Landry aka Big Chief Jolley of the Wild Tchoupitoulas. He was born today back in 1917.

Let’s visit Sea Saint Studios in Gentilly where Landry coaxed his nephews: Art, Charles, Aaron and Cyril; the Neville Brothers into backing him on what would be his debut, and only, LP. The Wild Magnolias had already charted the territory of wild-ass, black-masking Indians recording their culture’s music but nobody in New Orleans had the chops of the Nevilles, and Landry knew his kinfolk would be his ace in the hole. Continue Reading

9th Ward Daily Photo via rl reeves jr

I’ve been searching for the cockfighting man of Deslondes Street in the Lower 9 for nearly a decade. It hasn’t been easy. None of my connections here in the 9 know him but a few have known of him. I reckon it’s been tough going since 2008 when Louisiana outlawed the sport that kept the man’s bills paid and put food on the table. Continue Reading

Etta Sullivan, Lily Taylor, and my grandma Nellie Sullivan

Prologue: This is post number 5,000 on the Scrumptious Chef site. It took 10 years and five months to hit this mark. Thanks y’all. RL Reeves Jr

“Boy you’re not gonna amount to a hill of beans” was my grandma Nellie Sullivan’s standard exclamation anytime I did something that got her ire up. Continue Reading

9th Ward Daily Photo via rl reeves jr

We’re looking back at the career of trombone player Roy Palmer, born today in the Carrollton neighborhood of New Orleans in 1892. It’s good to take a break from Big 6 and Hot 8 and listen to the cats those players’ great grandpas revered when they were young.

We’ve got the State Street Ramblers featuring Palmer heating it up with Kentucky Blues on the Hi Fi right now and it’s providing a rare window into that long-gone world. It was recorded on March 19th, 1931. Continue Reading