Congo Square - newly reopened after years of post-Katrina repair - will come alive with the sounds of Africa, Cuba, Brazil and New Orleans at the fifth annual Congo Square Rhythms Festival, presented March 24-25 by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation. Admission is free. See: www.congosquarerhythms.com.
But that's just one of many events that weekend celebrating the confluence of cultures in New Orleans.
There's also the fourth annual Tom Dent Congo Square Symposium. The conference explores the origins of art as an ancient cry of the human spirit for help from the gods, and they ways that impulse has traveled space and time to emerge in the vernacular traditions of New Orleans street culture. Two of the leading scholars of African and African-American culture - Yale professor Robert Farris Thompson and former National Endowment for the Humanities chairman William Ferris - will be featured speakers. Full details are online at www.congosquaretalks.info.
The weekend's many events also includes our new contest for Louisiana high schools to create brass bands - and win up to $10,000 in instruments for their school's band programs. Class Got Brass is a new initiative of the Jazz & Heritage Foundation. For full details, see www.classgotbrass.com.
There are many more events that weekend. See the complete rundown at www.congosquarerhythms.com.