Hope to see you this Saturday night in Olde Towne for the annual Arts Evening party. Yes, I like to call it a party because everyone I see there is having a lot of fun.
Arts Evening is one of the best events all year long to promote Olde Towne and is put together in a great way, with many businesses keeping their doors open after hours to invite folks in as part of the Arts Evening tour.
Slidell Cultural Director Alex Carollo told me there will be over 20 entertainers or bands playing inside and out at Olde Towne locations, and you will find local artists displaying their talent in dozens of businesses.
One extra highlight for the evening is the unveiling of a Leadership Northshore project of which Alex just happens to be a team member. The project is called “Olde Towne History Scroll Stroll” and is a fantastic idea the group came up with to offer a walking tour of the Olde Towne area, with specific sites marked with a stainless steel scroll that has historical information on it.
I saw one of the scrolls recently and it was beautiful. Not only does the project bring attention to our historic downtown area, but it involves an Olde Towne artist since it is Joel Geiger of I.D.eel Design Gallery in Olde Towne who created the scrolls. Local designer Tommy St. Clair created the vinyl decal that has the information on it.
Once again, props to the Leadership Northshore organization for leading the way to inspire local business leaders to do something special for our community.
Hope to see you Saturday night where you will see the work of over 100 artists at 40 locations in Olde Towne.
I got inspired this past weekend when my wife and I were on the Gulf Coast and saw Willie Nelson perform. We had seen him over a year ago since we take in many of the music shows in Biloxi, but this time we especially wanted to be at the concert since he has been ill in recent months and had to cancel some shows.
On Friday night we got to see the longtime performer up close and it was some kind of show to see this man at the age of 83 playing his guitar like some teen. Seriously, it is amazing to watch the talent so many people have—whether playing a guitar, the piano, singing, or any number of other things.
I happen to play guitar myself so I probably have a little extra insight about what musicians do and I was so impressed to watch Nelson work his magic playing rhythm and lead on his guitar that was so old, and had been used for so many years, that some of the wood on the front was literally worn away from being strummed so many times.
Nelson cancelled a number of shows last year for what his management team called “health concerns” and it does appear he has lost some of his singing ability. A report from October, 2015 said Nelson underwent stem cell surgery on his lungs, and while his singing is more talking the lyrics than singing now, it didn’t seem to matter much since the veteran musician had such a presence about him on stage that everyone was cheering all night long.
Watching Nelson on stage had me thinking about my own age, now at 62, and helped remind me that I’m still young compared to what could be an average life span—now reported to be 78 for men in the United States. And for that matter, I know I’ve taken pretty good care of myself with exercise and eating moderately (my kids would say I eat a little less than that!), so hopefully I’ve got more than 16 more years left in the old body.
My father-in-law, Pat Sullivan, used to get after me when I said anything about my age since he was, naturally, a bit older than me. But watching Nelson on stage, doing what he loved as well as he ever did, reminded me that age has very little bearing on your contribution to society and to others.
There was Willie Nelson doing something that thousands of people still enjoy. And for me, I love writing stories that I certainly hope many people enjoy. Additionally, I have the opportunity with the newspaper to do good for others by promoting important causes, keeping the community aware of what our public officials are doing, and then providing some simple, hometown entertainment through our local newspapers.
I count it a privilege to have had the opportunity to bring back the local papers for both the east and west sides of St. Tammany Parish. And I get to produce the papers with the help of two daughters, Chrissy Smith and Jennifer Weisheit. We have a lot of fun doing this together and I don’t think I could have gotten a better situation to go to work every day—especially since “the office” happens to be two bedrooms at my house!
Thanks Willie for a little reminder about life. See—our “elders” really do have a lot to still teach us.
Kevin Chiri can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.