Singer-pianist Allen Toussaint and Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews have picked up one of the highest honors of this music-minded city, chosen as the subjects for two official posters representing the 2009 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Toussaint and Andrews led a jazz band that opened and ended a news conference with a burst of music Tuesday as the posters were unveiled.
"I cannot think of a higher honor," said Toussaint, 71. "The music may stop, but this poster is forever."
On the festival's official poster - by New Orleans painter James Michalopoulos - a smiling Toussaint stands in the street playing a piano with the French Quarter behind him.
On the festival's Congo Square poster, a muscular Andrews sporting sunglasses and a trombone sits curbside outside a jazz club - the creation of New Orleans-born artist Gilbert Fletcher, who now lives and works in New York.
Both posters will be sold at the seven-day Jazz Fest that spans two weekends, April 24-26 and April 30-May 3. Performers expected for the outdoor music event include The Neville Brothers, Neil Young, Dr. John, The O'Jays, Bon Jovi, Etta James, Sugarland, Tony Bennett, Bonnie Raitt and dozens of other acts.
Toussaint performs May 3, the festival's closing day. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame performer, who received the Recording Academy Trustees Award during this year's Grammy Awards, is depicted with the steeple of the historic St. Louis Cathedral backing him in colorful purple and blue hues.
It's the fifth Jazz Fest poster by Michalopoulos, whose previous posters featured Dr. John in 1998, Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong in 2001, Mahalia Jackson in 2003 and Fats Domino in 2006.
At 23, Andrews is one of the youngest artists to appear on a poster. He has participated in brass band marches since he was a child, carrying a trombone even before his arms were long enough to fully operate the slide.
Andrews was tapped by Lenny Kravitz to be a featured member of his horn section for a world tour. He also toured with the rock group Aerosmith. But mostly, he leads his own band, Orleans Avenue, which will perform April 24 on Jazz Fest's opening day.
The festival's official poster dates to 1975, when the first one was produced as a fifth anniversary fundraiser for the nonprofit New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation. The Congo Square poster is only in its 10th year of production.
While many of the early festival posters were abstracts, most for more than a decade have been portrait-like renderings of such performers as Professor Longhair, Jerry Lee Lewis, Harry Connick, Jr., Pete Fountain and Wynton Marsalis.
Soul singer Irma Thomas graced last year's Jazz Fest poster by artist Douglas Bourgeois. Kermit Ruffins, a jazz trumpeter, composer and singer, was on last year's Congo Square poster by artist Margaret Slade Kelley.