LALA Land : Angelenos Will Get a Chance to Sample a Slice of Louisiana at Cultural Festival


It may be the holidays, but the Louisiana to Los Angeles (LALA) Organizing Committee is already looking ahead to February and another winter season of bon temps --good times.

With Mardi Gras in mind, the committee kicked off a campaign last week at Fifth Street Dick’s to promote the annual Louisiana culture festival to be held Feb. 18 and 19 in Leimert Park.

Parading down 43rd Place, blowing police whistles and waving fur-trimmed parasols, about 50 committee members and curious onlookers got a taste of things to come as they joined together in a spirited “second line,” the unofficial party dance of old New Orleans.

“We want to do a series of events this year leading up to the festival,” committee member Fred Thomas explained.


Thomas said second-line troupes and accompanying bands plan to travel the Southland to raise awareness about the upcoming festival, now in its seventh year.

Between the live Dixieland jazz music and dancing, the committee unveiled the official graphic by local artist Avery Clayton that will advertise the festival.

Clayton, best known for his ink renderings of black historical figures, said he merged Los Angeles and Louisiana for the project, done in watercolor: A jazz band marches down a street past a New Orleans-style frame house, palm trees jutting overhead and the Hollywood Hills--decorated with a “Baldwin Hills” sign--in the distance.

A banner held aloft by marchers proclaims “Laissez le Bontemps Roulez” (“Let the Good Times Roll”).

“I really wanted to combine the best elements of both places,” said Clayton, who was commissioned to do murals for the 1984 Summer Olympics.

Thomas said the next LALA festival will be one of firsts: the first to span two days instead of one and the first to feature a “walk of fame” that pays tribute to the community people who helped found the festival and keep it going.