By Melissa Fossum
By Lauren Wise
By New Times
By Amanda Savage
By Jason P. Woodbury
By Troy Farah
By New Times
Back home, these guys would live and breathe music, and work was plentiful. Jones proudly talks about how his band used to play four to five gigs a week (and when they were really busy, sometimes several in one night). The Treme Brass Band has an accomplished lineup -- Ray Charles, Fats Domino, and the Neville Brothers are just a few of the legends that some of the members have performed with over the years -- and along with a long-running Friday night set at Dinah's Bar & Grill, the group would perform regularly at carnivals, parades, jazz funerals, convention events, and on tour dates around the world.
People in Arizona have been really nice, Jones says, and he'd consider staying here for a while if he had the work. He has a granddaughter who lives in Chandler, and they talk often. But it seems like Jones really misses New Orleans when he reminisces about the parades. He's well-known for organizing eight- or 15-piece brass bands for parades sponsored by such community groups as the Black Men of Labor Social Aid & Pleasure Club, and the Young Men's Olympian Social Aid & Pleasure Club. All of the musicians would wear sharp black suits, white shirts and band hats, and Jones would lead the way for a four-hour parade. Thousands of people would come out to cheer them on.
The memory seems to keep him going as he deals with more basic problems, like transportation, coming up with rent, and continuing to pay the mortgage on his water-damaged house, where shingles blew off the roof, walls started caving in and the furniture was ruined. He says people are already going back to the neighborhood, and he plans on returning as well.
"It may take a while, but it'll bounce back," he says.
Don't be surprised if the rebirth of New Orleans has a great soundtrack.