May 4th we are celebrating the rich heritage of the great city of New Orleans, LA. From the food, music, festivals to the unique culture of the city, we can all agree there is NO PLACE like NOLA, baby! KMEZ 102.9 salutes New Orleans by giving you exclusive interviews with some of your favorite artists and public figures giving you a taste of what New Orleans means to them.
Known as the Queen of Bounce music, Big Freedia is a New Orleans-based hip-hop artist, chef, entrepreneur, and worldwide ambassador of bounce music. After a series of multiple hit singles, Freedia was tapped for a reality show, Big Freedia Bounces Back on Fuse TV which remains the highest-rated original series on the network. Big Freedia has worked with some big artists in the world like Beyonce on Formation and Drake’s Nice for What both songs were number one on the charts. Big Freedia is a game-changer and pioneer.
Mannie Fresh New Orleans Super Producer is the reason the New Orleans Sound is what it is today. In the late 1980s, Mannie and Gregory D. released their first album entire “Throwdown” in 1987… Mannie Fresh Born and Raised in the 7th ward is 1 half of the Big Tymers and is the brains behind most of the hottest songs in the south in the 90s and early 2000s. Mannie produced the song of the decade “ Back That Thang Up” With Juvenile and Lil Wayne in 1999. In 2004, he released his debut solo album The Mind of Mannie Fresh, featuring the single “Real Big,” which peaked on the Billboard Hot 100.
“The Soul Queen of New Orleans” is Irma Thomas a Grammy Award Winning singer who grew up uptown on Melpomene Street and honed her singing ability at the Mission Baptist Church. Thomas attended New Orleans McDonald 41 Public School where her very first record was the school song. This led to an expansive career where Irma topped the Billboard Charts numerous times including her 1960’s hit “(You Can Have My Husband But) Don’t Mess With My Man,” which reached the national R&B chart.
Marc H. Morial was the youngest person elected Mayor in the city’s history, following in his father’s footsteps Ernest N. Dutch Morial who was the first African American mayor of New Orleans elected in 1977. Marc Morial born and raised in Pontchartrain Park and graduated from Jesuit High School being one of the first 14 black students to attend the school at the time. Today Marc is President and CEO of the National Urban League, the nation’s largest historic civil rights and urban advocacy organization.
Celebrated as one of the most influential vocalists of the 20th century is Mahala Jackson… Born and raised uptown in the Black Pearl, where she lived in a shotgun home with 13 family members and was baptized in the Mississippi River at 12… Nationwide recognition came for Jackson in 1947 with the release of “Move On Up a Little Higher ”, selling two million copies and hitting the number two spot on The Billboard charts. Jackson sang at the March on Washington, performed at John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Ball, and two years before her passing Mahala Jackson performed at the 1970 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Multi-Platinum, Grammy Award-winning Music Guru and Celebrity DJ And producer DJ Khaled born and raised in New Orleans, Where he worked at Odyssey Record store where he met Birdman and Lil Wayne before moving to Orlando, Florida. Fast Forward 25 years Khaled has worked with some of the biggest artists of today from Justin Bieber, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, and Drake just to name a few. Nobody has an Instagram or Snapchat following like Khaled. Nowadays Khaled is working with Dolce and Gabbana dropping a beachwear line.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Tarriona “Tank” Ball is the personification of the spirit of New Orleans which she freely shares with the world as the lead vocalist of Tank and the Bangas. The group’s mix of R&B, hip-hop’s, spoken word, and New Orleans sass has led them touring all over the world and earmarked them for a 2020 Grammy Award in the Best New Artist category. With 5 nationally released projects under their belt New Orleans is well represented by Tank and the Bangas who are posed to knock down more doors with a style that can’t be contained.
You just can’t celebrate the Spirit of New Orleans without mentioning the biggest fan of the city the late Tom Benson, for over 70 years the crescent city has benefited from Benson’s career in business and professional sports. Mr. Benson served as the owner of the New Orleans Pelicans since 2012 and the New Orleans Saints from 1985 until his death on March 15, 2018. He was survived by his wife Gayle.
Mayor Cantrell’s life has been steeped in community service. As a little girl, her grandmother would bring her to neighborhood meetings, and by the age of 13, she was serving as secretary for her local chamber of commerce. Elected to the City Council in 2012, Cantrell has prioritized improving people’s lives. On May 7, 2018, Mayor Cantrell was sworn in as the first female Mayor of New Orleans, just in time to celebrate the city’s tricentennial or 300th anniversary. She is a dedicated wife to her husband, Jason, a proud mother of her daughter, RayAnn, and a parishioner at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church.