About a decade ago I read Jools Holland in interview saying that South London is Britain's Mississippi Delta. Before the Thames Barrier was built, the Thames would regularly break its Southern bank. The land between the Thames and the old Watling Street (now the A2) would regularly be underwater: South of the Watling Street, on the hillsides, are where the Victorian boureoisie would settle, now a series of re-gentrified "conservation areas"; North of the Watling Street were the riverine riff-raff. Jools Holland was actually born on the dry side, in Blackheath, but I think he's right that there's something about the precarious living that characterised both Deptford and the land between the Peabody Hotel and the end of Catfish Row, something that drives a special sort of creativity.
At any rate, tomorrow and Saturday, the O2 on the North Greenwich Penninsular is hosting a free New Orleans festival. I've never been to the O2 (and only once to its predecessor, the Dome: to attend the worst of all of Ken Livingstone's [I nearly wrote "the late Ken Livingstone's"] "Respect" festivals, a bad experience as the burly entrance guards confiscated all of my booze on entry); it always seemed like too "corporate" a venue for someone as cool as me.
But check out the line-up: Dr John, Allen Toussaint, Buckwheat Zydeco, Rebirth Brass Band, Kermit Ruffins, Marcia Ball - some of the best musicians of our age.
Listen: Dr John at Star Maker Machine. Allen Toussaint at Scott Ford Radio, at Roll & Grady, at The Leather Canary.
Related posts: Where is Sarf London?; Pigfeet in Brixton; South London cinematic; Jerry Wexler (featuring Deptford's Dire Straits and N'Orlins' Dr John); Brass (featuring Rebirth); Katrina anniversary soundtrack; An anarchist letter from New Orleans; Randy Newman "Rednecks".
Elsewhere: Deptford music; Celebrating NOLA; Dear Dr Beats; Blogarhythms on Allen Toussaint.
UPDATE: History is Made at Night on Mardi Gras