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Mar 11, 201309:35 AM
New Orleans Voices

Our City Talks Back

Ronnie Kole: New Orleans Music Legend

Ronnie Kole, a beloved figure in New Orleans, is a renowned jazz pianist and musical legend. He has shared his distinctive piano music with dignitaries and fans worldwide, including Pope John Paul II and six American presidents. In 2008, Kole was inducted into the New Orleans Music Legends Park on Bourbon Street, where his life-size bronze statue is displayed. Kole tells us why his parents wanted him to learn the piano and recounts how hard his father had to work to be able to afford Kole's first instrument. Kole went on the road when he was 16 years old; he shares the story of how he was able to play music in bars, even though he was underage.


Jazz on the Bayou, on March 23 and 24, 2013, is Kole's big annual spring fundraiser. Easter Seals and STARC are the beneficiaries of Kole's event. To date, the fundraiser has raised more than $1 million. To order tickets and learn more about Jazz on the Bayou, visit JazzontheBayou.com. Listen to the podcast here.


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New Orleans Voices

Our City Talks Back


Craig Kraemer grew up in New Orleans on Lowerline Street, across from the Carrollton Cemetery. As a child, he watched countless Jazz Funerals wind their way into the cemetery long before Jazz Funerals became cool. He remembers Hurricane Betsy and Mayor Vic Schiro’s famous quote to panicked citizens: “...don’t believe any false rumors unless they come from me...”


Kraemer lives now in Faubourg Saint John near picturesque Bayou St. John. (He prefers the term "faubourg" to"neighborhood" to reflect his pride in New Orleans’ French heritage.) Although his father’s family was originally from Germany, Kraemer’s ancestors—who established the town of Kraemer, Louisiana— adopted Cajun culture and traditions. His mother's family came straight from Paris to settle in New Orleans.


Kraemer's day job is as a videographer and graphic designer for his company, Kraemer Advertising. Kraemer's ongoing projects include filming productions for the New Orleans Opera, and symposiums and events for the Historic New Orleans Collection. In addition, he provides a variety of web videos and other film and graphic services for corporate and business clients. Kraemer's love for history and tradition have led him to recently open a new business: CK Digital Memories. This unique service allows Kraemer to apply his skills as an award-winning documentarian, film editor and visual designer to film and produce very personal and comprehensive Family History Video Documentaries for discerning clients. These broadcast quality productions capture the life stories of traditionalists who value their family legacies and heritages.


Kraemer’s clients understand the importance of preserving family history and achievements. They put high value on their history and want lasting video tributes to share their family pride with generations to come. In his work, Kraemer films clients as they recount family stories and share personal reminiscences. He then edits the video to include photographs and home movies the family provides. To add richness and ambiance, Kraemer adds music selections that relate to the stories and their eras, and includes photo images of cherished heirlooms or objects that have special family meaning. The result is a unique family chronicle, an enduring testament to a family’s continuing heritage. 


Kraemer started his New Orleans Podcasting site as a community service four months following Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans was in dire need of positive stories after the massive devastation of the storm. The national media were taking care of the negative stories. However, those who had stayed through Katrina, who were still in the city or who had just returned were eager to talk about the good things that were happening, however small they were. Kraemer’s weekly podcast interviews provided much needed injections of hope as they regularly highlighted positive stories throughout the city. Today, Kraemer continues to gather positive and unique stories to inform locals and the world about the wonderful place we call home.




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