Bal Masqué happens this weekend, kids, and as I write they may have tickets left. You can find out by going here, but you might want to know a bit more about the event before you commit?

The event is a fundraiser for the Link Stryjewski foundation, which was founded by chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski. They tell me the name is a coincidence and as they are credible people I believe them. They are also, of course, hugely talented chefs and outstanding people and this is a great event.

You and I are both out of luck for the dinner tomorrow night at Calcasieu. We’ll miss four courses prepared by chefs Link, Stryjewski and Andrew Carmellini, of Locanda Verde, The Dutch, Lafayette, and Leuca, all in NYC.

There remains space for the Bal Masqué itself on Saturday night, however, and the link above will take you where you need to be if where you need to be is a place to buy tickets. Allow me to share part of a press release with you where the music is concerned:

The Haitian band RAM will headline the fourth annual Link Stryjewski Foundation Bal Masqué. RAM’s ancient, folkloric polyrhythms intertwine harmoniously with rock guitar riffs and swinging Caribbean keyboard melodies. They have been performing all over the world for more than 25 years and played Bal Masqué 2018. RAM will be joined by The Vermilionaires (featuring Lost Bayou Ramblers’ Louis and Andre Michot), Cha Wa, The Original Pinettes Brass Band, The Roots of Music, and New Orleans burlesque icon Trixie Minx and the Merry Antoinettes Mardi Gras krewe.

Which sounds pretty swell, no? Here’s the kicker, though. The Link Stryjewski foundation is the sort of outfit that we can all get behind. They’re local and they focus on kids in New Orleans who may need a hand negotiating their way through difficult times. I’m not going to tell you not to donate to charities or organizations that do good work elsewhere, but if you have an option, doesn’t it make sense to donate to an outfit that does good work and does it here?

In other news, I must regret to inform you that I have had to turn down the offer to appear on stage at Jazz Fest his year with the Rolling Stones. If you’ve already purchased your $180 tickets and only did so to hear my tambourine stylings alongside Mick, Keith, Charlie and Ronnie, you’re SOL. Turns out that despite my long history with the band (that’s me singing backup on Gimme Shelter) they did not put me on the list for free tickets.

I blame myself for the bad blood with Mick, Keith and Ronnie, but the rest of it is all on Watts.