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The Best FREE Things to Do for the Next Week

I have known the fabulous and talented photographer Cheryl Gerber since we were both very green young journalists. We once joked that it must have been a kindergarten teacher who first pulled us together, pointed at me and commanded “You, write about this,” then to Cheryl, “You, take the pictures.”

It is, therefore, my great pleasure to inform of the release of Cheryl’s gorgeous new book “Cherchez la Femme: New Orleans Women” this evening from 6-9 p.m. at the New Orleans Jazz Museum (400 Esplanade Ave., nolajazzmuseum.org) to celebrate the launch of the book and accompanying exhibit. Cheryl, New Orleans native, captures the vibrancy and diversity of New Orleans women in her new book. Inspired by the 2017 Women’s March in Washington, DC, “Cherchez la Femme” includes over two hundred photographs of the city’s most well-known women and the everyday women who make our city so rich and diverse. Drawing from her own archives as well as new works, Gerber’s selection of photographs in “Cherchez la Femme” highlights the contributions of women to the city, making it one of the only photographic histories of modern New Orleans women. The book includes 12 essays written by female writers about such women as Leah Chase, Irma Thomas, Mignon Faget, and Trixie Minx. Also featured are prominent groups of women that have made their mark on the city, like the Mardi Gras Indians, Baby Dolls, and the Krewe of Muses, among others. The book is divided into eleven chapters, each celebrating the women who add to New Orleans’s uniqueness, including entertainers, socialites, activists, musicians, chefs, entrepreneurs, spiritual leaders, and burlesque artists. The event is free and open to the public. Music will be provided by Danny Barker Banjo and Guitar Festival.

Tomorrow night, the Ace Hotel New Orleans (600 Carondelet St, 504-900-1180, acehotelneworleans.com) is offering a free AfroXotica Dance Class that explores movements of Africa and the Caribbeans with choreography taught by Andrea Peoples, special guest Bill Summers and DJ Ojay. “Hype man” Kodjo will keep energy high throughout the class, and guests are encouraged to be free and expressive, while getting fit, relieving stress and learning something new.  The event is free and starts at 9:30 p.m. but RSVP is required.

Next Wednesday, the Ace will feature a Talk with the Psychedelic Society of New Orleans, which creates a safe space to discuss psychedelics, joining the global effort to offer education on their numerous applications in medicine, science, psychiatry, religion, the arts and more. The event is free with RSVP and begins at 7 p.m.

Next Thursday evening, the Ace will celebrate Big Chief Bo Dollis Jr.’s Birthday Bash with the Wild Magnolias in the on-site Three Keys Lounge. Issuing a critically acclaimed LP in 1974, The Wild Magnolias have gone on to perform at Carnegie Hall and the Capitol Center in Washington D.C. Today, the late bandleader Big Chief Bo Dollis Sr’s wife, Big Queen Rita, and son, “Lil” Bo Dollis Jr., carry the torch for the band, weaving modern funk into the band’s contemporary repertoire while preserving the generations deep music, traditions and rituals of Bo Dollis Sr’s band. The event is free and open to the public, and begins at 8 p.m.

Have a great week, everyone. Use it to celebrate the people and the community you love.


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