Downtown Boulder is about to become the Big Easy for an afternoon, thanks to the efforts of a University of Colorado Boulder professor.
The event, Laissez les bons temps rouler or Let the Good Times Roll, will transform Downtown Boulder’s Civic Park on Sunday, Sept. 23, into a free Louisiana-inspired public arts event, beginning with an on-campus parade and ending with a large community dance party featuring local and nationally recognized musicians and artists.
“Louisiana is the heart of great food, the birth of cool, the soul of celebration or partying. It is its own signature, a gumbo. All of its ingredients combined, cooked together, create a remarkable place that is unlike any other,” said Helanius J. Wilkins, a Louisiana native and an assistant professor in theatre and dance at CU Boulder. “Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler will offer a slice of what makes Louisiana unique for all to enjoy.”
The Civic Park area will be divided into two experiences for the event. The first will feature Jo Jo Reed & the Happy Hill Zydeco Band from Eunice, LA—a Colorado favorite. The second will be a nine-piece brass band composed of some of Denver and Boulder’s leading musicians, including CU Boulder alum Decker Babcock, on the west side of Broadway near the new 11th Street bridge.
There will also be a mixed media visual arts installation by Joyce Ellen Weinstein, a New York City-based internationally recognized artist, and Roma Flowers, that allows for a different kind of intimate look at the texture, geography and heart of Louisiana. As well, Mile High Cajun Food Truck and catering will be at the event with southern food bites.
My vision for this event is to illuminate the vibrancy of Louisiana while bringing attention to how heritage and blurring lines between artists and audiences create space for embracing diversity and strengthening community.”
“My vision for this event is to illuminate the vibrancy of Louisiana while bringing attention to how heritage and blurring lines between artists and audiences create space for embracing diversity and strengthening community,” said Wilkins.
Wilkins, an award-winning choreographer, organized the event as the culminating event for [UN]W.R.A.P.: Traversing Memory: Performing Resistance & Resilience, a week-long intermedia symposium that melds text and richly physicalized ritual with issues of race, culture and inclusivity.
Laissez les bons temps rouler’s parade will begin right after the finale of A Bon Coeur—Wilkins solo project performance—at the Charlotte York Irey Theatre at 3:30 on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. The parade includes the Montebello High School Drumline and members of Nancy Smith’s Frequent Flyers on stilts and will travel to the edge of campus at the Alumni Center. From there, attendees will be led by performers to continue walking down to Boulder’s Civic Park area. The free events there will then begin as early as 4:00.
Event attendees are strongly encouraged to consider public transportation or car sharing services as parking may prove difficult.
The event was made possible by the CU Boulder Office for Outreach and Engagement and the Boulder Office of Arts and Culture’s Public Arts Program.