5 pieces: Bacchanal What Now?, St Roch Market, Bunarchy Ball, Techno Bull and the Wild Lotus Band (NewOrleans.me. May 2015).

Click the titles to read each story in its entirety…

1) BacchanalNew Orleans’s music community, food community and its drinking community were all saddened to lose Bacchanal wine bar owner Chris Rudge on March 13 in his sleep of heart failure at the young age of 40. More than just a business owner, Rudge will be remembered as having started a community verging on family, and showing a lot of people the time of their lives. In the meantime, the iconic business and brand he founded continues to operate, adapt and grow. “We’re hanging in there, super busy,” says Bacchanal co-owner Beau Ross, who knew Rudge since their college days planning parties together in Tallahassee, Florida in the early 90s. Ross owns Bacchanal along with Chef Joaquin Rodas; both were part owners for the last two years, with verbal agreements stretching back five or so years.

2) St Roch Market: This weekend, The St. Roch Market opens – or rather, re-opens, but with a different feel, different purpose and what will surely be a different clientele. Outside, the market’s facade looks handsome and traditional. A mass of shiny silver chairs gleams invitingly out front. Another army of chairs in back faces the St. Roch neighborhood and its recently refurbished neutral ground. How the market will fit into the neighborhood it is named for remains to be seen, but like the bright orange Healing Center across the street, it will likely change the area while serving it.

3) Bunarchy: On Easter weekend the bunnies come out in New Orleans – to catch a buzz, for a cause. Bunarchy, the most wild and wonderful collision of rabbits, booze and charity, begins on April 4 at 6pm. “It’s not a rabbit fetish of mine, per se,” says Bunarchy patriarch Dan Sheridan, who started the Easter adjacent, rabbit-themed pub crawl in 2009, inspired by a similar event in Detroit. “My wife is from Detroit and she had gone to Bunarchy there. When I imported her to New Orleans she suggested we start a Bunarchy here. And since I know how to throw parties…”

The Running of the Techno Bull4) New Orleans Techno BullDJ Mike Feduccia always desired to bring the party to the people. “We used to do all the second line parades,” explain Feduccia, “and everyone’s always accepting, and we’d play the drums here and there. But it didn’t always feel like our thing – more like we were there as guests.” Nowadays Feduccia is the party – on wheels. The DJ and friends push the famous New Orleans Techno Bull down New Orleans’s streets, blaring and bumping custom electronic party mixes, plus Feduccia’s own original dance music. Feduccia explains the bull’s origins: “We procured a shopping cart, welded some bigger wheels on it. Then we got some sheet metal and copper and went over to a friend’s house before Mardi Gras in 2007, and we took a step back and went through some ideas of what it looked like, what it could be – we perceived a bull.”

5) Wild Lotus BandWild Lotus is not only a successful chain of local yoga studios, with locations Uptown and in the Marigny, but also a live local band that plays its own modernized, New Orleans version of Indian “kirtan” music. “The lyrics are mantras – some are Sanskrit words,” explains Wild Lotus band leader, Sean Johnson, a vocalist who also plays the harmonium. “It’s all energy based sound, sung to change our stage of consciousness.” Despite the obscure genre, the ten-year-old band fits easily into New Orleans. With Alvin Young on bass and guitar, and vocalist Gwendolyn Coleman on percussion from the cajon to the frame drum, Wild Lotus entrances unsuspecting crowds at events like the Jazz and Heritage Festival, which hosted the band this year.

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