Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Casa Marina Hosting Artistic Taste of New Orleans Bash

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Casa Marina Hosting Artistic Taste of New Orleans Bash

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Faulkner, Shorelines correspondent

The Casa Marina is bringing a little bit of the French Quarter to the Beaches.

The Jacksonville Beach Hotel and Restaurant is hosting its Taste of New Orleans festival tonight, featuring food, drinks, music and art inspired by the city's annual Mardi Gras party and strong artistic heritage. The event also honors Black History Month, celebrated throughout February.

General Manager Linda Grimes said the night combines two long-running monthly events at her hotel and restaurant -- the World Cuisine Night and Ocean Wine Club. Tonight's festival combines both events under a common theme.

"We have everything that's New Orleans," Grimes said. "We have everything you could get, and the whole building turns into this event. . . . It's a marvelous day, a whole evening of culture, music, events and dancing."

The Delta Dave Blues Band will provide music for the night. The band has performed throughout the Beaches, including the George's Music Springin' the Blues Festival. Drummer Jim Weber said the band has played all of the New Orleans-themed restaurants in the area, as Delta Dave Johnson's carries on the traditions of the old blues masters.

"Dave is one of the few real blues men still performing, actually," Weber said. "Blues has changed over the years, but Dave carries on in the tradition of the New Orleans style. He's real excited to be back in Jacksonville Beach and wants to stay as long as he can."

Featured artists include Suzanne Pickett, Glendia Cooper and Daniel Wynn. Grimes said she invited artists in a variety of mediums to showcase different art styles.

Pickett plans to bring some ethnic art, ethnic sculptures, clay sculptures and large-scale, landscape-type mixed-media works to the festival from her Springfield gallery. Although she's never had a show at a restaurant/hotel before, Pickett believes events like this are becoming more common. They're like a comfortable blind date for artists and residents who have never entered their city's artistic community before. …

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