In their first cultural exploration of the year, my VCU Brandcenter students roamed Richmond’s popular First Friday’s ArtWalk. The monthly event features hundreds of artists and dozens of galleries. This month, it also featured art involving light and even a light-themed fashion show. Maybe the best part of the event was the music. The Hot 8 Brass Band flew in from New Orleans to give a spectacular performance…or did they?

Actually, the band flew in from a variety of places, since they were evacuated from New Orleans and forced to move in with relatives. Cheers to Curated Culture, the organizers of the ArtWalk for working through the complicated arrangements to get Hot 8 members to Richmond and cheers to the band for sticking it out. One final cheer to my brother, Steve O’Keefe, who is also a New Orleans evacuee for giving me the scoop on the band’s travel. Steve was cruising the walk yesterday while sulking about having to sit out another hurricane at my home. Then someone with a Creole accent shouted “Hey Steve…Is that you?” It was the band’s manager, who works across the street from Steve in New Orleans. Steve exchanged greetings and hurricane stories with the band, making for a pleasant taste of home on a stormy Richmond night.