Wendell Pierce in ‘Brothers From The Bottom’

by Jordan McGuire on May 6, 2015


Brothers from the Bottom will commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and star Tony Award winner Wendell Pierce in a limited engagement. Here’s the press release: 

Following their acclaimed Brooklyn run, the award-winning Billie Holiday Theater (BHT) at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) Stage Company join forces to present the Post-Katrina play set in New Orleans, Brothers from the Bottom, starring Wendell Pierce who also joins this team, as a producer. The limited engagement, in commemoration of the 10th year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, will run from June 5 – 28, 2015 at the Lupin Hall at NOCCA.

Brothers from the Bottom, written and directed by BHT Artistic Director, Jackie Alexander, deals with the hot button topic of gentrification. In the play, a real estate project threatens the fabric of a New Orleans neighborhood, and unravels the bond between brothers. In this “naturalistic play,” “the acting stands way above the flood line.” With a “terrific” performance by Mr. Pierce and a “particularly exuberant” performance by Kevin Mambo, the play is “ground[ed] by the actor’s sensitivity and verve. The neighborhood may need renewal and repair. These performances don’t.”  – New York Times

Wendell Pierce, an accomplished Julliard trained actor, has conquered all realms of media with critically praised performances in theater, film, television and broadcast radio. The TONY, Emmy, Obie and Peabody winning actor and producer is best known for his portrayals on HBO’s ground breaking television series’ The Wire and Treme. Pierce was also in this year’s Oscar nominee for Best Picture, SELMA. Pierce will also soon be releasing a personal memoir, THE WIND IN THE REEDS, an insightful and poignant portrait of family, New Orleans and the transforming power of art (RIVERHEAD BOOKS / Sept. 8th, 2015). Pierce states, “The 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is a significant moment in the recent history of our country.  Brothers from the Bottom does what art does best: challenge, elevate and illuminate the conversation.”

The cast includes two-time Emmy Award winner Kevin Mambo, who played the title role in Fela! on Broadway, as well as Toccarra Cash, Thaddeus Daniels, Wendell Franklin andMegan Robinson.

Brothers from the Bottom, writer and director, Alexander, is a prolific award winning actor, writer, producer and director for theater and film.

With: Original Music: Edward Anderson and Darrell Lavigne (Bleu Orleans); Set Design: Felix Cochren (Broadway credits: Amen Corner, Inacent Black, Home); Assistant Set Designer: Patrice Davidson; Costume Design: Helen Simmons-Collen; Lighting Design: Joyce Liao; Sound Design: Douglas Forbes; Stage Manager: Norman Smalls

NOCCA Stage Company is excited to provide this once in a lifetime chance for NOCCA students to work directly with these incredible artists that are part of Brothers from the Bottom. Work on set building and staging, masterclass rehearsals begins in mid-May which provides the perfect big picture insight to the students in the Theatre Arts Department at NOCCA.  NOCCA is proud to be part of this incredible moment that will shape the local theatre scene for many years to come.

Tickets and Showtimes

The Billie Holiday Theatre at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, NOCCA Stage Company and Wendell Pierce present


Hurricane Katrina 10th Anniversary: Commemorative Performances

Written and directed by Jackie Alexander

Starring Wendell Pierce* and featuring Kevin Mambo*, Toccarra Cash*, Thaddeus Daniels, Wendell Franklin* and Megan Robinson*

Show Times: June 5 – 28, 2015; Fridays at 8 pm | Saturdays at 3 & 8 pm | Sundays at 2 & 7pm

Lupin Hall at NOCCA, 2800 Chartres St., New Orleans, Louisiana

TICKETS: General Admission: $30.00 / Seniors and Students with ID: $25.00

Buy tickets online at or call: 504.940.2800


3 DAYS TO VOODOO: Trombone Shorty

by Jordan McGuire on October 28, 2014

69-og-webWith the smooth vocals of Lionel Richie, Lenny Kravitz and the playful presence of Cab Calloway, this cool twenty-eight year old fronts a truly homegrown band. Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews has the diverse ability to belt out fast-paced jazz/funk/hip-hop to get the party started, or take you to head-bobbing tranquility to rival any techno tent.

Plain and simple, try to remain still while listening to Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue.

Horn-driven and melody-rich, Trombone Shorty’s sound is transcendent, a boy who was born to groove. Raised in the Tremé, Andrews participated in brass band parades and was a bandleader by the age of six. Andrews later learned the academic underpinnings to his street sounds as a student at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA).

Over the last half decade, Trombone Shorty has solidified himself as more than a six-year-old savant. He’s a legend in residence. Shorty’s Grammy-nominated group plays the Voodoo Experience on Sunday, November 2nd from 4:45-6:00 pm. Tickets are at

Here’s Shorty at age thirteen, already swinging his bone with the best of them:

Here he is all grown up:


New Orleans New Writers Literary Festival 2011

by Arthur Vandelay on February 14, 2011


New Orleans– Lusher Charter High School and New Orleans Center for Creative Arts are collaborating once again to produce the fourth year of a remarkable two-day event for high school students:  New Orleans New Writers Literary Festival. The Festival, coordinated by Lusher faculty member Brad Richard and NOCCA faculty member Lara Naughton, draws nearly 150 young writers from the New Orleans area who come together to learn new skills, share ideas and celebrate the writing life.  “LitFest is a great way to explore — with other quirky, imaginative students — different types of writing, like screenwriting and food writing. The minute I stepped out of LitFest last year, I wanted to sign up again!” said high school junior Ryanne Autin.

Day One Wednesday March 30: features a reading with local fiction writers. The reading, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Lusher Charter High School, 5624 Freret Street, New Orleans LA 70115.

Day Two Saturday April 2: offers high school students a day-long festival of master classes with nationally renowned writers and artists, seminars, food, and sharing their work and ideas. Saturday events will be held from 9:30 AM-4:30 PM at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, 2800 Chartres Street, New Orleans LA  70117.

Headlining the Saturday festival will be Deb Olin Unferth (author of the story collection Minor Robberies, the novel Vacation, and the memoir Revolution: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War) who will offer a reading and master class for all participants then meet with a small group of students to discuss memoir writing and the writing life.

Other session offerings include creative non-fiction writing with Billy Sothern (author of Down in New Orleans: Reflections From a Drowned City); dance and text with Jeffrey Gunshol (Tsunami dance company member); screenwriting with writer/director Henry Griffin; spoken word with international performer Chuck Perkins; experimental poetry with poet Kelly Harris; songwriting with musician and composer Mike Rihner; food writing with Rachel Arons from Edible New Orleans; and broadsides with designer Jeremy Thompson.  In addition, there will be an open reading by members of the local high school literary scene.

Co-founder Brad Richard says, “As professional writers, we know how important it is to be part of a larger writing community.  The same is true for young writers who want to meet other students with similar interests and explore the craft with outstanding artists and mentors. We’re thrilled to offer this opportunity again this year.”


Wendell Pierce joins cast of “Four”

by Danielle Tabary on August 26, 2010

New Orleanian Wendell Pierce joins the cast of the indie drama, “Four”, based on Christopher Shinn’s London and off-broadway play. The NOCCA graduate currently stars in HBO’s “Treme”, but you may also recognize him from “The Wire” and Spike Lee’s “Get Off the Bus”.

“Four” is slated to start filming September 13 in and around Hartford where the play is set, with Neil LaBute and Christine Giorgio producing. Joshua Sanchez adapted the script and will direct the film.

The $500,000 budgeted film raised $19,000 of development funds using “Four” hopes to hit theaters in 2011.

Source: Variety