In recognition of her contributions to jazz education, University of New Orleans historian Connie Zeanah Atkinson will receive a Spirit of Satch award during the Satchmo Summerfest opening ceremony on Friday, July 31, at the Louisiana State Museum's Old U.S. Mint. French Quarter Festivals, Inc. organizes the annual music festival and introduces the Spirit of Satch award series this year to honor champions of New Orleans music and culture and celebrate the festival's 15th anniversary. Other inaugural Spirit of Satch awardees include Chevron, Preservation Hall, Offbeat Magazine and the Louisiana State Museum.
Atkinson, an associate professor of history, has taught a course on the history of New Orleans music for 17 years. Her academic credentials include a doctorate from the University of Liverpool's Institute of Popular Music, the first academic institute in the English-speaking world dedicated to the study of popular music. She also has an extensive journalism background, having written for several New Orleans publications including the Courier and Figaro newspapers and New Orleans Magazine. She edited and published her own New Orleans music magazine, Wavelength, for 11 years. She is widely published in books and journals on the subject of New Orleans music and serves as one of the curators for the Satchmo SummerFest Symposium, a conversation among distinguished panelists on topics that vary at each year's festival. Atkinson is the co-director of UNO's Ethel and Herman L. Midlo Center for New Orleans Studies, which promotes understanding of New Orleans history, politics, culture and public policy issues, particularly civil rights.
Satchmo Summerfest is a three-day local music showcase named in honor of renowned New Orleans jazz artist Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong. French Quarter Festivals, Inc. is a nonprofit organization promoting the Vieux Carre and the city of New Orleans through signature events throughout the year. In addition to Satchmo Summerfest in August, the organization produces French Quarter Festival in April and Christmas New Orleans Style! in December.