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Get Your Fat Tuesday Fix, San Antonio Style

So you can’t afford to spring for the flight, the hotel and the time off work to go celebrate Fat Tuesday in the Crescent City, so what do you do? I may have found the next best thing.

“Well, we’ve got a great Mardi Gras concert on Tuesday night at the Empire Theater,” said Brent “Doc” Watkins, whose band has something planned at the Charline McCombs Empire Theater.

“In New Orleans style we’re going to come out and we’ve got trumpet and trombone, saxophone and clarinet, all the traditional New Orleans instruments" he said. "We’re going to come out and do a great set of New Orleans Mardi Gras music."

As to how his San Antonio band manages New Orleans music, Watkins details their backgrounds.

“Pierre Poree is going to be fronting the band -- he’s our singer and also our saxophonist. Pierre’s a native of New Orleans and moved to San Antonio following Katrina, as is our bass player, Brandon Rivas, and our trombonist Dave Woodard,” Watkins said.

Those are the band's New Orleanians, but as he notes, there are a couple of San Antonians.

“Our drummer is Brandon Guerra and our trombonist is Jason Jones," he said.

Watkins explained that the Empire will be set up to a different configuration than it is for plays.

“We’re going to have it set up as cabaret-style seating, and so rather than rows of chairs it’ll be cocktail tables. Doesn’t make a lot of room for dancing, but there is some," Watkins said.

Since he mentioned cocktail tables, I asked the obvious question: "Are there cocktails?”

“Absolutely," Watkins said. "We’ll have full cocktail service at all the tables.”

Since I had a highly skilled musician on the phone I asked him what it was about New Orleans -- why so much great music came out of there.

"Oh gosh, you have these cultures coming together, bringing their music and then you put it all together and you get something new," Watkins said.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii