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Kermit Ruffins: Happy to Talk

New Orleans trumpeter and singer talks about music, food and the impact of the Treme series on HBO

Kermit Ruffins
Kermit Ruffins
Kermit Ruffins
Kermit Ruffins' album Happy Talk

Kermit Ruffins is walking and talking. He’s speaking on the phone about his new album Happy Talk and other matters, while he makes his way through the French Quarter of New Orleans, heading for a soundcheck. At least a half dozen times, he has to interrupt the conversation to respond warmly to people greeting him. He invites a few to his gig, telling them “Come on by!” I tease him that he might as well run for mayor of the city. He laughs and says that if elected, it would be a very short term. “If I do become mayor one day, I’ll be fired right away, because I’ll be having festivals three times a day,” he says. “I’d have stages set up all over the city with free concerts that never stop until midnight. Yea, I’d be out of there within a day.”

Perhaps it’s better that Ruffins stays out of politics, despite a rising Q rating thanks to a recurring cameo role on Treme, the acclaimed HBO television series produced by David Simon, who also created The Wire. Ruffins is unabashed in his appreciation for what the series has done for the city and the music. “Thank God for David Simon. David told me about six years ago that he was trying to do this TV series. Then that damn Katrina happened.”

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