This Saturday, the swinging sound of authentic blues will ring throughout downtown Marquette and the strong smells of Cajun cuisine will hang heavily in the air. And while the Marquette community is filling their bellies with alligator, crawfish and catfish and dancing to the tunes of local blues bands, money will be raised for people affected with cancer in the local area.
“Blues for Life” will be held this Saturday, April 28 at the Lagniappe eatery on Washington Street. The event will raise money for the American Cancer Society and 100 percent of the profits will go towards the organization, said Lorrie Hayes, the event’s organizer. Hayes is also the lead singer of the Flat Broke Blues Band, one of the bands that will be playing Sunday night.
Other music will be provided by Fast Eddie’s Blues Band and food will be provided by the Lagniappe. Doors open at 6 p.m. and music and food will be provided from 7 to 11 p.m.
As a breast cancer survivor, Hayes said she got involved raising money for the American Cancer Society during her recovery.
“One in 3 people are affected by cancer in our nation. That’s a lot of people,” she said. “I think that part of what I do is put a face on this. ‘Look, I’m a survivor. I still performed and did everything I wanted to do while I was recovering.’ That’s one of the things that I want to accomplish is to give a message to other folks that there’s hope, that you can do something, that you can stay positive.”
Hayes said that with this event, she hopes to spread an important message.
“On a personal level, I fought cancer with all of the drugs and the things that they give you and you get better. And then you have to keep fighting it, mentally, and for me to be able to accomplish my own personal fight, this is still part of it, and how I help others and get people to be more aware of what’s going on in our community as far as how they can help.”
Entertainment-wise, Hayes said people can expect a true blues sound that has roots all over the United States.
“The Flat Broke Blues Band plays American music,” Hayes said. “It’s our music and we claim it. That music comes from all different places in America – some of it comes from Louisiana, some comes from Chicago. Basically, it’s rhythm and blues that was created here in America. We play swing, we have shuffles and they’re from all over the United States.”
Hayes added that while their sound reflects life in the Upper Peninsula, don’t expect to hear anything about deer camp or a thiry-point buck.
“I like to call it ‘music from the northern delta’ because we’re surrounded by water on three sides,” she said. “Our music reflects on our experiences living in the Upper Peninsula but it’s not like a Da Yooper thing. We talk about Lake Superior and stuff in our songs but it’s not Yooper stuff.”
Also featured at the benefit will be a silent auction. Hayes said anything from CD cleaners to a dinner out will be auctioned off. Hayes added that this event is a perfect opportunity
for Marquette citizens to come and experience authentic Cajun fare.
“If you haven’t been to the Lagniappe yet, this gives you an opportunity to taste the food, try different things and see what you like,” Lorrie said. “[Chef Don Durley] goes all out at the Lagniappe. His place is decorated like New Orleans. It’s just great. Everything inside makes you feel like you’re in a different world.”
Laurel Hague, a senior hospitality management major, said a cajun eatery is the perfect place for a night of the blues.
“Since the blues was born in New Orleans, there is no better place than a Cajun/Creole restaurant to host this event,” he said. “It seems like a great opportunity to raise money for a good cause while enjoying great food and music.”
Hayes said that she is positive that anyone who attends the event will have a fun night out while supporting the Marquette community. Hayes added that while she is helping the American Cancer Society, the Lagniappe is helping her by providing the food for free.
“It’s a win-win. We’re a community that’s helping each other,” she said.
“What they can expect is a really great night for $20 which includes two bands and a full stomach full of Cajun Creole food. I like to say, ‘Great food, great music, great cause.”