THE ICON: Kermit Ruffins
THE LEGACY: If, by some stroke of divine animation, the city of New Orleans were given human form, one has to think it would look and sound a whole lot like Kermit Ruffins. A charismatic trumpeter and vocalist who co-founded the Rebirth Brass Band in the 1980s, a barbecue enthusiast known to fire up his grill for fans outside of his shows, and an unapologetic and die-hard fan of the New Orleans Saints, Kermit — only one name needed, really — is the walking, talking and swinging embodiment of the so-called “City That Care Forgot.” Of course, one could argue the reason Kermit is Kermit is because of the singular cultural forces at work in the city in which he was born and raised, but at the same time, it’s hard to deny that one of the reasons New Orleans is New Orleans is because of one-of-a-kind cats like Kermit.
THE ARTIST: Gabriel Flores
THE INSPIRATION: “(Louis Armstrong) really, really led one of America’s true art forms. He was really the cherry on top of New Orleans music. And now I see it being passed on to younger kids, and for me to have a role in that and to maybe do the things he did is so spiritual to me.” — Kermit Ruffins