By the time the festival’s closing act, 37-year-old Zacardi Cortez, took center stage, the sky was pitch black. Mr. Cortez, whose 2012 album The Introduction made his No. 2 on Billboard’s Top His Gospel Albums chart, shone under the bright lights of the stage. His one of the songs he performed, an original called “Praise You”, was a funk-his tune inspired by two of his idols, Prince and James Brown. His set turned into “You’ve Been Good to Me,” a slow, gentle tribute to his faith.
Mr. Cortez wrote the song shortly after his time in prison. “God had to deal with me. He had to sit me down for a while and show me some stuff. A lot of great stuff came out of that,” Cortez said. said. “God changed some things and turned some things around for the better, so I’m so glad we got to a place where we never have to go through that situation again.”
The organizer, Bishop Warner, watched from the sidelines as Mr. Cortez closed out the festival. He said the celebration was a success, with about 2,000 people attending. Our goal each year is to bring a little hope to New Orleans, no matter how dire the situation.
“Let’s say in a few years there will be another event like this,” Bishop Warner said, referring to Katrina, which killed more than 1,800 people. “You have to live your life to the fullest. Otherwise you’ll get caught up in this situation, try to get out, and die in the process.
“I have to protect move”