No blizzard was going to keep the Human Jukebox from warming the streets of Washington with some Louisiana Mardi Gras spirit on Saturday.
Passersby began chanting for the band to play as it headed toward the Washington Hilton, and the band readily complied.
“We were crossing the street, and we stopped and started playing,” says Nathan Haymer, Southern University’s director of bands. “The snow was coming down pretty heavily, but that didn’t bother our students. They were revved up, and they entertained.”
And there was an added bonus.
“There was a reporter from the Weather Channel out there, and they recorded our performance,” Haymer says. “They’re going to put the video up on the Weather Channel’s website.”
A pep band version of Southern’s Human Jukebox Marching Band is in Washington to perform at the 2016 Louisiana Mardi Gras Ball. Some 3,000 people are expected to attend, including Gov. John Bel Edwards, along with members of the Louisiana legislature and the states congressional delegation.
Southern’s band was represented at the ball six years ago alongside the Grambling State University’s Tiger Marching Band.
“Grambling was supposed to come this year, but they were going to travel in buses,” Haymer says. “They didn’t make, but we got lucky, because we were able to fly in.”
Still, not all has gone smoothly for the Human Jukebox. Eight of its members flew out of New Orleans and found themselves stuck in Atlanta, unable to make the rest of the trip because of the blizzard. The airline flew them to Baton Rouge’s Metropolitan Airport.
“They reached Baton Rouge safely, which is the most important part,” Haymer says. “That still leaves us with only 20 people for a pep band here, but we’ll wing it. We always come through.”
The ensemble will be performing a mixture of popular songs, Southern University football music and Mardi Gras favorites. Haymer and his students are scheduled to return to Baton Rouge Sunday night.
“The airport is supposed to open at noon tomorrow, and we’ll be there,” he says. “In the meantime, the students are having a great time. They can eat whenever they want at the hotel and as much as they want, and they’re loving that. They’re also loving the snow. They’re never performed in real snow, and they had a great time today.”