The major, long-running event that is the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival can mean different things to different people. To some, this is simply an enjoyable music festival with major international acts. To others, it is an annual meeting place where friends and family gather to celebrate life and all that comes along with it, good and bad. To the group, MothershipNOLA, it is a chance not only to enjoy old friends and new friends amongst multiple music stages, unbelievable local foods and drink vendors; it is a chance to spread love throughout the gates of Jazz Fest, hoping that their message of love and friendship will travel to the far reaches of the Earth.
The MothershipNOLA group began as a group of New Orleans locals who would go to Jazz Fest and dance and liten to live music together beginning in the 1980s. Starting out as members of other groups, over time, and after Katrina scattered New Orleanians across the country, the group reformed in 2006 with original members and new friends to become MothershipNOLA. You can find their flag flying high near the Acura Stage every year. To accomplish spreading joy and happiness, they make thousands of hand-made beer bottle cap pins to give away to new and old friends. Founding members, Dominique Mccusker, Panika Miles, Letti Chaveria Andrew Miles and Kevin Mccusker, organize parties every year for returning members and anyone new that’s interested to create these unique crowd gifts, talk about what they hope to see at the festival this year, and to catch up with those that they’ve met along the way.
The pin designs change a little every year, and this year they feature a space ship hovering above the names Nica or Dom, just a few of the nicknames of a recently deceased founding member, Dominique “Princess of Ooh La La” Mccusker. This is the 10th anniversary of the formation of the MothershipNOLA Krewe. The Mothership remembers and honors Dominique’s smile and open heart on their 10th Anniversary. When asked about why they spend so much money and time on making these pins that they just give away, they say it’s to make everyone happy, to meet new people, to make new friends, and to share the city of New Orleans, Her recovery, Her rebirth, Her hopes for the future, Her culture and spread the love to all that are lucky to be a part of New Orleans. “You have no idea how happy you’re going to make people,” says Kevin. “We give them to people who have a smile. Or a frown. We give them to people who you would want to talk to while we’re standing in line for food, the bathroom, at our spot, wherever.”
If you want your own MothershipNOLA pin, you’ve got to look for The Mothership flag. The green Mothership flying saucer underneath the MothershipNOLA title flies at 30 feet high at the Acura Stage. Or you can take your chances on running into a Mothership member. They've made 3,500 to give away this year. Ya’all go meet them under the Mothership!