Gospel at the Park features Rosalie Washington

Greg Fischer Editor-in-chief
The Lady Tambourine, Rosalie Washington plays Jambalaya Park May 13, 2017.

Many people came out to support the fifth annual Gospel at the Park event on May 13, which featured The Lady Tambourine, Rosalie Washington of Baton Rouge.

Many were out in the spirit of Mother's Day. The free event featured a "front row seat" for mothers in the audience to take turns and watch participating groups play Gospel music in all types of genres, from hip-hop twists to traditional. Washington wore a ribbon which read "Mother of the Day."

"Gonzales treated me so well today!" Washington said. "[The African American Museum] I've been knowing them as friends, and I'm delighted to be honored as a musician. I've been playing for 55 years, since I'm five years old."

Washington tells the story that her Godmother, Wilhomenia Jackson Landry was on stage with a tambourine when she was a five-year-old girl and it appeared that her tambourine was on fire.

"By the grace of God it didn't light her dress on fire," Washington said. "I thought, 'She can make fire with her tambourine? Lord, I wish I could play like that.' And I went back to dancing in the Pentecostal Church."

Washington was born at Charity Hospital in New Orleans.

Gospel in the Park is sponsored by the River Road African American Museum in Donaldsonville. Many people are responsible for putting on the event, including: Kathe Hambrick, Dr. Annie Daniel, Zenobia Batiste, Chairperson Shayla Washington, Gerard Preyan, Councilman Harold Stewart and Dr. Thomas Durant.

"It's a day for families to come together, particularly for children," Hambrick said. "We have a lot of children's groups here today, choirs. It's just a day of fun and praise for the citizens from South Louisiana to get together. Sometimes we have people from as far away as Mississippi come."

Dr. Annie Daniel and Dr. Thomas Durant are both professors at LSU. Professor Emeritus of Sociology Durant is also the author of Our Roots Run Deep.

"I'm an honorary member of the board," Durant said. "I think this is a wonderful event, Gospel in the Park. We want to bring events to different parts of Ascension Parish, especially. The museum is located in Donaldsonville, but we want to spread the education about the museum around the parish and the state."

Gospel in the Park lasted from noon to 8 p.m., families and children ate, shopped from vendors and played in the Jambalaya Spray Park well into the evening. They also held a raffle with a flatscreen TV.