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NEW ORLEANS — The Neville Brothers are returning to New Orleans next year to assume the role they held for more than a decade — the closing act of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
It will be the group’s first hometown performance since Hurricane Katrina struck Aug. 29, 2005, flooding 80% of New Orleans and scattering the four brothers across the country.
Art, 69, is the only one living in New Orleans since Katrina. Charles, 68, is living in the Northampton, Mass., area; Cyril, 59, is in Austin, Texas; and Aaron, 66, is in Nashville, Tenn.
On Thursday, Art joined his son Ian and nephew Ivan Neville, son of Aaron Neville, for a brief performance celebrating the Neville Brothers’ return.
“This is how it should be,” Art Neville said after a news conference with festival organizers. “We’re a part of Jazz Fest.”
New Orleans native Harry Connick Jr. and his 18-piece orchestra closed this year’s festival. Fats Domino was slated to close in 2006, but canceled just hours before showtime. Lionel Richie filled in at the last minute.
Organizers also announced they are restoring Thursday to the festival’s second weekend, making the event a total of seven days for the first time since Katrina. The festival was scaled back to six days the past two years.
Next year’s Jazz Fest dates are April 25-27 and May 1-4.
Tim McGraw will close the festival’s first weekend April 27.
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