Doreen Ketchens

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Doreen Ketchens
Ketchens performing at the French Quarter Jazz Festival in New Orleans, 2010
Ketchens performing at the French Quarter Jazz Festival in New Orleans, 2010
Background information
Birth nameDoreen J. Ketchens
Also known as"Lady Louis"
"The Clarinet Queen"
"Ms. New Orleans"
Born (1966-10-03) October 3, 1966 (age 56)
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
LabelsDJNO Records

Doreen Ketchens (born October 3, 1966) is an American jazz clarinetist who performs Dixieland and Trad Jazz. She has performed at concert halls, music festivals, and U.S. embassies, as well as in decades of weekly performances in Dixieland's tradition in the Royal Street Performing Arts Zone in the French Quarter of New Orleans with her band, Doreen's Jazz New Orleans. Ketchens has performed for four U.S. presidents: Bill Clinton, George Bush Sr., Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter,[1] and was described by in 2012 as one of the cultural ambassadors of New Orleans.[2]

Nicknamed "Lady Louis" because of her ability to hit and hold powerful high notes, and her love of Louis Armstrong's performance style, she has performed with Ellis Marsalis, Jon Faddis, Trombone Shorty, Al Hirt, Dorothy Donegan, The Black Crows and Jennifer Warnes, opened for Macy Grey and Dr. John,[3] and has been seen around the world by millions of people via media and fan videos of her performances. She has been featured in numerous documentaries about New Orleans, its music, and its heritage, and she has been seen on television in shows like HBO's Treme.

Origins and education[edit]

Like many of New Orleans' musicians, Ketchens grew up in the Tremé.[4] She studied clarinet in elementary school, beginning as a fifth-grader at Joseph Craig Elementary. To get out of a pop quiz, she responded to an announcement asking interested students to come and sign up for the band. Her first choice was flute, but most of the girls picked that instrument, so she opted for the clarinet.[5] In junior high school, her band director, Donald Richardson, stayed on her for not practicing, and there was a boy that she was trying to impress. When she finally did practice, her talent began to emerge.[6][5] She played for John F. Kennedy High School in New Orleans, and auditioned and was accepted to NOCCA, Louisiana's Arts Conservatory in New Orleans. She began to study with clarinetist Stanley Weinstein.[7][5]

Doreen attended Delgado Community College, Loyola University of New Orleans, Southern University In New Orleans, and, through scholarships, including one from the New York Philharmonic, University of Hartford's The Hartt School in Hartford, Connecticut, where she studied under Henry Larsen.[7][6] She had an internship with the symphony in Hartford.[5]

She worked her way through conservatories and college as a chef, and met her husband, arranger and sousaphonist for Doreen's Jazz New Orleans, Lawrence Ketchens at Loyola.[6] She found her passion in Jazz with Lawrence.[7]


Ketchens performed her first jazz gig with Lawrence at the 1987 Republican National Convention.[5] She ran a plate lunch eatery called "Doreen's Sweets" for a time until she and Lawrence kept passing musicians working the streets of New Orleans, and she told him that they could make money doing that. The couple began performing on the streets of New Orleans in 1987.[5]

She began playing in Jackson Square with her first band, the Jackson Square All-Stars.[4] Their band evolved into "Doreen's Jazz New Orleans," and, after much struggle with the chauvinism of traditional Jazz and club owners, they managed to find a winning formula playing and entertaining crowds via their street shows, Jazz festivals, and then, through direct sales of their music and videos on the Internet.[7] Ketchens has been sharing traditional American Jazz in Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe, South America, Russia and the United States. They have performed with programs sponsored by Jazz at Lincoln Center and The US Department of State.

Doreen introduced her daughter, Dorian Ketchens-Dixon, when she was nine, as a drummer at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for one song in a set. Today, she is one of the regular drummers backing the group.

Ketchens' group appears at Jazz Festivals in New Orleans and at music festivals, fairs, and showcases throughout the world. In 2006, she was part of a program for South African cultural exchange with the Field Band Foundation that was sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Jazz at Lincoln Center in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.[8]

She has been featured in numerous documentaries about New Orleans, its heritage, and its music, including several profiles by WWOZ, New Orleans' Jazz radio station including a video profiles and audio programs, and dozens of articles from major newspapers and magazines around the world.[citation needed]

Jazz and music festivals[edit]

Jazz & Music festivals Doreen Ketchens has performed at:

Filmography and videography[edit]

Fan and media videos of her performances have been seen globally by millions of people on YouTube and other social media outlets with one video by the NOLA Insider Guide on Facebook reaching more than 3.9M people by October 2015.[9] Professional performances and performances in feature films and television programs include:

Year Episode Program Network/Distributor Role
2013 "Civil Dysfunction Meets Civil Disobedience" Treme HBO Herself
2013 "Yes, Yes We Can" Treme HBO Herself
2013 Tyler Perry's Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor Singer
2006 Doreen's Jazz New Orleans Live in Korea 2006 DJNO Records DVD Herself
2015 Doreen's Jazz New Orleans Live in New Orleans 2015 DJNO Records DVD Herself



Year Album Label
2015 Doreen's Jazz New Orleans Volume XXIV
Live In Concert
DJNO Records
2014 Doreen's Jazz New Orleans Volume XXII
Dorian Steppin' Out Series Part 1
Dorian Did Dat!
DJNO Records
2014 Doreen's Jazz New Orleans Volume XXIII
Dorian Steppin' Out Series Part 2
Dorian Did Dat Again!!! You Go Girl!
DJNO Records
2012 Doreen's Jazz XXI Triple Threat Series Part IV
Something Extra Little Drummer Girl
DJNO Records
2012 Doreen's Jazz XX Triple Threat Series Part III
Who Dat Playin On The Streets?
DJNO Records
2012 Doreen's Jazz XVIV Triple Threat Series Part II
"Blaclisted" Hate Has Made Us Great!
DJNO Records
2011 Doreen's Jazz XVIII Triple Threat Series
New Orlean's Best Kept Secrets
DJNO Records
2006 Volume XVII
Finally (Part 2)
DJNO Records
2006 Doreen's Jazz Volume XVI
Finally (Part 1)
DJNO Records
2003 The Band! The Band! DJNO Records
2002 Doreen's Jazz Volume XIV
Bill Bailey
DJNO Records
2001 Doreen's Jazz New Orleans - Volume XI
What A Wonderful World
DJNO Records
2001 Volume XII - Jackson Square Jam! DJNO Records
2001 A New Orleans Christmas DJNO Records
1999 Doreen's Jazz New Orleans -Volume IX
2 for 2000 "Swing Out"
DJNO Records
1999 Doreen's Jazz New Orleans - Volume X
2 for 2000 Show Your 'Tits' At Mardi Gras
DJNO Records
1998 Doreen's Jazz New Orleans -Volume VIII
God Is My Rock
DJNO Records
1997 Doreen's Jazz New Orleans -Volume VII
Crescent City Swing
DJNO Records
1996 Doreen's Jazz New Orleans - Volume VI
The Blues
DJNO Records
1995 Doreen's Jazz New Orleans - Volume V
Mama Don't Want
DJNO Records
1994 Taipei '94 DJNO Records

On radio[edit]

Year Episode Program Station/Network Format
2015 On Jackson Square and Royal Street New Orleans Calling WWOZ FM Radio


  1. ^ Index Page -
  2. ^ "Doreen and her Jazz New Orleans band got nothing but love at New Orleans Jazz Fest", Susan Langenhennig,, The Times-Picayune
  3. ^ "Doreen's Jazz New Orleans - Biography". Archived from the original on 2001-07-20.
  4. ^ a b Travel + Leisure Keven Sessums
  5. ^ a b c d e f 17th Jazz All-Stars Issue Geraldine Wyckoff,
  6. ^ a b c Five Questions With Doreen Ketchens (Blog)
  7. ^ a b c d Doreen Ketchens - D'Addario Woodwinds Website
  8. ^ DrumcorpsWorld - Blog
  9. ^ Facebook Posting - Doreen's Jazz New Orleans

External links[edit]