Doreen Ketchens

American Routes Shortcuts: Doreen Ketchens

Doreen Ketchens: I was born in the Treme, and you know, in the Treme there’s lots of music, but we lived on St. Phillips Street, and I went to this nursery school called Marietta Bottery [SP]. They had a pageant every year, which was a fundraiser, and it was around Mardi Gras time. Depending on how much money you raised, you could be in the queen’s court. So I told my mom, I ran home, I said, “Mom we have to raise some money because I want to be queen,” and all this other stuff, and she said, “Well what I’ll do is I’ll just sell a little candy out of the front door,” and that’s what she did. Even though the fundraiser was over, the kids kept coming to the door. So a few months later, the barber shop that was there closed, and my mom got the bright idea of opening up next door and being legal. You know what I mean? And they called it Doreen’s Sweet Shop because the reason it all started was because of me wanting to be queen.
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Ted Koppel interviews Doreen Ketchens and Ben Jaffe about New Orleans music

Broadcast journalist Ted Koppel paid New Orleans a visit in December to interview Ben Jaffe and Doreen Ketchens for a CBS Sunday Morning segment about performing throughout the pandemic. Jaffe told the 81-year-old London-born journalist that Doreen’s corner in the French Quarter is the “Times Square” of the French Quarter. The 10-minute long segment began with a performance from Branden Lewis and Charlie Gabriel of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Gabriel was recently signed to Sub Pop records and debuted his first solo album, titled 89, a reference to his age.