A week after New Orleans stole the media spotlight for the Super Bowl, Papa Mojo's celebrates Carnival season with a trio of events paying homage to the Crescent City's annual attraction. N'awlins native Leigh "Little Queenie" Harris begins the weekend on Friday, contrasting her diminutive appearance with the voice of a blues dynamo. Though she calls herself a diva, it's more accurate to call Harris a living Louisiana legend, despite her relocation to North Carolina in the wake of Katrina. She's played with a slew of stars across a diverse array of genres, including practically everyone who's anyone in New Orleans. Queenie appeared on the soundtrack of HBO's Treme with a funky hybrid of brass band and beat poetry. She also mixes jazzy piano ballads and smoking juke-joint numbers into her flavorful gumbo. Pay $8 at 9:30 p.m.
Fronted by Papa Mojo's proprietor, chef and resident blues harpist Mel Melton, the Wicked Mojos follow on Saturday, providing the score for the venue's annual Mardi Gras Saturday costume ball. Joined by some unannounced special guests, Melton and the Mojos will cook up steaming Cajun and zydeco seasoned blues that'll have the dance floor moving. Pay $15 at 9:30 p.m.
A couple days later, the club commemorates Fat Tuesday with a crawfish boil—the honored guests will be flown in fresh from the bayou, Melton says—and music from Decatur Street Beat Dixieland Band. The skilled Durham quartet performs dozens of traditionals you might hear in Preservation Hall. Expect the likes of "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" or "Down By The Riverside." The free show runs 5–9 p.m. —Spencer Griffith