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Sip & Savor

December 17th, 2021

Happy Birthday, Cassie!

Happy Birthday to New Orleans harpist Cassie Watson Francillon. Each month we celebrate a local businesswoman on her special day.

Do you hear what we hear? It's the sound of Tidbits' December Birthday girl, New Orleans harpist Cassie Watson Francillon, who has performed in sessions, installations, and alongside artists such as John Cameron Mitchell, Helen Gillet, Tank and the Bangas, Norah Jones, Julie Odell and People Museum. 

Happy birthday, Cassie! How many candles are you blowing out?
30 for the xth time :) 

How are you celebrating this year?
I usually keep it a secret and meditate throughout the day, reflecting on the beauty of life and how far I've come. And how far I must go. 

What's on your birthday wish list? 
I want for nothing. 

Breakfast, lunch and dinner, where out are we most likely to find you?
I start my day at Baldwin & Co. It is a miraculously high vibration to start the day there. I'll take dinner at Paladar 511, please!

How old were you when you started playing the harp and how did you select it?
In college, I was having a mental health crisis and heard a harp cadenza on the radio. Captivated by the sound and expression, I sought out the harp path (instrument and instruction) from that moment on. I like to say it chose me. The harpist who coached me saw potential in me and in the fact that I was relentless. And they poured into me in my times of doubt. 

Favorite places to play locally? How about anywhere in the world?
Every listening room in the city is a truly unique and special experience. One standout experience in town was a residency I had at the Elysian Bar, hosted in the cathedral next door at Hotel Peter and Paul. The church served as a socially distanced space for diners and was built in the 1800s and had phenomenally haunting acoustics and original stained glass. If it were possible, I would like to play at the Capuchin ossuary or inside the Giza Pyramids. Both tricky to get harps into.  

Favorite type of music to play?
Experimental. Black American. Minimal. Anything meaningful. 

Neighborhood you call home.
The 7th Ward has a rich history of architecture and warmth for Creole and free people of color, artisans and merchants. I love living just off Esplanade, centered between the energies of the bustling French Quarter and the Bayou. Elders can be found tending their gardens and are happy to share helpful facts and stories of their accolades. 

Three local businesses you love supporting.
Really, indie vendors and pop-ups are my thing! It's a beautiful thing to connect with visionaries and support them in the early stages. Antidote by Amina Desselle for herbal solutions and tinctures, Renew Bijoux custom vintage jewelry, and the local record shops, of course. 

Series you're addicted to.
The webisodes by Anna Akana. She covers everything from emotional intimacy to feminist business ethics to microaggressions and being a cat mom. 

Mantra you live (or work) by.
Ain't no "ought" in "is" — a reminder for acceptance to accept that it's okay to go with the flow and not to die on a hill. 

First thing you do when you wake up, last thing at night?
Drinking a glass of fresh water and being grateful for a blessing. At night, I try to leave my phone in a separate room and breathe in dried lavender on my nightstand. 

Best thing about having a December birthday?
Holiday lights! Any party we walk into is unknowingly celebrating in us! 

Best book you've read lately?
My Name is Pronounced Holy by Sha'Condria Sices Sibley.  A collection of poems, prayers, rememberings and reclamations. Negative Space by Lilly Dancyger. A deep reflection on the impact of her father's art, addiction, affection and absence. 

One thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
That I can't eat peanut butter. 

What is your sign and do you identify with it?
Sagittariuses are an interesting mix: fun and strange, mysteriously both lighthearted and intense. 100%. 

Photo: Britt Smith Photography 

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