Irma Thomas has been a treasured soul icon of New Orleans music for more than 50 years. The power and glory of her indelible voice and her infectious stage presence have endeared her to generations of fans, who wave their hankies and put their backfields in motion while second-lining to her version of some NOLA nugget like "Iko Iko." Thomas is responsible for a string of touchstones, including "Don't Mess with My Man," "It's Raining," "Wish Someone Would Care," "Ruler of My Heart," and "Time Is on My Side" (which the Rolling Stones hijacked and turned into a massive hit). After Katrina hit, washing away Thomas's house and club, her wrenching reading of Bessie Smith's "Backwater Blues" helped define the emotional devastation of the tragedy. But just as New Orleans always parties through its tears, Irma's shows ultimately are always for pleasure.
Thu., Nov. 29, 7 & 9 p.m., 2012