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Harry Connick Jr: ‘I love learning about women’

The singer, 53, on Mardi Gras parades, When Harry Met Sally, feeling thankful each day and the females in his family

I’d be completely different if I hadn’t grown up in New Orleans – there was music everywhere. So much of it was live. You could walk down a street at any time of the day or night and there would be people making music: a tuba player, horn players, bass drum players. And there would be brass bands and people dancing. All this was normal to me, and it wasn’t until I left that I realised how fortunate I’d been to be surrounded by this incredible diversity of live music. You feel its energy in the air.

Both my parents were lawyers. My father was the district attorney of New Orleans and my mother was a judge, so they were both in public service. From them I got ideas about trying to be vocal about change. The first thing I did, in 1993, was to start a Mardi Gras parade inclusive of everyone – men, women, black, white – because I thought people should be able to celebrate together. The parade is called Krewe of Orpheus. Today it’s the biggest, most beautiful parade in the whole of the New Orleans Mardi Gras.

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