I’ve gone to Jazz Fest as a music lover and as a volunteer in the beer booth but this was my first time going to sign copies of one of my books – my latest, The Secret of the Other Mother: A Charlotte Reade Mystery. I arrived early and started my day with the White Cloud Hunters Mardi Gras Indians playing traditional Indians songs and closing with my favorite, Indian Red. Just as the stage full of magnificent beadwork and feathers emptied, the Algiers Warriors Mardi Gras Indians parade began dancing past with the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Rhythm Section. More amazing beads and feathers! Continue reading
Super Bowl-winning Saint, Will Smith, was murdered last week attempting to save his wife’s life after she’d been shot once in each leg. The second line celebrating his life and return home started at the Half Moon Bar, not far from where Smith lost his life, and was headed to the Ooh Poo Pah Doo Bar in the Treme. James Andrews led the band as Baby Dolls, Saints fans and local-born Saint, Keenan Lewis, gathered to hug, dance, sing, pray and cry. The 4 mile parade started with a moment of silence and some words of hope in front of the memorial that’s been climbing up the fence and spreading across the sidewalk. Continue reading
The last day of French Quarter Fest was just as gorgeous as the first 3. Sadly, for locals, the day started with the sad news that former Saint, Will Smith, had been shot 7 times leaving 3 children and a wife (who sustained 2 shots) behind. He had posted on Instagram, “Having a blast at the #fqf2016” earlier. Many of us wore Saints gear and checked for updates as the story evolved from one of random violence to something more thought-out and personal.
As for festing, we started the day with a Softshell Crab Po-Boy ($10) from Jack Dempsey’s then tried Love at First Bite’s Crawfish Pasta ($8) and my favorite, the Cochon de Lait Po-Boy ($8) from their partner, Walker’s Southern Style BBQ. We hit the Abita stage in time for party-band, the Bucktown All-Stars. Their playful covers included “Rubber Band Man” complete with a dance of silly, stretchy poses. 85 year old Joyce La Nasa joined on tambourine wearing her signature white gloves. Continue reading
Saturday was another beautiful day at French Quarter Fest. After 2 days at the upriver stages, we spent the third day hopping between the 2 less crowded stages at the historic U.S. Mint. The traditional Storyville Stompers Brass Band started our day with local standards like, “I’ll Fly Away.” We had the breakfast platter ($8) and some donuts at nearby Wink’s Bakery then headed back for The Revealers’ reggae beats.
Day 2 of French Quarter Fest supplied more beautiful weather, fabulous food and some of our region’s best music. Nightingale-voiced Sarah Quintana started our day with her Miss River Band. She played whimsical, ethereal originals and a wonderful cover of “Natural Woman.” Brunch was a Crawfish and Goat Cheese Crepe ($7) from Muriel’s Jackson Square, Two Pieces of Fried Chicken with Potato Salad ($8) from McHardy’s Chicken & Fixin’ and Fried Green Tomatoes with Remoulade ($6) from Wink’s Bakery. Continue reading
French Quarter Fest is my favorite festival of the year. The 4-day free festival features local food booths and music on 23 stages throughout the Quarter. The weather was glorious, 77 and sunny with a breeze coming off the river. If the Thursday crowd was any indication of attendance, this year will be a record breaker. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit missing the days when many of the attendees were as local as the festival itself. Seems the secret is out. I was no help – live Tweeting all day to share my wonderful time with the world. Continue reading