Jazz Fest started last week which means lots of things including packed hotels, music everywhere nearly all night and day and plenty of crawfish boils. Sunday was my annual family reunion crawfish boil and Monday was the 2nd annual BIRNout Boil at the Sandpiper Lounge hosted by Billy Iuso and the Restless Natives (BIRN).
Only in Nola is it perfectly normal to expect people to show up at 3pm on a Monday for a concert and boil and only in Nola would we all do it less than an hour after tornadoes and a mini-hurricane blew through. The storm was so strong, thousands are still without power and perhaps you saw the footage of winds so forceful they blew a long train off a bridge. But we parked in “puddles” (big and deep enough for “no wake” zones) and stepped over broken branches, leaves and debris to have a nice day visiting, eating and enjoying live music. Shaggy, “The Crawfish King,” the spiciest boiler in town, supplied the crawfish and the rain stayed away until after the festivities were over.
There were 3 bands moving from folky to funky. West Bank Mike (Mike Dousan) started things off then BIRN and MikeyB3 (though I missed taking photos of the last group when I ran into friends outside). I met people who’d come in from all over the country for Jazz Fest including one group who comes every year but never actually goes to Jazz Fest. As I said, there’s music everywhere almost all the time so this group stays for a week going to shows all over town and particularly loves the shows that start after 2am. They roll in around 5am, sleep half the day away then start again. I hardly ever hit a 4am show anymore, but I have enough sense to know these people are having a blast and seeing some of our best musicians.
Because everyone gathers around long tables and crawfish takes time to eat, a boil is a great place to get to know people. I love that our family reunion is a boil for that very reason. I’m still getting to know this side of my family and these annual gatherings are more than just great food in beautiful surroundings, they are a great opportunity for us to spend time together. Between the homemade ice cream (I had the strawberry banana and it was delicious) and the hugs, it’s a very sweet way to spend a day. Long live the crawfish boil!