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.
Soul Queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas, opened her show with a cavalcade of favorites, even playing “It’s Raining” despite the glorious weather. Last year, she sang it as a storm shut down her stage. She finished her set with her signature second line as we all waved kerchiefs and napkins and put our “backfields in motion.”
Monk Boudreaux and the Golden Eagles were next up. I’m a sucker for a man in feathers. And it doesn’t get much more “local” than being dazzled by Mardi Gras Indians. When the eternally-groovy Walter Wolfman Washington and the Roadmasters took the stage, my only question was – will he play the guitar with his mouth? To my delight, he did!
Then it was time for one of my favorite fest treats – a Cochon de Lait Po-boy ($8) from Love at First Bite. Only this year, it’s being offered in the next booth over, Walker’s Southern Style BBQ. Don’t ask, just enjoy.
Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes played the stage by the Aquarium. Known for their impressive educations in music and Johnny’s knack for creating cool instruments, the band focused on originals that kept the crowd moving and singing along. Aurora Nealand joined in on clarinet for a few songs.
We had to get the Vegetarian Plate ($8) from Praline Connection and had to stop eating several times to tell people where to find it. The night ended with Bill Summers & Jazalsa moving our hips to Afro-Cuban beats. During a tribute to Quincy Jones, Bill Summers generously leant his stage to 2 young talents, a 9 year old saxophonist and a 15 year old vocalist. Both were wonderful but the 15 year old took his first time at French Quarter Fest to its limit.
He sang a couple Michael Jackson songs then busted out Adele’s “Hello.” It went from powerfully soulful to downright raucous as the crowd began jumping like pogo sticks and cheering as the kid directed the band to drive us further. It was an inspiring end to a wonderful day as a 15 year old from the Westbank reminded us how much great music is still to come from this culture-rich city.