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!
Afterward, I headed straight to the Love at First Bite booth for a yummy Cochon de Lait Po-Boy ($9) that I ate with strangers from far away states while we talked about favorite fest food. Then I stopped by the memory garden to see the new marker for Big Chief Bo Dollis. When I came around to the Allen Toussaint marker, I got a bit overwhelmed. The last time I’d seen him was just a few feet away in the art market. We’d smiled and nodded to each other from opposing booths. (Sigh).
As always, I loved Bonerama. I wasn’t able to stay for the whole trombone-driven concert but enjoyed hearing their trad-jazz ode to Mr. Okra and their haunting cover of Radiohead. Then I ran back to catch the next parade, the Scene Boosters and Lady & Men Rollers Social Aid & Pleasure Club with the High Steppers Brass Band and The Pussyfooters (the dance troupe I parade with). The Lady Rollers chose Pussyfooter Lydia Benson as their queen so her court was a group from our pink army.
I followed the parade to the New Orleans Gulf South Booksellers Association (NOGSBA) Book Tent and got ready for the signing for The Secret of the Other Mother. I’d meant to introduce myself to Elvis Costello who was just finishing up his signing but I had customers before I even sat down. In fact, I sold out in less than half an hour. I was down to the last 2 by the time some of my Pussyfooting friends arrived and cleaned me out.
After the signing, I stayed and volunteered for the Book Tent. All the proceeds go to children’s literacy and I got to hear music from 2 nearby stages. The Revivalists were especially fun. I went home feeling pretty great having spent the day with Mardi Gras Indians, great music and music AND book-loving people. Then I went back to work on the next 4 Charlotte Reade Mysteries…