Another beautiful day for French Quarter Fest, low 70’s and sunny. The music started at the U.S. Mint stages with The Nayo Jones Experience. We’d seen Nayo Jones featured by Kermit Ruffins in 2 previous French Quarter Fests so it was a delight to see her command her own stage. The crowd loved her rendition of House of the Rising Sun and she sold out of CD’s early in the show.
We hit McHardy’s Chicken & Fixin’ for chicken and potato salad then headed to the Abita Stage to see Monk Boudreaux & the Golden Eagles, a Mardi Gras Indian band. Big Chief Monk Boudreaux was joined by his grandson who we’d just seen with his band Cha Wa on the same stage the day before.
I knew we’d be treated to romance, fun and Going to the Chapel of Love, but I wasn’t sure who The Dixie Cups might now include given the passing of Joan Marie Johnson. The Neville Brothers’ sister Athelgra Neville took on the task beautifully. As a reminder that the rest of the world wasn’t at a festival, the band closed with God Bless America in tribute to service men and women.
I’d first seen Louisiana’s LeRoux when I was 14. My cousins took me to see Jimmy Buffett and the opening act was Louisiana’s LeRoux. They were riding high on their hit New Orleans Ladies and I’ve never stopped loving that song. Though they play mostly rock, they were one of many bands in the last 2 days to play Bob Marley’s Don’t Worry. The band played a mixture of originals, covers and songs from their new album, but it was still New Orleans Ladies that got everyone up and singing.
Next up was the Soul Queen of New Orleans, Miss Irma Thomas – Grammy winner and all-around goddess. She promised to play all of our favorites starting with “the old stuff.” I love Hip Shakin’ Momma and It’s Raining but I’ll admit it was a newer song, Heart of Steel that really got me moving. As always, romance was in the air and couples danced and cuddled. She thanked the older folks for “brainwashing” their kids to love her music. I laughed thinking how many of those kids were made because of her music.
We had Crawfish Bread and Louisiana Blue Crab Cakes & Remoulade from Lakeview Harbor then went back to the Abita Stage for Cupid. Beloved for the Cupid Shuffle song and line dance, the band played old school hits and dancers onstage led the crowd in a series of dances from the Running Man to the Snake. It was hard to know whether to watch the stage or the crowd. We left before he played his hit, but I’m certain Cupid led the best dance party of the fest.
We caught Corey Henry’s Treme Funktet on the way home on the new stage on Decatur. Finally offering music to those hitting the food court stationed there, the band had drawn a huge end-of-the-day crowd. It was another great ending to another great day.