Saturday is always a crowded day for French Quarter Fest – except last year when it was shut down for storms. With family in town for a second day of over 20 stages of indigenous music and 60 local food booths, we decided to take things at a slower pace and stay clear of the massive riverside crowds. We started the day walking Frenchmen Street through the Marigny for a delicious brunch at the Ruby Slipper.
Treme Brass Band was onstage at the Old U.S. Mint when we returned – entertaining the fest-goers with mostly traditional jazz and the occasional mention of dearly departed bass drummer and local icon, Uncle Lionel. The young trombonist from yesterday and Satchmo Summerfest 2018 was perched on the fence when I arrived and onstage with the seasoned veterans in no time. On the other side of the Mint, Egg Yolk Jubilee played originals as people danced on the lawn.
My family wanted to spend some time watching the Mississippi River so we crossed to a dock with a great view of one of the waterway’s winding curves. It was blustery as heck as we watched a giant Carnival cruise ship make a U-turn, the Steamboat Natchez paddle upstream and a tiny boat pulling up to a giant barge from Panama to allow the local pilot to board. The mighty and meandering river is too dangerous to chance letting captains figure it out as they go so local riverboat captains board the boats to pilot them past the tricky spots. It was my first time catching that moment.
We did some window shopping on Decatur then caught Rusty Metoyer and The Zydeco Krush before heading to Miss Linda’s food booth to say hello to her and my fellow Pussyfooters dancer who was handling the orders. Known as The Yakamein Lady, Miss Linda’s award-winning “Old Sober” is guaranteed to cure what ails you.
When we returned to the Mint, Hot 8 Brass Band was closing the evening with a raucous concert of covers, traditional and originals. People worked up a sweat dancing – from percussionist, Tambourine Green’s fancy footwork near us on the street, to the kids letting loose on a balcony overlooking the fest. Even the young trombonist made a return appearance.
Sunday’s weather promises to be a cooler, sunnier version of these past days and a great way to end the Fest.