With a parade, 2 festivals, and fireworks – things felt almost back to normal this Independence Day weekend in New Orleans. Our normal is always a bit festive. The Creole Tomato Fest at the French Market featured (limited) food booths, virtual events, and trails of specialty menu items at participating bars and restaurants throughout the French Quarter. I was able to get my annual favorite – the Pontchartrain from George’s Produce ($10) – sliced tomato topped with lump crabmeat and remoulade sauce.
The first NOLA Zydeco Fest took place next door on the lawn of the U.S. Mint, home to the New Orleans Jazz Museum. Though rain shut down the stage a couple times, the festival provided a variety of bands – from Zydeco to Brass-A-Holics and Mardi Gras Indians – from noon until 7pm.
New Orleans relies on tourism for its economy so the pandemic has been devastating on the city’s finances. The 4th of July fireworks were deemed too expensive and were cancelled – up until a week ago. Will Smith (who I worked with in Enemy of the State) is filming in town and decided to foot the entire bill. Thanks to him, we had a beautiful Independence Day.