I missed many things during the pandemic, but most of them are available at French Quarter Fest, my favorite festival of the year. The 20 stages of indigenous music and 60 local food booths provide the best of our city’s offerings and it was great running into friends after so long – and seeing so many people wearing Pelicans basketball gear!
We started our day by the Aquarium with Margie Perez serenading a brunch-time crowd of visitors and locals from tiny tots to great-grandparents. The weather couldn’t have been better – 80 and sunny with a breeze coming off the mighty Mississippi. A few people started dancing and it didn’t take long for more and more music-lovers to fill the floor. Margie ended with crowd-favorite, Ooh Baby La La, then stayed after to greet people and autograph CD’s.
We fueled up with Crawfish & Corn Beignets ($8) from Observatory Eleven and Abita Strawberry beer before heading to Kermit Ruffins on the main stage. Kermit is an expert at putting on a show, but it was time for more fest food – my favorite food. In Jackson Square, we had Paella ($8) from Paella NOLA, and Crabby Jack’s Shrimp & Grits ($9), but
Cafe was restocking so we popped into Louis Sahuc’s Photo Works gallery on the Square. Louis, a master photographer and avid French Quarter activist, passed last year – but his work lives on. It was nice to be surrounded by his images of the Quarter through the years.
Then it was back to the Jacques-Imo’s booth for the very-worth-the-wait Crab & Artichoke Citrus Salad ($9) – one of my annual favorites. My big favorite is the Walker’s Southern Style BBQ Cochon de Lait Po-Boy ($12), so we grabbed one on our way back toward the Aquarium area. Though I’m normally not a big sandwich fan and prefer po-boys even less – I will most certainly be having Walker’s Cochon de Lait Po-Boy a couple more times before the fest ends.
Main Line was already onstage killing it when we got back. Once again, a few people kicked the dancing into gear, but this time the crowd thickened until it was truly a party. It was so great feeling like the city is back after months of recover from Hurricane Ida, and years of global illness.
We called it early but I can’t wait for 3 more days of live music and fabulous food celebrating the culture of our amazing city.
Not sure why I couldn’t get my gallery function to work, but enjoy the photos!