With 2 days of music and food, the French Quarter’s Satchmo Summerfest celebrates New Orleans native, Louis Armstrong’s birthday. The festival started with The Roots Of Music parading to the Old U.S. Mint, home of the New Orleans Jazz Museum where you can find Armstrong’s first coronet.
The band is a wonderful reminder of the importance of keeping the city’s traditions and culture alive. Grammy Award-winning snare drummer of Rebirth Brass Band, Derrick Tabb, co-founded The Roots Of Music non-profit program providing hundreds of at-risk youths (8-14 years old) with instruments, education, tutoring, meals and a ride home.
The kids in the marching band were only a couple of songs into their street concert when giant, floppy drops of rain started to fall – a few at first – then a sudden deluge. We fest rain or shine, so the band and fest-goers ran under the nearby Esplanade Stage tent to finish their show.
Afterward, we walked the food booths and chose Cafe Dauphine’s Cajun Seafood Eggrolls ($12) and Fried Green Tomatoes w/ Shrimp Remoulade ($10). They also offered Fried Ribs and I have to admit I was intrigued. Throughout the fest, trash bins were labeled for separation and all serving dishes and flatware for the event was 100% compostable.
On the Barrack’s Street Stage, the New Orleans Gentlemen of Jazz played fun standards, complete with toilet plungers for their horns. When people ask to see “authentic jazz,” I think this band of consummate showmen might be what they mean. The crowd especially loved when several band members led a second line through the tent.
Later on the Esplanade Stage, Herlin Riley and his band were absolute masters of their instruments. Their improvisational jam jazz was more the type people further north enjoy – full of showy riffs, and music as mathematical poetry. The band’s skills were impressive, but I like to dance…
So I headed back to the Barrack’s Street Stage for the down and dirty brass-jazz of Big 6 Brass Band. The crowd was on their feet and clapping as the band played funky favorites. I danced so much that mud splattered my legs almost to my knees.
In the next post – Sunday’s festivities include John Boutté, the Original Pinettes Brass Band, and more yummy food!