Category Archives: festival

Southern Decadence 50th Anniversary Parade

Southern Decadence was cancelled in 2020 for the pandemic, then again in 2021 for Hurricane Ida. 2022 marked the 50th anniversary of the costumes, parties and parades celebrating the LGBTQ community. The now-6-day weekend attracts over 210,000 people annually and creates a $250 million economic impact making it one of the top 5 annual events in New Orleans.

This year’s colors were red and gold. Continue reading

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Satchmo Summerfest 2022 – Day 2

We began day 2 of Satchmo Summerfest – a celebration of Louis Armstrong’s birthday – with the official Summerfest second line parade. Just like with The Roots of Music the day before, rain doused the parading brass bands, dancers, and convertible-riding royalty. But, we’re a rain-or-shine kinda town so even with the grey-skied downpour, the colors were vibrant, the music was infectious, and energy was high. And this time I was equipped with rain boots for the big puddles and the slush of grassy mud. Or muddy grass. Definitely mud.

Our first bite of the day was the savory, spicy Collard Greens ($8) from Praline Connection. John Boutté (of HBO’s Treme fame) sang passionately on the Barracks Street Stage as we waited for our Charbroiled Jerk Chicken w/ Dirty Lamborghini Rice ($13) from Theaudric’s Real Clever Cuisine. Continue reading

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Satchmo Summerfest 2022

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.  Continue reading

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French Quarter Fest 2022 – Sun.

The 4 days of French Quarter Fest came to a close on Sunday. Employing over 1,700 local musicians, the fest features genres from funk, R&B and jazz to rock, gospel and Zydeco. Over 1,500 volunteers and a variety of local companies handling sanitation, security, stages, sound, etc. insure that all of the money spent producing the festival remains within the local economy.

We started the day with Shrimp Ragivote over Fried Green Tomato ($9) from Tujague’s Restaurant. Continue reading

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French Quarter Fest 2022 – Sat.

Saturday is always the busiest day of the 4-day French Quarter Fest. All of the 20 stages and 50+ food booths were open and crowded. We started with the quieter sounds of Sarah Quintana before moving on to rocking and rolling with Irene Sage Band. When it comes to covers of anything by Stevie Nicks or Fleetwood Mac, Irene Sage is still the only singer that fills me with joy. 

Big Chief Monk Boudreaux & the Golden Eagles filled the big stage with beaded and feathered Mardi Gras Indian suits. I especially loved the Big Chief’s rendition of Indian Red.

Lunch was another Cochon de Lait Po-Boy ($12) from Walker’s Southern Style BBQ – one of my favorite fest foods. Continue reading

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French Quarter Fest 2022 – Fri.

Friday, more of the eventual 20 stages of indigenous music and over-50 local food booths opened for French Quarter Fest. My favorite festival of the year, it’s also one of the city’s most profitable – generating an economic impact of $190 million in 2019.

We walked past the dance lessons in full swing at the French Market before starting our day near the Aquarium with Valerie Sassyfras of America’s Got Talent fame. Her memorable original, Girl’s Night Out, may not have gotten her past the second week of competition, but it made her a cult celeb.

Miss Sassyfras put on quite a show. Continue reading

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French Quarter Fest 2022 – Thurs.

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. Continue reading

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Filed under Carnival, Concerts, Culture, festival, free events and lagniappe, Local Cuisine

Satchmo Summerfest 2021 – Day 2

We started the second day of Satchmo Summerfest – a celebration of Louis Armstrong’s birthday – with the Treme Brass Band. The traditional jazz band has always evolved to accommodate additions, departures and passings. I was happy to see that this iteration included Corey Henry, who I’ve loved since his Rebirth Brass Band years. 

It was another steamy day in the 90’s with a heat index over 110, so people seemed glad for the tented stages on either side of the Old U.S. Mint – home of the New Orleans Jazz Museum where you can find Armstrong’s first coronet. We found shade at an umbrella-topped table and feasted of food booth yummies from local vendors. We started with Red Beans & Rice (w/ Fried Fish) ($10) from Krab Grab Seafood. Having enjoyed their Jerk Chicken on Saturday, we stopped at 14 Parishes for Jerk Pork – but they were already out. Must’ve been good. We got the Rice and Peas ($5) instead and rounded the meal off with a refreshing Tropicalia Salad (w/ Red Onion, Lettuce, Tomato, Celery, Corn, Pepper & Almond) ($6) from Carmo’s.

Midday, it sprinkled for a time, then full-out stormed for a bit but the 2 stages of music never stopped. We returned to find Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns transporting the crowd to a sultrier world, free of the slick grass and trails of thick mud left after the recent drenching.

We’d really enjoyed Theaudric’s Real Clever Cuisine’s Vegan Fried Sprout of Brussels and Potatoes (with Truffle Fig Glaze) ($10) on Saturday so we returned for another serving as well as an inventive Shrimp Poboy Fatoosh (w/ Creamy Creole Remoulade) ($13) and Creme Bru Leches Bread Pudding ($7). Again, all plating and utensils were 100% compostable and bins were provided. 

Rounding the back of the Mint, I could see right away that Hot 8 Brass Band was hosting a full-on party from their stage. The band played a supremely funky version of Atomic Dog as the crowd gyrated in a soup of grass and mud. Dancing along to the beats ranging from funk and traditional brass to reggae and hip hop, I could feel my soul’s battery recharging. It has definitely been too long since New Orleanians have gotten to to be joyful together. 

Within the ranks of these brass band heavyweights, I was thrilled to see the young trombonist I’d first photographed playing with TBC Brass Band at Satchmo Fest 2018. Before the pandemic, I’d seen him learning his craft and getting stage experience with various bands so it was wonderful to him back – a bit taller and older – still working with our best. 

Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers closed out their stage to another delighted, but decidedly less rowdy, crowd. It’s hard to know if COVID will continue to interrupt our celebratory way of life, but it was nice to gather for a  festival and enjoy days of local food and music. 

(For some reason – WordPress won’t allow my post to be in an abbreviated preview mode. Apologies for the entire post appearing in the feed.)

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Satchmo Summerfest 2021

Cancelled last year for the pandemic, Satchmo Summerfest made an abbreviated return with 2 days of music and food celebrating New Orleans native, Louis Armstrong’s birthday. The heat was extraordinary, dangerous even, as The Roots Of Music started things off with a concert outside the Old U.S. Mint, home of the New Orleans Jazz Museum where you can find Armstrong’s first coronet. Continue reading

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A Parade, 2 Festivals & Fireworks!

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. Continue reading

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