French Quarter Fest is easily my favorite festival of the year, which is saying something since we have hundreds of them. With over 20 stages playing indigenous music and 60 local food booths, the festival employs over 1,700 local musicians playing genres from funk, R&B and jazz to rock, gospel and Zydeco. The over 1,500 volunteers and various local companies handling sanitation, security, stages, sound, etc. and more insure that all of the money spent producing the festival remains within the local economy.
I was working on a TV show Thursday so I missed the first day of festivities – which really hurt when I saw the tailor-made-for-me music line up. We started Friday with the Soul Rebels. The fun and funky brass band Continue reading
This is my 10th year enjoying the Young Leadership Council‘s Wednesday at the Square music series in Lafayette Square. We’re so spoiled for music here that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Grammy-winner Irma Thomas perform dozens of times. We got a bunch of yummy food from the booths and hung out with friends while the “The Soul Queen of New Orleans” took the stage with her band, The Professionals . Continue reading
Super Sunday is easily one of my favorite days of the year as many of the Mardi Gras Indian tribes step out to show off their stunning suits of beads and feathers. I’m always humbled by the craftsmanship and dedication that goes into the staggeringly beautiful suits our neighbors spend the year carefully designing and crafting with elaborately beaded panels often portraying tales of battle and loss. Weighing up to 150 pounds and costing $3000 or more, the suits portray wildlife or a 3-D version of the Taj Mahal or even a tribute to things that “Ain’t dere no more” like the Jax brewery and the Saints “Dome patrol.”
The big surprise this year was the women. Queen Tahj of the Golden Eagles tribe created a gown rather than a suit. She worked her grandmothers earrings and brooches into her sequin top and her long skirt was beaded with the figures of women and children encircling her to represent her community Continue reading
Lundi Gras is all about the floats. Krewe of Proteus, the oldest night parade, was established in 1882 and the last I heard, the majestic floats still sit atop the original wooden chassis. The Krewe of Orpheus floats include lighted favorites like the dragon whose head moves and blows smoke, the super-long locomotive Smokey Mary and the Trojan Horse carrying a live band. But the real showstoppers are the floats covered in vibrant and plentiful flowers flecked with gold.
Orpheus celebrates musicians and performers. This year’s star-studded royalty offered Mario Lopez and Trace Adkins. Krewe co-founder Harry Connick Jr. rode as king along with his wife, Jill Goodacre, in the same float we got to ride in with Quentin Tarantino in 2014. Continue reading