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
It was bound to happen some time. After nearly a decade of blogging, a post I’d spent over 4 hours writing and preparing just disappeared into the ether. Here are the photos and I’m truly, truly sorry there’s no blog full of context, history and details. Enjoy the many photos! Continue reading
Celebrating Louis Armstrong’s birthday, Satchmo Summerfest kicked off with a sometimes rainy Friday lineup of live music on multiple stages and food. Tents offered shade from the sun and shelter from the showers. Inside the air conditioned Old U.S. Mint, people enjoyed symposiums on Armstrong and related topics.
The day started with The Roots of Music parading down Esplanade. Continue reading
Usually, the only weather concern for Satchmo SummerFest is the oppressive heat and humidity but this year brought a huge rain storm that dumped over half a foot of rain in under an hour, overwhelming the pumping systems and flooding the entire city. That said, we did manage to have some fun at the fest before the weather came through. The distinctively dulcet voice of John Boutte serenaded us as we sampled the food booths starting with a Debris Po-Boy from the Rib Room – which we topped with horseradish mayo to bring out the flavor. Next we tried the Deep Fried Seafood Stuffed Bell Peppers and the Fried Green Tomato and Shrimp Remoulade Salad from Café Dauphine. We washed it all down with a cold Purple Haze Abita beer. Continue reading
Saturday was the third wonderful day of the 32nd annual French Quarter Fest. Crowds were lighter for rumors of rain but the day started beautifully with the talented and highly disciplined kids of The Roots of Music. Founded by Derrick Tabb, the snare drummer for the Grammy Award winning Rebirth Brass Band, the Roots program provides at-risk youths 9 to 14 year olds with instruction in music history, music theory and an instrument as well as ensemble performance preparation. Additionally, they provide academic tutoring, homework assistance, mentoring, round-trip transportation and a hot meal 5 days a week, 12 months a year. Plus, they’re AWESOME! In a city where we could have had our pick of oodles of ridiculously talented bands, we hired a baker’s dozen of the Roots of Music kids to play our wedding second line. Continue reading
We did a lot of roaming our second day of the 32nd annual French Quarter Fest starting at The Mint with a bowl of Pulled Pork over Roasted Corn & Cheese Grits ($7) from Squeal. We got a hug from Winks’ Dwight Henry, star of Beasts of the Southern Wild and 12 Years a Slave before making our way to the French Market where we watched a few minutes of a dance class. Then we walked along the river to Jackson Square for Ponchatoula Strawberry Shortcake ($5) from GW Fins. Continue reading
The Creole Tomato Fest continues to evolve in its 28th year. Now that the Cajun-Zydeco Festival has moved to next weekend, the Tomato Fest has moved almost entirely to the French Market, but this year the layout was a lot easier to manage (thank goodness). With more manageable lines and crowds, we ended up eating far more starting with a beautiful Creole Tomato, Burratta Cheese & Pesto Sauce ($6) from The Three Muses. Continue reading
With the weekend in full swing, all of the over-20 stages and dozens more food booths opened throughout the Quarter for day 3 of French Quarter Fest. The first day, we parked ourselves in front of the Abita Stage and watched masters of their craft all day. Friday, we enjoyed all that again as well as watching well over 100 children take the stage throughout the day. Saturday, we hit every corner of the Fest – from the Mint to the Aquarium and from Bourbon Street to the river.
I have seen the future of New Orleans music and it is good. For me, the first day of French Quarter Fest was a relaxing journey through established local bands – people with Grammy nominations and wins and stacks of CD releases. Day 2 had all that with Dr. John, Kermit Ruffins and Rebirth Brass Band, but the day really belonged to the kids. The weather was insanely beautiful as we started our morning in Jackson Square for a tasty Duck Po-Boy ($8) from Jaques-Imo’s Cafe. Continue reading