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
French Quarter Fest is known as the “largest free festival in the land” and as “The World’s Largest Jazz Brunch.” It’s also been my favorite festival since I first attended in 2010 – and that’s saying a lot in a city with hundreds of festivals a year. With over 20 stages all over the French Quarter, the fest offers 4 days of local music and food. We managed to see 6 bands and eat from at least 6 restaurants in one afternoon. Continue reading