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
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
As I mentioned in my last post, New Orleans has been staying home since before St. Patrick’s Day and it’s been a huge adjustment for this community-oriented tourist destination. This time of year, there are well-attended festivals and second line parades every week. The constant flow of visitors and convention attendees fill our hotels and flood our streets, restaurants, bars, parks and venues. I’ve accepted the loss of it all fairly well but today would’ve been the first day of my favorite festival of the year, French Quarter Fest. Continue reading
French Quarter Fest ended with a cool and breezy day perfect for picnicking and dancing to local favorites. We started early at Jackson Square with a refreshing Crab & Artichoke Citrus Salad ($8) from Jaques-Imo’s Cafe then beat the lines for Muriel’s Crawfish & Goat Cheese Crepe ($7). Keyboardist Kashonda Bailey of the all-female Pinettes Brass Band had let us know she’d be playing with MainLine so we made our way toward the stage near the Aquarium to check them out. Continue reading
The 35th annual French Quarter Fest was rained out Saturday, which is a crying shame. Many of the biggest acts were set for that day including Grammy-winners, Rebirth Brass Band. It was supposed to be a day of having to make hard choices about what to miss, but a massive storm wiped the day away.
Sunday was sunny, windy and super-chilly (50’s). Sarah Quintana’s teeth were chattering and her trumpet player was trying to keep at least one hand warm enough to play. But Sarah Quintana (with her nightingale’s voice) and the Miss River Band managed to put on a beautiful show. Bruce Sunpie Barnes joined Continue reading
With over 20 stages of regional music and MANY local food booths throughout the Quarter, French Quarter Fest (FQF) is easily my favorite fest of the year – which in saying something in a city with literally hundreds of annual festivals. This is the Fest’s 35th year and things keep getting bigger and more crowded, but it’s still free and that’s amazing. The weather was perfect – upper 70’s, breezy and sunny. The Irene Sage Band was playing Led Zeppelin when we arrived. I’ve written them into my next Charlotte Reade Mystery so it was a fun way to start the day. Continue reading
The last day of French Quarter Fest was just as gorgeous as the first 3. Sadly, for locals, the day started with the sad news that former Saint, Will Smith, had been shot 7 times leaving 3 children and a wife (who sustained 2 shots) behind. He had posted on Instagram, “Having a blast at the #fqf2016” earlier. Many of us wore Saints gear and checked for updates as the story evolved from one of random violence to something more thought-out and personal.
As for festing, we started the day with a Softshell Crab Po-Boy ($10) from Jack Dempsey’s then tried Love at First Bite’s Crawfish Pasta ($8) and my favorite, the Cochon de Lait Po-Boy ($8) from their partner, Walker’s Southern Style BBQ. We hit the Abita stage in time for party-band, the Bucktown All-Stars. Their playful covers included “Rubber Band Man” complete with a dance of silly, stretchy poses. 85 year old Joyce La Nasa joined on tambourine wearing her signature white gloves. Continue reading
I only went to the 45th annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for one day this year and I spent most of that time volunteering in a beer booth – but I still managed to see 11 bands. I didn’t even get to half of the grounds, yet I managed to see artwork by Terrance Osborne and Woodrow Nash, check out Mr. Okra’s truck, hit 2 food booths and visit the WWOZ Brass Pass Tent. I arrived about noon with only 2 hours to spare before work so I headed straight for the Acura Stage to catch some of Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes. They delivered their signature funky rock jazz sound along with guests like keyboardist John Gros debuting his French horn skills. Continue reading
Nestled in the valley between the 2 weekends of Jazz Fest, Chaz Fest is a one day concert in the Bywater (a neighborhood near the French Quarter). Eponymous washboard player, “Washboard” Chaz Leary, Chaz is more than just a symbol of the independent free spirit of Chaz Fest, he plays a few songs with every band. The event started 6 years ago when Alex McMurray, guitarist for 007 (a super group with members of G. Love and Special Sauce, the New Orleans Klezmer Allstars and the Iguanas) and the trio, Tin Men, decided to take matters into his own hands after being rejected by Jazz Fest. Continue reading