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
The recently revived Krewe of Freret is a highlight in the middle of a 5 parade Saturday. Part regal and traditional – part whimsical and funky, the parade began with a shout-out to the Who Dat Nation’s recent no-call loss from some of the Saints superfans. Dancing Man 504 and Spidey504 showed off fancy footwork followed by the Bearded Oysters swinging diaphanous pearlized wing-capes. Dancers from NOLA Chorus Girls, Ritmeaux Krewe and Alter Egos brought everything from an ocean of silver-clad women with vintage hair to purple-afro-wearing women putting the fun in funky. Continue reading
It was a gorgeous 75 and sunny day for the 10th annual ‘tit Rex parade. The miniature parade is an adult, often satirical spectacle of big creativity in tiny form. There were even people sipping little Bloody Mary’s, passing out tiny throws and cocktail umbrellas. Barbie and her friends in Mardi Gras beads crowded with their arms outstretched, their kids sitting in ladder chairs. Like my parents, people here grew up making shoebox floats in grade school and parading them down the halls, so the creations are nostalgic for many.
The weekend started with a new French Quarter walking parade from Krewe Boheme. Continue reading
Day 2 of Satchmo Fest started with a dowsing of rain that cleared up and left the day relatively cool. The festival celebrates the birthday of Louis Armstrong. Saturday’s lineup illustrated the reach and evolution of Armstrong’s influence on musicians and music lovers. One of the interesting things about our local musicians is that they often play in multiple bands either as members, sitting in, or as featured guests. Its not uncommon to spot players like the drummer who played with Bonerama Friday and with Corey Henry & the Treme Funktet Saturday. But the player I’ve seen the most this year is a young trombonist who so far has played with (that I know of) Soul Rebels on Friday and the Original Pinettes and TBC Brass Bands on Saturday. With that kind of bravery, discipline and endurance, I’m excited to see who he becomes. And it brings me joy to know that, like so many others, he can trace his beginnings to Louis Armstrong. 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