I arrived early for my Jazz Fest book signing and started the day with Glen David Andrews in the Blues Tent. The tents are known for crowds who enjoy sitting in the shade and resting but Andrews got everyone on their feet, hands in the air. His soulful rendition of When Doves Cry turned out to be the best musical performance of the entire day.
The Soul Rebels had everyone dancing at the Congo Square stage. We all put our hands up as numbers for 504, a song celebrating our beloved area code. 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
We were still in our formal wear at midnight when we got to the airport to pick up my niece and her 2 friends from college. We’d been dancing and dining at the annual Raintree Gala benefitting foster children and the families who care for them. We dropped the kids in the French Quarter and hoped they didn’t get in too much trouble on their Spring Break’s first night. We all enjoyed a tasty brunch at Wink’s Bakery the next morning, finishing our meal with super-tasty donuts and their famous Buttermilk Drops.
As Pelicans season ticket holders, we were invited to their annual appreciation day so we left the kids to the Quarter and headed to the Arena for a day of tours, games, lots of freebies and Pelicans players everywhere. Continue reading
With more reasonable crowds and lots of favorite local musicians playing, Jazz Fest’s final Sunday was a balmy-weathered blast. Big Chief Kevin Goodman & the Flaming Arrows were on the Jazz Fest Heritage Stage and I spotted Alphonse “DooWee” Robair, my favorite Mardi Gras Indian artist, dancing among them. We started the day with a delicious Cochon de Lait ($9) from Love at First Bite and a Nectar Creme from Plum Street Snoballs ($4). When I worried I wasn’t going to get a “local” pour of the sticky, sweet syrup, the woman next to me in line laughed, “If you ordered Nectar Creme, they already know you’re a local.” True Dat. Continue reading
Sunday, the closing day of French Quarter Fest, was a drizzly one so we started at one of the many indoor activities – the “Let Them Talk…” interview series at the Mint. Author John Broven led legends Allen Toussaint and Deacon John in a discussion of Cosimo Matassa, founder of both J&M Recording Studio and Cosimo Recording Studio. The event started and ended with Toussiant on the piano and Deacon John singing for us. Matassa was a local legend who is credited with helping to develop the rock and R&B sounds of the 50’s and 60’s. Fats Domino, Little Richard. Ray Charles, Dr. John, Ernie K-Doe, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sam Cooke, Aaron Neville and the legends on the stage in front of us were just a few of the artists Matassa worked with as both studio owner and engineer. 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