We started the second day of Satchmo Summerfest – a celebration of Louis Armstrong’s birthday – with the Treme Brass Band. The traditional jazz band has always evolved to accommodate additions, departures and passings. I was happy to see that this iteration included Corey Henry, who I’ve loved since his Rebirth Brass Band years.
It was another steamy day in the 90’s with a heat index over 110, so people seemed glad for the tented stages on either side of the Old U.S. Mint – home of the New Orleans Jazz Museum where you can find Armstrong’s first coronet. We found shade at an umbrella-topped table and feasted of food booth yummies from local vendors. We started with Red Beans & Rice (w/ Fried Fish) ($10) from Krab Grab Seafood. Having enjoyed their Jerk Chicken on Saturday, we stopped at 14 Parishes for Jerk Pork – but they were already out. Must’ve been good. We got the Rice and Peas ($5) instead and rounded the meal off with a refreshing Tropicalia Salad (w/ Red Onion, Lettuce, Tomato, Celery, Corn, Pepper & Almond) ($6) from Carmo’s.
Midday, it sprinkled for a time, then full-out stormed for a bit but the 2 stages of music never stopped. We returned to find Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns transporting the crowd to a sultrier world, free of the slick grass and trails of thick mud left after the recent drenching.
We’d really enjoyed Theaudric’s Real Clever Cuisine’s Vegan Fried Sprout of Brussels and Potatoes (with Truffle Fig Glaze) ($10) on Saturday so we returned for another serving as well as an inventive Shrimp Poboy Fatoosh (w/ Creamy Creole Remoulade) ($13) and Creme Bru Leches Bread Pudding ($7). Again, all plating and utensils were 100% compostable and bins were provided.
Rounding the back of the Mint, I could see right away that Hot 8 Brass Band was hosting a full-on party from their stage. The band played a supremely funky version of Atomic Dog as the crowd gyrated in a soup of grass and mud. Dancing along to the beats ranging from funk and traditional brass to reggae and hip hop, I could feel my soul’s battery recharging. It has definitely been too long since New Orleanians have gotten to to be joyful together.
Within the ranks of these brass band heavyweights, I was thrilled to see the young trombonist I’d first photographed playing with TBC Brass Band at Satchmo Fest 2018. Before the pandemic, I’d seen him learning his craft and getting stage experience with various bands so it was wonderful to him back – a bit taller and older – still working with our best.
Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers closed out their stage to another delighted, but decidedly less rowdy, crowd. It’s hard to know if COVID will continue to interrupt our celebratory way of life, but it was nice to gather for a festival and enjoy days of local food and music.
(For some reason – WordPress won’t allow my post to be in an abbreviated preview mode. Apologies for the entire post appearing in the feed.)