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Satchmo Summerfest 2021 – Day 2

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.)

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Satchmo Summerfest 2021

Cancelled last year for the pandemic, Satchmo Summerfest made an abbreviated return with 2 days of music and food celebrating New Orleans native, Louis Armstrong’s birthday. The heat was extraordinary, dangerous even, as The Roots Of Music started things off with a concert outside the Old U.S. Mint, home of the New Orleans Jazz Museum where you can find Armstrong’s first coronet. Continue reading

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How To Birthday in New Orleans

From Sunday second line and Carnival parades to our many festivals and concerts, New Orleans is a city of celebration. If the city can party over everything from tomatoes to our departed, imagine how fun it can be to celebrate yourself here. For me, a New Orleans birthday has to include great company, incredible food, music whenever possible and the occasional “only in New Orleans” event.

Many people start the day by pinning money on their chest. Continue reading

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The Pelicans Season 2018

I was never much of a basketball fan. In college, I knew Patrick Ewing, David Robinson and the late, great Len Bias. But I never saw them play. Over the years I met Scotty Pippin, John Salley and more – but I still never went to a game. I attended 2 Hornets games when I first moved to New Orleans. They were fun but I felt I’d gotten the idea, amazing athletes playing a ball game with a lot of running. Like soccer. I was always a football fan.

Then the Bensons, the couple who owned the Saints, bought the Pelicans. Tom put his wife Gayle in charge of remaking the game day experience.  Continue reading

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Satchmo SummerFest Sat./Sun.

Usually, the only weather concern for Satchmo SummerFest is the oppressive heat and humidity but this year brought a huge rain storm that dumped over half a foot of rain in under an hour, overwhelming the pumping systems and flooding the entire city. That said, we did manage to have some fun at the fest before the weather came through. The distinctively dulcet voice of John Boutte serenaded us as we sampled the food booths starting with a Debris Po-Boy from the Rib Room – which we topped with horseradish mayo to bring out the flavor. Next we tried the Deep Fried Seafood Stuffed Bell Peppers and the Fried Green Tomato and Shrimp Remoulade Salad from Café Dauphine. We washed it all down with a cold Purple Haze Abita beer.  Continue reading

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French Quarter Fest – Thursday

French Quarter Fest is my favorite festival of the year. The 4-day free festival features local food booths and music on 23 stages throughout the Quarter. The weather was glorious, 77 and sunny with a breeze coming off the river. If the Thursday crowd was any indication of attendance, this year will be a record breaker. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit missing the days when many of the attendees were as  local as the festival itself. Seems the secret is out. I was no help – live Tweeting all day to share my wonderful time with the world. Continue reading

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Satchmo Summerfest – Sunday

After an amazing Friday with Ellis Marsalis, Deacon John and Rebirth Brass Band and Saturday with Bill Summers, Corey Henry and more, the last day of Satchmo Summerfest was a belly-rubbing, hip-shaking capper to a phenomenal weekend of food, music, education and fun. We started our day with new fest vendor, Rib Room, and a sample of their refreshing savory Watermelon Gazpacho ($6). It was so good Friday, I had to get another Prime Rib Debris Po-Boy ($7). We finished up with a Nectar Creme Plum Street Sno-Ball ($4) and pinned some money on birthday boy, DancingMan504.

Our first band was Kid Merv and All That Jazz. Though it was once again Hades-hot, people were up and dancing to the energetic standards. Continue reading

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French Quarter Fest – Sunday

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

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French Quarter Fest – Saturday

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

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Jazz Fest from a Distance

The 45th New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival started last weekend treating hundreds of thousands of guests to artisan booths and demonstrations, fest food and cooking demonstrations, pop-up book and CD stores, interviews with musicians and, of course, over a dozen stages playing up to 8 shows each a day. I think that comes out to somewhere around 400 different concerts over the course of 2 weekends all on the Fair Grounds Race Course. But what if you couldn’t get here? Or what if you’re one of the locals fed up with yet another price hike? (It’s up to $65/day at the door now). You may not be able to eat the food or watch the Mardi Gras Indians parading past, but you can still hear Jazz Fest in a number of ways.

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