Tag Archives: music

French Quarter Fest 2022 – Sun.

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

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French Quarter Fest 2022 – Sat.

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

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French Quarter Fest 2022 – Fri.

Friday, more of the eventual 20 stages of indigenous music and over-50 local food booths opened for French Quarter Fest. My favorite festival of the year, it’s also one of the city’s most profitable – generating an economic impact of $190 million in 2019.

We walked past the dance lessons in full swing at the French Market before starting our day near the Aquarium with Valerie Sassyfras of America’s Got Talent fame. Her memorable original, Girl’s Night Out, may not have gotten her past the second week of competition, but it made her a cult celeb.

Miss Sassyfras put on quite a show. Continue reading

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French Quarter Fest 2022 – Thurs.

I missed many things during the pandemic, but most of them are available at French Quarter Fest, my favorite festival of the year. The 20 stages of indigenous music and 60 local food booths provide the best of our city’s offerings and it was great running into friends after so long – and seeing so many people wearing Pelicans basketball gear!

We started our day by the Aquarium with Margie Perez serenading a brunch-time crowd of visitors and locals from tiny tots to great-grandparents. Continue reading

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Krewes of Freret & Themis Parades

The Krewe of Freret is fast becoming one of my favorites of the season. The Krewe paraded for 40 years until the 90’s then was reborn in 2011. Some members of the new Krewe are the children of the previous membership. Grammy-nominated Trombone Shorty rode on his Trombone Shorty float with the super-long trombone prop.

The goddess, Themis, represents order and justice and is a perfect match to follow the diversity-and-activism-driven Krewe of Freret. Locals know the story Continue reading

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Filed under Carnival, Charity, Culture, decorations and costumes, entertainment industry, free events and lagniappe, Mardi Gras 2022, parade

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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A Parade, 2 Festivals & Fireworks!

With a parade, 2 festivals, and fireworks – things felt almost back to normal this Independence Day weekend in New Orleans. Our normal is always a bit festive. The Creole Tomato Fest at the French Market featured (limited) food booths, virtual events, and trails of specialty menu items at participating bars and restaurants throughout the French Quarter. I was able to get my annual favorite – the Pontchartrain from George’s Produce ($10) – sliced tomato topped with lump crabmeat and remoulade sauce. 

The first NOLA Zydeco Fest took place next door on the lawn of the U.S. Mint, home to the New Orleans Jazz Museum. Continue reading

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New Orleans Reopening

After over a year of hibernation, New Orleans is reopening. The line in front of Cafe du Monde has returned and regularly stretches to the steps facing Jackson Square. Restaurants are serving indoors (and out), live music has returned, and I passed a mother dancing in the street with her toddler the other day. We haven’t been dancing in the streets much so it felt good to see that energy again – the love of family, music and joyous moments all swaying in her hips.  Continue reading

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COVID in New Orleans, and 500 Subscribers! 

I’m so excited to announce that LAtoNOLA now has 500 Subscribers! I’ve never really pushed for subscribers so I’m thrilled to reach such a milestone. Thank you to my longtime followers like Danica in L.A., Angela in the UK and Mike M. in New Orleans as well as newer subscribers like Emmanuel in Nigeria, Aditya and Rishika in India and Misty in New Orleans. I’ve only blogged 4 times since Fat Tuesday ended New Orleans’ Carnival season and COVID-19 began reshaping our lifestyle. For over a decade, this blog has been a way to share our city’s deeply-rooted and fascinating culture. Sadly, the virus has shuttered our bars and silenced most of our musicians. Many restaurants are take-out only if they’re open at all. Festivals and concerts are cancelled. There hasn’t been much culture to blog about.

This weekend would have been Southern Decadence – when the LGBTQ community overtakes the French Quarter from Wednesday through the end of Labor Day filling the streets with revelry, costumes and parades. Parts of the Quarter are actually fairly busy this weekend. Masked tourists wander in and out of shops. The long line has returned in front of Cafe du Monde where people eat powdered-sugar-covered beignets at socially distanced tables in the shaded outdoor dining area. Continue reading

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