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
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
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
YLC’s Wednesday at the Square concert series came to a close with the eclectic sounds of Gravity A. I first heard Gravity A play in 2010. They were just finding their (bare) footing with a regular gig at Mid-City’s Banks Street Bar and a set at Bayou Boogaloo and I interviewed them for the Nola Defender. They were the first band I met here, the first band I ever interviewed, and some of the first people I got to know here through my cousin’s-stepson’s-best friend’s-exwife, the only person I knew in New Orleans when I moved here in 2009. But, she left the city and I haven’t heard Gravity A since. Continue reading
With the weekend in full swing, all of the over-20 stages and dozens more food booths opened throughout the Quarter for day 3 of French Quarter Fest. The first day, we parked ourselves in front of the Abita Stage and watched masters of their craft all day. Friday, we enjoyed all that again as well as watching well over 100 children take the stage throughout the day. Saturday, we hit every corner of the Fest – from the Mint to the Aquarium and from Bourbon Street to the river.