There are New Orleans traditions that belong mostly to our visitors (Bourbon Street) and those that belong uniquely to locals, but there are a few traditions we all share. We all eat beignets, we all love Mardi Gras (though often for different reasons) and we all love the Tuesday night tradition of Rebirth Brass Band playing the Maple Leaf. Rebirth is the first brass band to ever win a Grammy. The world has heard them in many soundtracks dating back to Reginald Hudlin’s Boomerang starring Eddie Murphy in 1992. Last years’s hit Girls Trip included the band’s original, Do Watcha Wanna – practically a city anthem.
I’d been to the Maple Leaf in the 90’s during a location scout for a film and not much has changed. The service was fantastic – a winning balance of fast and friendly. Continue reading
Celebrating Louis Armstrong’s birthday, Satchmo Summerfest kicked off with a sometimes rainy Friday lineup of live music on multiple stages and food. Tents offered shade from the sun and shelter from the showers. Inside the air conditioned Old U.S. Mint, people enjoyed symposiums on Armstrong and related topics.
The day started with The Roots of Music parading down Esplanade. Continue reading
Because people have jobs, Thursday can be the least crowded day of the entire Jazz Fest schedule. Add a cold rain until after lunchtime and things got off to a very slow start. I volunteered to work in the Kiwanis beer booth to raise money for local children’s activities and got to spend the day remembering everything I love about Jazz Fest. The “shoe forecast” called for boots owing to the rains the night before – todays showers weren’t predicted. But I loved seeing all the fashion fun “boot weather” brings out (favorite pictured below). My friend, Wendy, and I ended up wearing the exact same pair – extra funny since we met when she dressed my character in The Loft years ago.
We set up the booth, got a requisite Crawfish Monica, then wandered to the nearby Acura Stage to watch Cha Wa. 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
Krewe of Proteus was the first parade to roll on Lundi Gras, the Monday before Fat Tuesday. Established in 1882, Proteus is the second oldest parade of the Carnival season (Rex is oldest) and is the oldest night parade. The “Hindu Heavens” theme played out beautifully on exotic floats by The Royal Artists sitting atop the original 1880’s wooden chassis. Named for the shepherd of the oceans as well as the son of Poseidon, the parade’s King remains a secret to all but the 230 male riders.
Friday marked the start of the 15th annual Satchmo Fest celebrating jazz and the life of New Orleans native, Louis Armstrong, with 2 stages of live music, seminars and local food. There were some changes made this year. The most obvious is that the festival is no longer free to the public. I’m sure there are people for whom the $5/day charge might prove too much. I’m thinking especially of large families. That said, you certainly get your money’s worth and if the money went for the new giant tents making it possible to be in the shade all day, it was money well spent. Continue reading