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
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
After a one year hiatus, Chaz Fest is back. Named for Washboard Chaz who joins every group, the festival was formed a decade ago when members of The Tin Men (and Alex McMurray’s wife) came up with the backyard festival as a reaction to being rejected by Jazz Fest. Held at the Truck Farm, an artists haven, the 2 stages (one in the yard and one in the woods) rotate so that the music is nonstop – 14 bands in under 10 hours. With its rustic porches, patios, enclaves and hideaways – all festooned with whimsically painted signs – the Truck Farm always reminds me of my childhood at Lemonade Farm, the subject of my novel by the same name. The food feels homegrown and the people are dressed like Dead Heads and flower children. It’s 1976 again with peace in the air. 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.
As I recently remarked to someone, New Orleans is definitely a “you had to be there” kinda thing. HBO’s Treme helps illuminate some of why that’s so. There are actually 2 Tremes, the show and the neighborhood in which it’s primarily set. The actual Treme is the oldest black suburb in the United States, the home of Armstrong Park and Congo Square where jazz (and most American music) was born. This weekend, New Orleans celebrated the neighborhood’s 200th year with a bicentennial festival complete with concerts, food and second line parades. Continue reading
Every August, about 40 restaurants participate in “COOLinary” – low priced menus designed to inspire locals to dine during New Orleans’ least toured month. Each restaurant offers a COOLinary menu of 3-course meals priced $20 or less for lunch, $35 or less for dinner (though some offer only lunch or dinner, not both). It’s a great excuse to try some of the finest and priciest restaurants in town as well as try new items at favorite haunts. Continue reading
Tujague’s (sorta pronounced 2-jacks) is the 2nd oldest restaurant in New Orleans having opened their doors in 1856 in the French Quarter (Antoine’s, 1840, is still oldest). We have sayings around town about the lack of straight walls and flat floors and I’ve grown accustomed to my slanted bathroom and the slope in my hallway, but I couldn’t help but giggle at the wonky walls and tilted floor leading to our table. Continue reading
French Quarter Fest, my favorite music festival of the year and the largest free festival in the South, opened its 28th year with a special treat – Locals Lagniappe Day (though some called it “Hooky Day” as many bosses snuck out after lunch and unattended employees were gone by 3). An entirely local festival featuring over 70 local, non-chain restaurants and more than 800 local musicians and international musicians playing local music on 18 stages throughout the Quarter, the normally 3-day festival was opened a day early to provide a less crowded experience for locals. Continue reading