Friday, May 22, 2015

Jazz Fest!

I just experienced my first New Orleans Jazz Fest.

Dave has been many times and regaled me with stories. And so have many of his friends. Before that, it had been off my radar. Vaguely, I associated it with Dixieland Jazz. But, oh, it's so much more.

Mardi Gras Indians

Samba parade!
Jazz Fest is open a total of seven days, spread over two weekends, at the Fairgrounds. There are also a ton of other activities throughout the city going on during those two weeks, including music at various venues all night long.
You never know what you'll see walking around the neighborhoods.
We went the second weekend--which turned out to be fortunate because the weather was a perfect 70's to low 80's, with a breeze. It's more often hot and humid. Or sometimes there are torrential downpours, which had been the case the previous weekend. I noticed, though, that people rarely complain. They are there to have fun and immerse themselves in the powerful, universal language that is music and community.

Our first day, Friday, we took the trolley from our Garden District B&B. (We also took cabs and walked a lot.)

Hubbard B&B in the Garden District.
Where we had breakfast every morning.

Walking through the gates of the fairground, I was overwhelmed with gratitude to be there. As though pulled by an invisible hand, we walked right into the Gospel Tent. The music reached into me, and my eyes filled with tears.

That day we saw thirteen artists--from blues and Cajun to Honky Tonk to Brazilian jazz.

One of my favorites: Anders Osborne

Doreen's Jazz New Orleans knocked our socks off.
And over the course of the weekend, we saw much more, including (in a sea of fans) the classic rock of Steve Winwood--and Dave's all-time favorites, the Radiators.

Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Review
Both Friday and Saturday nights we went to shows, too--and had a lot of fun hanging out with friends old and new.

The guys at a night show, Fishhead Stew.
Julie, Scott and Dave happy with their pork Po'Boys.
My favorite food at the fairgrounds was a muffuletta. Staying in the Garden District, we were able to walk easily to Magazine Street restaurants. We especially enjoyed Joey K's, which featured down-home NOLA cooking.
Red beans and rice for me, veal with brown gravy for Dave.
There's so much going on, you can't see it or do it all. For instance, we didn't see Elton John and Lenny Kravitz that weekend.
But that's life, right? A big buffet of choices. I like to fully appreciate what's in front of me. The only way I'm really missing out is if I don't.

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