I spent the last few days in New Orleans for Jazz Fest. Everything about it was awesome - great food, great music, great times.
My train arrived Wednesday night around 9:00 PM. After exiting the train station, I was greeted by a shady fellow offering to show me the way to my hotel. He asked what I was doing in New Orleans, and I told him I was there for Jazz Fest. At that point he withdrew a large bag of cannabis from his pocket and asked if I wanted to buy some. I told him I wasn’t interested and he went on his way.
After checking in at the hotel, I decided to see what was happening at Bourbon Street. Nobody seemed to mind that it was Wednesday night. Normally that would be pretty cool, but this is the U.S. and you have to be 21 to get in anywhere (if you’re a guy). Not even the Irish pub let me in. Finally I found an oyster bar off the beaten path and had a nice fried oyster po’boy.
The next morning, my dad and I walked through the French Quarter to Jazz Fest. Along the way we met some lady who had been going to Jazz Fest for something like 10 years in a row. She told us that she preferred to start the day off by going to the Bloody Mary bar. My dad agreed that it sounded like a pretty good idea, so we set off to find it. Sadly, it wasn’t there this year.
After walking for quite a while, we arrived at the fest. The first thing we did was grab something to eat. Let me tell you, there was no shortage of food at Jazz Fest. There were long rows of kiosks each serving their own Louisiana specialities. Crawfish, gumbo, boudin, jambalaya, barbeque… basically all the Cajun/Creole cuisine you could ask for.
The best part, though, was the music. I was pleased to see a variety of genres represented at Jazz Fest. They have around 12 different stages set up, each with its own feel. The most crowded stages were the Acura Stage and the Gentilly Stage, which hosted more mainstream artists like Willie Nelson and Jimmy Buffett. Then you have the Blues Tent, Jazz Tent, and Gospel Tent, which offered great music and a nice refuge from the Louisiana sun. The Fais Do Do Stage was the domain of more traditional Cajun artists, like D.L. Menard. World music artists like RAM of Haiti played at Congo Square. I’m not really sure what went on at the other stages because I didn’t have time to check them out.
My favorite performances:
- Michael Franti & Spearhead
- Anders Osborne
- Better Than Ezra
- Christian Scott
It was a great music festival and I hope to return sometime.
Right now I’m sitting at the airport in Nashville waiting for a flight to Chicago. Originally I was supposed to take the “City of New Orleans” Amtrak train to Chicago, but due to the flooding of the Mississippi the train was cancelled. Luckily, I was able to get a ride to the airport in Nashville (thanks again!).