Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fantastic French Quarter Fest

So, last weekend was French Quarter Fest, billed as the best free festival in the world, but I assert the best festival in the universe. Last year, a half-million people came and this year, more than 700,000. That's a lot of attendees for a city with population half that size.

I never look at the performance schedule, I just go and see whatever I see. Sometimes I'm surprised by something I wouldn't seek out and like it that way. I was busy early in the day and got a late start. Pulling out of my driveway, there was a miniature firetruck full of kids circling the block. I followed to snap a picture.

I went a couple more blocks and heard a brass band. Driving that direction, I ran into a second-line parade in honor of a resident who had died.

One of New Orleans' peculiar customs is that people wear T-shirts with the deceased's picture on them. Anyway, they were parading through the streets. I hadn't even left my neighborhood yet!

I drove toward the Quarter, parked and walked. It's difficult to get close unless you want to pay $20 for parking. Not me! I walked right down into the heart of the Quarter and listened to bluegrass music and traditional jazz - both great. The latter group had to be from out of state. There were really terrific musicians playing solo or in groups on street corners for tips or a $10 CD as well as on the big stages.

The Slick Skillet Serenaders were terrific.

After doing a tour, I headed back to my car and found the most fun group of all. Locals who had rolled a piano out onto the "neutral ground" in the middle of Esplanade, singing hits from the 1980s. I hung out quite a while though it was clear that they had gotten an early start.

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