JazzFest, Part I


Our recent vacation was so much fun!  It was a vacation in two parts.  The first was our JazzFest experience with Tawnne and Sean and our second was our epic 1830 mile roadtrip in 4 days to visit Mechen’s grandmother.

Queen and Crescent

We flew out Thursday morning and arrived in New Orleans that afternoon.  We stayed at the Queen & Crescent on Camp St, near the French Quarter.  Despite some HORRENDOUS reviews on TripAdvisor, the hotel was quite nice.  It wasn’t a luxury hotel but it was clean and functional.  The only recommendation I would have is that a person bring earplugs.  The doors are rigged to close firmly/borderline slam shut and that can be loud at night.  The insulation is likely not all that great but it also happened at the Bellagio in Vegas.  I think doors are the weak point for sound.  I’m a sound sleeper but sudden noises in a strange place can startle me awake.

After changing, we headed over to the fairgrounds and saw Jimmy Buffet’s acoustic set.  It was awesome!  He rotated through some killer guitars and had hilarious stories between the songs.  We figured out where to catch the bus to head back from the grounds, which we did for the rest of the concert series.   This was an awesome find since public transport was $1.25 one way.  Cabs were about $20 and there was a hotel-sponsored shuttle that was $18/person one way (<–crazy).   In case you ever go, you want buses 47/48 if you’re catching them from Canal St adjacent to the French Quarter.

Jimmy Buffet
Bus friends!  We didn’t know the girl but we all helped her finish her fishbowl.

Disgusting, I know.  It made sense at the time.

That evening, we walked up and down Bourbon St and I had my first (and only) hand grenade.  The sugar and alcohol content is ridiculous!  But I had always wondered what they were like so…wonder no more!

Friday was a pretty spectacular day.  We slept in and then walked over to Cafe du Monde for beignets and coffee.  Then we walked over to Confederacy of Cruisers, a bike tour we had signed up for a few days prior.  It was awesome!  We cycled through Faubourg Marigny and the Bywater, early 19th century neighborhoods settled mainly by Creoles and Free People of Color.  Then we biked along the pretty, but traffic-heavy, Esplanade Ave and over to the Treme neighborhood.  We biked through the Louis Armstrong park.  We learned a lot about the history of the people who settle New Orleans, jazz/music history and civil rights.   We passed the area of the train tracks where the incident that led to Plessy vs Ferguson occurred.  Although that was actually a setback for civil rights, it was eventually overturned by Brown vs the Board of Education of Topeka.  On a lighter note, we also stopped in at Marie’s, a local bar where we had a Bloody Mary.  The Bloody Mary was ok.  It was a classic case of a “spicy” Bloody Mary = lots and lots of hot sauce.  In my mind, a spicy Bloody Mary = lots and lots of horseradish. The latter is delicious, the former is, well, still a Bloody Mary but not as awesome.  

We ended the bike tour with obtaining lots of recommendations from our tour leader, to include what to do later that night.  We headed over to the Fairgrounds and caught the last half of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, whom I loved.  “Medicine” is going to be my new closing music at the end of my cases.  Then, we saw Rodrigo and Gabriela.  That’s when I got a little ridiculous.

Why am I so far back?!?

I was fortified with a little (but not a LOT) of booze and decided that I wanted to get closer to the stage.  People were standing with lots of space in between so I quickly made my way up to the first barrier between general admission and the pricier VIP tickets.  I was pretty stoked.  And, again to clarify, I didn’t push by anyone or slip in between people- there was really tons of space.    At the barrier, I decided that I would try to hop it since there was no security around. 

This is nicer…
Here, I am actually in the photographer pit.

So, up and over I went.  There was a little seat/step on the other side so I imagine that I looked exceedingly graceful and smooth…like a cat!  (<– this is likely debatable).  Then, I saw that there were bleachers on the side of the stage.  So, I walked around the stage, told an older security volunteer that I left my badge up there and walked onto the side bleachers.  I am still not sure how I got by on that one.  It was probably a low threshold of caring and hearing on the part of the volunteer security.  Once up on the bleachers, I noticed that people were in the wings of the stage!  I belonged there too!  (I did not).  So, I went to the front of the bleachers, ducked under the rail and made the two foot jump onto the stage.  I did hesitate before executing this plan but it was flawless!  Cat-like!  Regardless, I did not fall onto the ground. 

I want to be where the blond woman is!
On stage!  Success!

So, then I enjoyed the rest of the concert in the wings.  It was so cool and I took many pictures.  I would have loved to try the stunt again with another band but I think I used up my luck with this escapade so I didn’t try again.  Later that night, we went to the Joint for delicious pulled pork BBQ sandwiches, which was the only thing left on the menu they were serving.  Finally, we ended up at a bar called BJs where we listened to Little Frankie Walker, a trombone player with his bands.  We were happy that we had such a full day with so many sights and sounds, to include a late-night concert after JazzFest, which is sort of the second part of the day for a lot of attendees, both musicians and concert-goers.

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