We had such a wonderful trip home last weekend. This was the most perfect Jazzfest we've had in quite some time. The weather could not have been more beautiful. We walked there along a street called Grande Route St. John and decided that's where we'd like to live when we move back. The houses are pretty, the people are friendly, and the area feels alive. The smell of the gardenias and the Confederate Jasmine that grow along the wrought iron fences is intoxicating. When we got inside the gates, we were just so ready to eat some yummy food and hear some great music. One great and interesting dish we tried this year was Ya-Ka-Mein. It is a noodle based brothy soup that is made in the kitchens of the African American residents of New Orleans oldest neighborhoods. There is a great chapter on this treat in the book Gumbo Tales that has some neat history on its origins, but for now I'll just say it was delish! We also had the cochon de lait po-boy and some meat pies and an alligator pie. We felt like we were the crawfish equivalent to Bubba from Forest Gump. We had crawfish sacks, crawfish Monica, crawfish bread, crawfish streudel, and boiled crawfish. Everything was amazing!
My favorite performance of the weekend was Trombone Shorty. He is just so amazingly talented. He plays the trombone, the guitar, the trumpet, the drum, the harmonica, and he sings. Incredible! We also really enjoyed listening to Spoon, Jake Smith Band, Earth, Wind and Fire, Wynton Marsalis. It was great. Sunday we did the unthinkable and braved the massive crowds at the Acura stage and waited for the great Dave Matthews. My favorite performance of the day was "ants Marching" with the extra long violin sequence. Amazing!!
It was just the perfect weekend. We spent great time with my family. They were even patient with me when I went on search for the perfect pair of sunglasses!! We caught up with great friends that we hadn't seen in quite some time. We ate, we drank, and we were merry. It's hard to ask for anything more.
The only bad part about the weekend was leaving. I have to say I was quite sad to go this trip. I wanted to stay and be a part of the second weekend of festivities too. There's something about festival season in New Orleans that draws you in to the magic of the city and makes you want to be there so you don't miss a single minute of the action.
When the sky goes down on that Sunday evening and you realize you won't experience all that is Jazzfest for more than a year, you find the walk home almost somber. Like everyone is going a little slower to keep the memories from this year fresh in their minds. I'm sure its the food, and the art, and the music that keeps us going back year after year, but sometimes I think its the smell of the jasmine and the walk along the Bayou and the faint sound of a horn playing in the background that I look forward to the most.
And although we'll have to wait a year until the next Jazzfest, we'll be home in a few shorts weeks and I think the Creole Tomato/seafood/zydeco festival in the Quarter should do just fine.