So we made it! We left San Diego three months ago with the 50th anniversary of Jazz Fest in New Orleans being our main destination. We had a ticket for one day on each of the two weekends. Our friends were joining us on weekend two so it was just us for the first week. We had originally planned to go on Thursday to avoid the weekend crowd and the headline artist Alanis Morissette was more to our liking. Unfortunately, rain was planned that day which if you talk to the locals happens every Jazz Fest. We thought we were well prepared with our rain boots, rain jackets, canopy chairs (awesome for festivals.. rain or shine!), but the rain that morning was coming down hard and it was windy. When we went into one of the storage bays to quickly get the chairs out (of course, we waited last minute and had to do it during the storm), Penguin’s jeans got fully soaked in only a minute. Jeri was smart and had already acquired waterproof pants so she was fine. Then we saw on Twitter that the 10AM opening was going to be delayed so we started to question whether we really wanted to go that day at all. In the end, the opening was delayed around 90 minutes and the fairgrounds looked pretty waterlogged and muddy so we just stayed home. Good thing since it pretty much rained all day and only stopped for the last couple hours. I ordered some better pants (thanks Amazon one day prime shipping!) in case the next attempt or following weekend was going to be wet too.
For the next attempt, we decided to go on Sunday for Irma Thomas, Bonnie Raitt, and Van Morrison. We took the bus since the bus stop is right across the street from where we are staying and an all-day pass is only $3/ea and that would take care of our transportation both ways without overpaying for a surge priced Uber/Lyft. That day ended up being sunny and dry, if a bit humid. Penguin got a bloody mary and crawfish monica (pasta in a spicy cream sauce with crawfish tails) right away which was delicious. Jeri had a spiked strawberry lemonade and fried green tomatoes with remolade. We also had a tasty ribeye sandwich and cheese bread later in the day so yeah, it was good eating! All in all a fantastic day of music, food, drinks, and good weather.
Weekend two it rained in the morning, but Penguin had proper pants now so we felt fully prepared enough to brave it plus the weather looked fine the rest of the day. There was a rain delay so we camped out across the entrance at the Seahorse Saloon where there was live music & cocktails and chatted with a few others we met. One guy said this was going to be his 35th Jazz Fest! They finally opened the gates at 12:30pm to let us in. We got a great spot with our friends Greg & Brandi who joined us from San Diego but are originally from New Orleans. Dianna Ross, Galactic, and Dave Matthews Band were some of the musicians we heard.
Other good eats: Banh Mi Boys for bahn mi sandwiches, Greg’s red beans and rice with sausage & pork, Cafe Du Monde for obligatory beignets and chicory coffee, chargrilled oysters and shrimp & grits at Apolline, and my own catfish fry with homemade tartar sauce. Near the French Market, we popped into the Pepper Palace for tasting hot sauce, mustards, bbq sauce, salsa, and left sweating. Wednesday night at Lafayette Square was a free live music event with food and drink vendors (jambalaya!) and on the way home we passed a Halal Guys which Penguin could not resist getting. Late night frozen ice cream rolls from Freezy Street.
So yeah, New Orleans has been delicious!