Archives for April 2013

Jazz Fest 2013, Day 2: The Piano Man Plays, Bonerama Gets the Led Out, A Musician’s Musician, A Stage That’s a Star, & Another Barnes Burner


Jazzfest2013 Billy Joel Close Up ReverseBilly Joel ended his Jazz Fest 2013 set with his most famous and self-referential song as over 100,000 fans sang along. Jazz Fest knows how to pack in six digit crowds and Joel, the consummate entertainer, knows how to reduce the largest crowd to an intimate gathering around the bar’s piano. This is one of the last great classic rock artists I had yet to see and he didn’t disappoint.

ABOVE: The “Piano Man” closes out the night with the world’s largest sing-along

Both Joel’s voice and playing were still in perfect form, and from the start he engaged the audience with an easy banter, acknowledging his aging boomer status by pointing stage right and saying, “I know what you guys are thinking: [Read more…]

Jazz Fest 2013, Day 1: John Mayer Grows Up, Anders Is Os-borne Again, Roadshow Redemption, & A Soul Rebels Revolution


Jazzfest2013 John Mayer PsychadelicI May-er may not be guilty of burying the lead in the past, so as Jazzfest 2013 gets under way I’ll begin at the end. John Mayer was headlining Day One on the Acura Stage after having to cancel last year due to throat complications. I have to admit, if there had been an intriguing offering elsewhere on the fairgrounds (I’ve never seen such slim pickings during the headlining hour) I would have ended up there.

"Welcome to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival"

“Welcome to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival”

My best friend Todd, of wedding hangover fame, is a huge John Mayer fan and took me to see him at Milwaukee Summerfest six or eight years ago. While the young star displayed glimpses of talent, both his performance and songwriting seemed immature; worse, I felt immature sitting on the lawn in the rain amongst tweener girls yelling “I love you John!”

I don’t know if this famous gaffe machine has matured as a human being, but I was pleasantly surprised that John Mayer has grown up as a musician, putting on a gritty, bluesy rock-n-roll show for the discerning Jazzfest crowd. It was a pleasant surprise to end a day that was average by ‘New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival’ standards but still better than the day anyone else on the planet had–Jazzfest is for me now what Christmas was as a child.

ABOVE: John Mayer’s sound matures, “I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You)” [Read more…]

New Orleans Visitor to New Orleans Vagabond (A Week In Pictures & Prose)

Hanging With Kermit Ruffins at Bullet's

Hanging With Kermit Ruffins at Bullet’s

As French Quarter Festival 2013 ended I was exhausted (I know, wah! wah!), but needed to focus on posting on all four days anyhow. In the two-week lull before Jazzfest, I was suspended somewhere between New Orleans Visitor and a newly settled resident. Thus, I spent the next week wondering the city like a vagabond, searching for regular spots, trying to make connections, and looking for where I fit in.


Library In A St. Charles Ave. Mansion

Library In A St. Charles Ave. Mansion

Feeling ‘funned out,’ I left my room Monday only to exercise, working furiously to get my first French Quarter Festival post up. That evening, feeling closed in, I walked to a local branch library located in an old mansion for a change of scenery.

Anyone Need A Copy?!

Anyone Need A Copy?!

Finding a seat in a back corner, I died laughing when the first book I spied upon looking up was [Read more…]

From New Orleans Visitor To New Orleans Visionary (Why I Write In & About New Orleans)


Why Would THIS Guy Want To Move To New Orleans?!

Why Would THIS Guy Want To Move To New Orleans?!

Okay, so the title of this post sounds a little conceited, but I’ve been working on a catchy title for some time and this was the best I could do. Besides, it fits for, though I may not be some transcendent, visionary artist, I do have a vision of New Orleans growing into a city full of visionaries. People frequently ask me why I moved to New Orleans: “You can write anywhere!” Yes, but, in addition to my long love affair with this city and the fact that there’s so much beauty, weirdness, brilliance, and absurdity to document on a daily basis, New Orleans is going through an artistic Renaissance and I’m hoping to hitch my wagon to its shooting star of synergy.

Unlikeable Protagonist; Unlikely Pulitzer Prize

Unlikable Protagonist;
Unlikely Pulitzer Prize

Since moving here I have read many sources state in many ways (and have observed enough to agree) that New Orleans is in a historic period of artistic rebirth.  Granted, this has always been world-renowned as a creative city, but the artistic commodity it has produced has largely been relegated to a niche market. Some singers have made a national splash from [Read more…]

French Quarter Festival 2013 Day 4: Diva Rising, Comfortable Crooner, Solo Cowboy, & Swamp Funk Perfection


FQF4 Pipe

In Full Writer’s Mode

I woke up Sunday morning feeling fine but, after a day of daquiries, I decided to keep it dry again, especially since I needed to be semi-professional. I’d been in contact with Better Than Ezra’s publicist, Ashley, since doing my interview for Krewe of Rocckus and there was a young new singer she wanted me to check out, hopefully landing another story in Offbeat. Ashley wouldn’t be in town until the following week, though, to make a formal introduction but her client was singing today and I wanted to know what I was getting into. If her style completely left me flat, and since I’m not the biggest modern R&B fan that was a very real possibility, then I’m not sure how I’d feel about doing a piece. Thus I rushed to make sure I had time to park and take my daily walk before she took the stage at 12:30. Halfway through the first song, it was clear that [Read more…]

French Quarter Festival 2013, Day 3: King Kermit, A Faithful and Prodigal Son, & Bonerama Baby!


Saturday Was My Day To Cut Loose

Saturday Was My Day To Cut Loose

Whereas Day 2 of French Quarter Festival was my day to wander, I planned to stay planted for Day 3. A succession of local legends would pass across the Abita Beer Stage by the river Saturday so I arrived well before arguably the greatest current New Orleans performer took the stage at 2:15. When I arrived, local legend with Mardi Gras Indian roots, Donald Harrison, Jr. was in the midst of his set and the crowd was thick. I slowly pressed into the crowd, finding an open spot near the front where I watched him perform flanked by masking Indians (my dang sixth sense!)

Saturday was also my day to indulge. Signs and announcements constantly beckoned patrons to keep the festival free by not bringing outside food and drink. I’d done my duty the two days prior, visiting a few food booths and even having a couple of beers Friday after my dry first day; Saturday, though, I [Read more…]

French Quarter Festival 2013 Day 2: An Animated Diva, A Funk Farmer, & A Dirty Old Man



South Peters Street Stage

Day 2 of French Quarter Festival was my day to wander, explore, and discover since there was no one on the schedule I was itching to see until the oft-mentioned Dirty Dozen Brass Band closed out the stage on South Peters Street at 7:30.

Again I spent a leisurely morning Friday before parking and making the thirty minute walk to the French Quarter. Since I didn’t have any agenda, it was the perfect day to meander and check out the more intimate stages on Bourbon and Royal Streets. While the St. Peters Street stage near the river is in a wide median and faces down the street and those beside the river at Woldenberg Park are on an open lawn that can hold thousands, the small stages in the heart of the Quarter face across the street, focusing more on the house bands from local bars and accommodating crowds in the dozens instead of thousands. As I wandered down Bourbon, however, there was one problem: [Read more…]

French Quarter Festival 2013 Day 1: A Soul Queen, A Wolfman, & A Bag of Donuts


A Little Rain Wouldn't Ruin My First Day of Fest

A Little Rain Wouldn’t Ruin My First Day of Fest

In April 2005 I attended my first French Quarter Festival at the urging of locals who prefer this local-centric event to the out-of-town crowds and superstars of Jazzfest. It was an amazing weekend, and though I didn’t think it bested Jazzfest, I was sure I’d soon return. Then, just four months later, Hurricane Katrina hit and I along with most of the nation feared New Orleans and its wonderful culture was down for the count. I stayed away for six years as my life went in a different direction, but a city known as The Big Easy got Big Tough, showing it’s drive and resiliency, and the music continued. On Thursday I attended the festival’s 30th uninterrupted opening.


Mission Accomplished: The Crowds Returned, Even In The Rain

Mission Accomplished:
The Crowds Returned, Even In The Rain

The French Quarter Festival was founded in 1984 to draw locals back downtown and has succeeded wildly, winning praise as locals’ favorite event. It has grown into the largest free music festival in the south, drawing over half a million visitors last year to it’s 21 stages spread throughout the streets of the Quarter and the riverfront lawn of Woldenberg Park. Additionally, this event’s mission is to support local music, food, culture, and business. Local bands fill every slot except for one stage of Louisiana influenced music, the food comes from local restaurants ranging from the finest in dining to popular dives, and there are lectures, films, dance lessons, and other events reflecting and promoting local color. All the labor contracts also go to local workers. FQF is truly [Read more…]

Do You Know What It Means To Live In New Orleans? (Making My First Groceries & Coffee At Krewe Du Brew)


My Future Regular Blogging Spot

My Future Regular Blogging Spot

I’ve often been told the best way to get around New Orleans is via bicycle—albeit on a cheap one as theft is rampant. So far I’ve been walking all over town, unafraid to take a forty-five minute stroll to get to a bar or restaurant. This time, however, arriving back at around 5pm Tuesday with my bike in tow, I immediately hit the road trying to beat an impending storm.

Despite the darkening skies, the air was cool and dry, making for pleasant cruising. I first peddled past a potential rental (rough neighborhood, so no dice) and then down Magazine Street past its eclectic restaurants, hip bars, and enviable housing, making it to Canal Street and the French Quarter in half an hour. I tucked this nugget away in my memory, wondering if [Read more…]

My Spring Break, Part 2: A Woozy Wedding & Hurricane Hale


It Took A Miracle To Get Todd Here On Time

It Took A Miracle To Get Todd Here On Time

Although I’d been out until 4:30, I was up by 10:00. My friend Aimee was down to accompany me to the wedding but wanted to hit the beach first. As I packed up, I grabbed my phone to invite Todd; instead, I discovered an incoherent text from Meg:



It is 5:16 am and Todd is spiking puking galore. What the duck did you fee and give him to drink. In 6 years I have never seen him this drunk! Good thing we have 12 hours because he is al yours and chad’s in the am.

I sensed a veiled ‘get him right and get him there’ ultimatum in this slurred text and, considering Chad had just arrived and had hardly been around, I sensed this train wreck falling on my shoulders. There was no beach in my future.


Around 11:00 I texted to see if Todd was awake: [Read more…]