Well, the longer we wait to post something to do with our jaunt to JazzFest 2009, the more underwhelming it will be. As it is, I can't imagine a blog post that could ever do a great New Orleans weekend justice; if you've never been, there's no capturing the wow-ness of the place. If you have been, discussions of it either don't hold up to your ridiculous memories of the place or piss you off that you missed out.
Anyway . . . the biggest aspect of the weekend may have been the little guy's first foray into the Crescent City. G:TB's own Rob joined me, a couple of W&M folks, and a small horde of my hometown chums at the Fest. I'd say his eyes were sufficiently widened and his horizons sufficiently broadened throughout the weekend. Hell, every time I go back, mine are all over again. For his part, Squirrel truly brought his A-game and then some.
Rather than give you a rundown of our weekend teen journal style -- that would inevitably not make chronological sense due to the fuzzy memory of the journalist (only because so much was going on and I wasn't concentrating on the details of the moment!), I'll just show how Rob found out you can spend 72 hours in that town and still only see a fraction of its offerings.
What we heard: The best Fest music ever, so says I. For those familiar with New Orleans artists, Galactic, Trombone Shorty, and old fave and redhead fiddler extraordinaire Amanda Shaw really brought it -- in addition to the bunch of great smaller acts who graced the Fais-Do-Do stage. Shorty was a late addition to our viewing docket, since the Drive-By Truckers backing Booker T were hell and gone from our encampment, and he rewarded us with a bang-up, foot-stomping set. Oh, and Amanda Shaw is 18 now, so comments about her aren't (as) creepy.
More well known artists like Spoon and Dave Matthews delivered the goods as well, but the Avett Brothers and Wilco really lit up their respective stages. Wilco is solidifying its place as the best live band in America right now. And the Avetts . . . well, they do their own thing, and do it well.
What we didn't hear: We took in no live post-Festival music at places like the House of Blues, Tipitina's, Maple Leaf, Howlin' Wolf, or 1,000 other places. We did catch a bit of a band at the Sea Horse Saloon across from the Fest, but according to those not blacked out, I put my feet up and my eyelids down for most of that. Next time, Rob, we'll get you to some of them nighttime joints.
What we ate: The Bayou Philly at Cooter Brown's was no letdown. I ate some other delectables there off other people's plates, but I can't really remember what or if they were even friends of mine. Cooter's was very fuzzy. (Pun intended.) We also had a killer shrimp/fried green tomato/remoulade po' boy at a great place called Mahoney's in the Garden District pre-Fest Saturday.
As for the JazzFest food, I feel like Rob really only got a tiny taste (TJ, joke) of it. Crawfish bread and Crawfish Monica are two absolute staples, but the list goes on so far beyond that. Still... they're fucking dynamite.
Oh, and we ate the hell out of Igor's burgers at some point. As the story goes.
What we didn't eat: Jambalaya, crawfish pie, filet gumbo. (I actually ate some gumbo and got most of it on my shirt, but no real worries -- I wore the shirt for two full days and nights, so it was looking awesome anyway.) No meat pie, no red beans & rice, no crawfish sack. (Crawfish sack is underrated, and you can guess why.) No boiled crawdads. Next time, more Fest food, Robert.
What we drank: Beer. Assloads of it. Abita Amber. Foster's. Miller Lite. PBR. Heineken. Bud. Red Stripe. I remember drinking a Coors on a bet, I think. Bloody Marys with green beans. A tequila shot followed quickly by a Jager shot. A number of screwdrivers, but only because it was breakfast time (in England).
What we didn't drink: Chivas Regal. Chimay. Zinfandel. Zima. A few other things. And hand grenades, because--
Where we went: The Fairgrounds for JazzFest. Igors. Rinse. Lather. Repeat. We did do something I haven't done much in New Orleans, and that's party at some people's place of residence. Some newly made friends of friends had us over once (or twice . . . honestly, Rob, please help me on these logistics).
Where we didn't go: The French Quarter, amazingly. TJ goes to NOLA and never leaves the Quarter, Rob goes and never enters it. I won't speak for him, but I think we did a good job of partying in the Garden District and at and around the Festival, neutralizing any strong desire to head downtown. He still needs to go back if for that alone, but we did just all right without it.
And finally, the strongest performance of the trip:
So we rock it out Friday but hit the hay at a very East Coast not-New Orleans hour (2ish). We get up, head back down to the nextdoor bar (Igor's) and have Bloody Marys. Fest it up again, get shnockered to the gills, do ____ and ____ and maybe ____, then I get fall-down "tired" and go to bed. Midnight. Embarrassing.
I wake up at 5 AM, see that my man the Squirreler is still not back, and call him. He berates me, but I'm just thrilled to know he's still at Igor's. I race downstairs (hence, the clothes don't get changed) and try to redeem myself by drinking at the bar from 5 til noon or so. His two compatriots tag out, and I figure he might need to do the same.
He powers through the whole day, not pausing to stop drinking and making it til close to midnight Sunday before he crapped out. Unbelievable. I was actually pleased with my rise-and-shine rock star performance that day (I was a little inspired by seeing my old friend Bryan behind the bar t 5 AM after a 3 years' ban), but I have to tip the cap to the little guy. Such a hearty rookie performance, I overheard one friend's wife proclaim, "Whitney's out, Squirrel's in. Squirrel is the new Whitney." Not sure about all that, but still.
And so the recovery time ensues. We're looking at 2-3 full days before feeling like a human again kicks in. Ugh.
And that's what we did. Most of it. Some of it. I don't know.