Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Festivus

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.


The Music
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.


The Food
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.


The Drink
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--


The Place
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.

Nope.

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.

44 comments:

Whitney said...

Little snippets coming back to me...

"I visited Boston; Boston sucks. They make you drink inside and smoke outside!"

--a New Orleans local who'd spent WAY too much time in the Big Easy

TJ said...

New Orleans sounds slightly more fun than Omaha.

rob said...

we actually visited our newfound friends' place twice - once after cooter brown's and once the next morning to eat cold popeye's fried chicken.

and the bayou philly, for the uninitiated, is essentially a gator meat po'boy/cheesesteak. sorry, mark.

wilco was incredible - nels cline tore some shit up on the guitar. trombone shorty, in addition to being well-named, brought the goods. amanda shaw was all energy and fiddle. but my favorite set was the avett brothers, perhaps because i was all kinds of high on adrenaline at that point, but more likely because they're great musicians and we saw them on a small stage.

it may take me until the next one to recover from this one. it'll certainly take my wife that long to even think about letting me go back.

rob said...

i have a hard time picturing teejay in new orleans. its' temptations are legion and his susceptability legendary.

TJ said...

It sucked. It was for work, so we were right by Bourbon Street, and though I got good and shitty one night, the overall experience sucked.

rob said...

another snippet returning: post-fest on sunday, outside the sea horse, an impromptu papal election conducted in visual range of nola's finest. precautions were taken, though - the electors ducked down behind an suv. brilliant.

TJ said...

Nice TJ. Did it suck? Tell us again.

Whitney said...

Teejay could have stood for some Igor's. Maybe not the 47 hours Rob spent there, but getting out of the Quarter would have done him righteously.

TJ said...

In Omaha they just call it The Sixteenth.

zoltan said...

Omaha is making TJ very bitter. I like it.

Whitney said...

They have really good steaks in Omaha... but they ship them all to people's doorsteps across the country, which angers TJ.

Whitney said...

Also, he hates Marlin Perkins.

TJ said...

Big Z, you never did tell us how your buddy's radio debut went...

Whitney said...

Bayou Philly ............. $10.00
Gator Sausage, shrimp, grilled and topped with roasted peppers, onions, Pepper Jack and American cheese with remoulade sauce

TJ said...

I had some Joba Juice at Warren's Buffet last night. A real dive. My waitress? A Ms. Hathaway.

rob said...

god damn, but that bayou philly is good.

TR said...

That sandwich sounds infinitely more delicious than anything I've eaten this month.

TJ said...

I'm curious how "Squirrel being the new Whitney" is going to play out.

TR said...

FYI: Man U and Arsenal go at it today in the Champions League semis at 2:45 EST. They will meet at the same time next Wednesday.

Whitney said...

Remoulade approaches the elite group of foods that make EVERYTHING better (within reason) -- like bacon and whipped cream. It's like butter and gravy in a 2nd tier of that group.

rob said...

teej, my guess is that it spurs whitney on to new heights of ludicrosity in hopes of recapturing the crown.

Whitney said...

I responded to the "Whitney is out, Squirrel is in" comment with some drunken arrogance. I believe I said that's like replacing Brian Wilson with Bruce Johnston. I later amended it to Al Jardine because Jardine is an original Beach Boy, small, and beloved among fans. When I called someone else in the group (whom I'd just met) Mike Love, we almost had to step outside.

TJ said...

Creole Lady Remoulade?

TJ said...

You, drunken arrogance? Get out.

Whitney said...

Yeah. I even cracked myself up at the haughty Brian Wilson self-comparison. Apparently I'm mightily impressed with my drinking genius.

TJ said...

Did you and Mike Love do a quick "Kokomo" duet?

zoltan said...

Kris' radio performance was good. This wasn't his debut - he had shows in high school and college, and he has appeared on this commercial station before. This was, however, my radio debut. And it was a debacle of Rumsfeldian proportions. They don't have a guy to tell you you're about to go on, so I was sitting in my office with my cell phone on speaker and all of a sudden this robotic sounding voice said "hello? hello?" and I thought it was a heads up to let me know I was about to go on. But I was really on. So after 15 seconds of "am I on? Am I on?" jackassery, introducing myself as "The King from Teaneck, first time long time," I took umbrage with Kris' assertion that the Bills have the worst QB situation in the league. He challenged me and I came back with Detroit, Seattle, Oakland, and KC. He noted that KC traded for Matt Cassell, I said "Umm, erm, how do you like the Bills' draft" which was a question I told him beforehand I would ask, he provided a thoughtful analysis, then I got booted for some local yokels who wanted to talk about South Carolina football.

rob said...

it's a bit hard to explain this, but being in new orleans really made me feel like a different person. it's like the usual laws of personal physics don't apply. must return.

TJ said...

So you felt 6'2"?

rob said...

oh, and in case it escaped anyone, the sleepy guy on the left is whitney during a zydeco set by the pine leaf boys. he filled a valuable role by clearing out enough space for the rest of us to get our groove on.

rob said...

i *am* the new whitney, teej.

Mark said...

Yep, I'm angry that I didn't attend. I am submitting a request for return trip next year so I can go. I've been to New Orleans many times but never to JazzFest (though I've yet to hear a single bad thing) and its been far too long since I enjoyed a good bayou philly or partied in the Garden District (much of my time has been spent in the Quarter as well).

And yes, remoulade does in fact make everything better. Greg can suck it if he disagrees.

zoltan said...

Is "Squirrel is the new Whitney" supposed to be analogous to one of those breezy "40 is the new 30" type of assertions?

Geoff said...

And gay is the new black.

TJ said...

So, it sounds like the 2010 GTB Summit will be at Jazz Fest.

Mark said...

And the 2009 Summitt will be in Jacksonville for Florida-Georgia, no?

TJ said...

Yet another layover in O'Hare...TR, jankees update?

TJ said...

So Mark, nice double dip by your boy - getting himself suspended a game AND knocking Lee out. Solid work.

Mark said...

Howard absolutely annihilated poor Courtney Lee. He never had a chance. It's a shame too. Lee was elevating his level of play from an already impressive rookie campaign.

As for the elbow on Dalembert, its obviously horrible timing (as is Lee's injury...fractured sinus? What the fuck does that even mean?) but there are worse things than seeing your 'possibly too nice of a guy' franchise center get mean and even a little dirty. Now, with that said, they really need to win one of these next two games or Van Gundy might get canned.

rob said...

weird shit in detroit - fire alarms go off during yanks/tigers game, evacuation starts, yanks head off the field. then, false alarm called. i blame joba.

Greg said...

"eyes widened" ....... Like saucers I bet

Whitney said...

New A-Rod report details more extensive steroid use, but this is what struck me. My brain is still so mushy from JazzFest that it took me several minutes to figure out what "B---h T--s" stood for. It might've helped to have read the rest of the sentence, of course, but I saw a bunch of words and my eyes glazed over.

Yankees teammates, Roberts writes, nicknamed Rodriguez "B---h T--s" in 2005 because he put on 15 pounds in the offseason which included round pectorals, a condition called gynecomastia that can be caused by anabolic steroids.

Geoff said...

Bath towels? Butch traits? Busch tallboys?

TR said...

I feel a bit embarassed to have already pre-ordered my copy of A-Rod, but I can't help it. I think Selena Roberts is a great reporter, and I've gotta think that most of the stuff in the book is true.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if he started juicing in high school. Roids were running rampant for tri-state area muscleheads in the early 1990's.

I, however, remain all natural. And a little fat.