Between the Tents
I already adore New Orleans, and the combination of music, food and culture at jazzfest is irresistible. This year, between Kermit Ruffins’ upbeat trad jazz set and rowdy Rebirth Brass Band, I visited the long lanes of food stalls painted like old-town storefronts and experienced greatness, including Duck Po’Boy and Miss Linda Green’s famous Ya Ka Mein. Alligator Pie: the flakey crust puts all other fried pies to shame. Gator meat as fresh and tender as Texas brisket, and the sauce—let’s just say this sauce has teeth. The sign should read “Alligator Pie: it bites you back!” Crawfish Monica: fusilli pasta in cream sauce, laced with garlic and paprika, with big chunks of ‘mudbugs’ in every bite. The sauce wrapped around my fresh gulf Shrimp and Grits was creamy, almost like étouffeé. I scooped it up while waiting for the Comanche Hunters Mardi Gras Indians--a heart-stopping performance of costume, voice and percussion like nothing else in the world. And there are still dozens of things I didn’t get to try: Crawfish Sausage Po’Boy, Crabmeat Stuffed Shrimp, Oyster Pattie, Mango Freeze, Crawfish Sack. Crawfish Sack? What is that? A reason to go back to New Orleans as soon as possible. I traded my son 3 shrimp from my po’boy to get a taste of his Crawfish Beignet. Worth it! Crunchy fritter crust gave way to light-as-air breading, shreds of crawfish and spices throughout, topped with a thread of remoulade sauce from a gallon pump bottle. Only in New Orleans!
The Greatest Place on Earth
For anyone who loves food, music, art, or history (especially music history) - there are few other places we can think to experience than Jazz Fest. This yearly celebration of art & culture spans the last weekend of April and the first weekend of May every year. Musical acts from near and far make their pilgrimage to Jazz Fest to become a part of the action. If you're lucky (and this happens pretty regularly), national acts will find themselves on stage with local legends where they jam together as if they had played music along side each other for years. Both the food vendors and the art vendors are highly curated which results in a truly premiere festival experience. If you've ever considered going, do yourself a favor and book that trip now.
By Kelley Troia
1751 Gentilly Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70119, USA