Friday, April 16, 2010


The French Quart Festival uses 17 stages and has somewhere around 200 different acts. Each
act is from the Louisiana area and each is free to see and hear. There were stages on Bourbon Street, the old U. S. Mint, Jackson Square, Royal Street, The French Market, Riverfront Park, ect, ect, ect.

The last couple of years Stacey and I have gone to New Orleans to see the Indians Parade. They are kind of the last Mardi Gras Parade of the year in NOLA. It was fun to do, but once I heard about the FQF I signed up. The FQF was April 9-11 this year. Friday the 9th was the first day, we got there the next day.
We could only check our bags at the Barrone Plaza Hotel when we arrived Saturday a.m. our rooms not yet available. No problem. This hotel is 2 blocks from the Quarter so we hit the streets. About 3 blocks in we stop for a beer and a shot. 3 blocks later we stop at a stage on Bourbon Street and listen to Lisa Lynn. She is a sassy Jazz singer backed up by traditional New Orleans Jazz Band. They had the upright piano, the clarinet, the stand up bass and they each dress the part. Later that day we were introduced to Lisa Lynn while she was tending the bar at Harry's.

We moved on down Bourbon Street to the next stage and listened to SOME LIKE IT HOT another traditional New Orleans Jazz Band. SLIH was started as an all girl band, but now it's about 50/50. But the ladies are the boss in this band. They played straight up New Orleans Jazz. The ladies played trumpet, trombone and drums rounded out with a tenor sax and a banjo.

Next we got food. In the Quarter there are lot's of small convenience stores. You can get everything from beer too cat food. We stopped at one and got fried shrimp, shrimp and noodles and a couple beers. We sat on a stoop across the street and ate and drank while our friend, Harold, from Mobile tracked us down.

Next the three of us headed around the corner to the U S Mint stage. There we enjoyed Abita beers and listened to PO BOY LOS CITAS. They were more rockin then jazz, but good and local none the less.

Next it was Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers at the Riverfront. Til now we had been at small venues. The Riverfront had two stages and room for a thousand people or so at each. We worked our way towards the stage front as Harold filled us in on Kermit Ruffins.
Ruffins was the new old school New Orleans. He was born there in 1964 and spent his whole life barbecuing and blowing trumpet. He talked a lot in between songs and you could tell he was a cool guy. His band was good and they had a real swing style about them. Ruffins sang on most songs which was another good thing about his act.

We had yet to check into our hotel and we had been at it a while now. We made plans to meet up with Harry in a couple hours and parted ways.
Stacey and I headed to Baroone Plaza Hotel, checked in and were happy with our hotel room.
We cleaned up, rested a while and called Harry. He told us to met him at his office. He explained his "office" was a bar named Harry's in the French Quarter.

We did as we were told and when we find Harry at Harry's he introduces us to Amy. Amy is the girlfriend of Paul who is a bartender at Harry's. Paul is a old college friend of Harry's. Paul and Amy have an apartment a block off the Quarter. Harry is staying with Paul and Amy this weekend. So we have a drink or three at Harry's and head out to see BONEARAMA.

It took me a minute, but after looking at a band fronted by three trombone players it hit me. BONERAMA. These guys were great. Besides trombones there was a guitar player and a drummer. Maybe more, but I can't remember, it was late. We had flown into NOLA around 10 a.m. It was now about 9 p.m. and BONERAMA was finishing up. There was a guest drummer and he was singing "maybe I'm crazy, maybe I'm crazy, maybe I'm crazy to stay". Being a reference to Katrina that got a big cheer. But it was correct, the musicians did stay. Maybe they were crazy, but they did stay in New Orleans after the storm. Next the whole band starts the chant "WHO DAT"and a thousand fans answered "WHO DAT SAY THEY GONNA BEAT THOSE SAINTS"

We walked back across the Quarter to the apartment Harry was staying at on Esplanade, met up with Paul, had a drink and again hit the streets. Esplanade is between the Quarter and Faubourg Marigny. Faubroug Marigny is a neighborhood locals live and play in. As we made our way into the neighborhood we could see lot's of folks were out and about. We noticed a large crowd a few blocks up and the sound of drums. As we got closer we heard drums and horns. A little closer and we could hear voices. A kind of call out. A kind of cadence to match the music. Harry told us it was a battle of the bands. He said these guys made their way around town doing this thing they do. There were two bands, one on each corner. Each band played in a furious manner for a few minutes and then the other band answered. This went on for a while and it was really something to see. I never did figure out why they did this. I never saw anyone pass a hat to collect money and some of the musician switched sides a couple times.

So this was our day and part of our night. We had been out in the sun most of the day and drinking a good bit. W e were tired. Paul and Amy were not to be found so we told Harry goodnight and once again headed back across the Quarter to sleep it off and get set for tomorrow.