We got to New Orleans with no trouble, parked in our usual spot on the River, caught a cab to the fair-grounds and walked in, amazed at how easy it was: no traffic, a convenient parking place and a very friendly cab driver, who took us straight to the gate. Luggin' our 'infamous' leopard-skinned lounge chairs and da back-pack, we went in the gate and headed straight for the food court. The festival is often referred to as "a Food Fest with back-ground music", and for good reason. Many of the finest restaurants and caterers in the area have booths at the festival and like most regulars, I have my favorites that I go back to, year after year. 'Course I am always willin' to try new things. One of the best ways to see what's good is watch what the folks around ya are eating and ask 'em, how it is. If I see three or four people carrying the same thing, I ask em what it is, and how they like it. The answer is usually always the same, though: "Wonderful!" I opted for 2 of my favorites: Natchitoches meat pies, and a soft-shelled crab po-boy. They were as always..... you guesed it.. "Wonderful"! We moved over to the Gentilly stage and set up shop in our favorite spots on a 'hill', half way between the beer booths and the bathrooms. We got there for the last couple songs by: Lil' Nathan Williams Jr. & the Zydeco Big Timers. They were a very good high energy Zydeco band that had us in da fest mood in no time. We people watched and soaked up the sun as the storm clouds lifted, and waited for Charmaine Nevelle to take da stage. I must admit I was impressed. I remember Charmaine from back in the day, when she was a skinny kid crashin' open mike nights, trying to get heard. She has really aged well and come a long way since back when we referred to her as "Screamin' Charmaine". Her voice has matured, become full deep and soulful, especially during the song, "Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans". It tells about growing up in the City, in simpler times, when folks gathered on the front porches to visit, cook, pass the evening with friends and family, and the sound of music could be heard from everywhere. Truly it was those times that inspired the knick-name da Big Easy, and while Charmaine sang, we began to feel the return of that spirit which, for the most part, has been absent since Katrina. We really enjoyed her show. Next up was Henry Butler, and he left us in awe, as always. This guy is a Lousiana legend in his own time, and Peg and I strongly recommend ya hear him, if ya can. It was a great show!
Kids bein' kids, frolicked in the mud behind us, as we waited for Marcia Ball to take the stage. The usual thing happened to Peggy: the "giant" showed up. That's her term for the folks that usually get in front of her when she tries to watch a show, concert, or movie, no matter how early we get there to get good seats. This time the 'giant' showed up in the guise of a big haired kid, flanked by 2 lawn chairs with canopys. All day the lawn chairs were innocuous, but right before the big event that we had waited for all day, suddenly they sprouted canopies. She commented it would happen earlier, sat there and waited, and sure enough by the time Marcia took the stage, this was her view. My view of course, was "Giant free" and unobstructed. I add this picture for Cousin Larry, to let him know he shoulda aughta been there, with us. Marcia Ball is one of our favorite singer/songwriter/musicians, and if ya not familiar with her, we strongly suggest ya give her a listen. This soulful queen of the piano is one of the hardest-working women in show business and a real joy to behold. After a few songs from Marcia, we packed up and made our way around the race track towards the Acura stage to claim a spot for Jimmy Buffett. Even though we got there over an hour early, the best we could do was a very long way from the stage. The place was filled to the brim with "parrot heads" (fans of Jimmy Buffett). It didn't matter though, the sound system was set up well, they had huge screens set up, and everybody in the park sang along with their favorites. I guess I'm a sentimental ole fool, but as I stood there realizing that ya never know if ya gonna see him again( neither one of us are gettin' any younger) I couldn't help but shed a few tears of joy when he sang "A Pirate Looks at 40". That song has always spoken to my soul. Well, after that, we started walking around the track towards the gate, and let Jimmy sing us towards the exit, and the inevitable 'snake-line' of folks tryin' to get a cab, bus, shuttle or anything. We shared a cab with half a dozen other joyful 'festivalers'. We eventually got back to our car, stopped for gas and a 6-pack of Abita beer, then sang our way home, safe and happy, slightly sunburnt, but thankful to the Lord for a truly glorious day.