Sunday, April 29, 2012

Having fun

I went to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival for the first time in 1992 and I still have the T-shirt to prove it. After a year or two my first wife and I established a guideline for choosing which groups to see: If you can’t imagine having more fun than this, don’t move. (Maybe the next group will indeed be lots of fun, but if you’re already enjoying maximal fun then there’s no way you’re going to improve things by moving. Stay put and enjoy yourself!)

Alla and I are back for Jazz Fest now. We came only for the first weekend, and we have one day left. On Friday we had a couple of surprises. Disappointed by the first Cajun group we chose, we walked over to the Lagniappe stage. Lagniappe is Louisiana French for a little something extra, and the stage is traditionally home to groups with local appeal but not a national following. We heard a honkey-tonk group called Kim Carson and the Enablers, which we liked a whole lot. We left looking for something different and we surprised ourselves with a much better show than we expected.

Our next big success was Chuck Leavell & Friends. He’s a very talented guy, and his friends are just as impressive. About halfway into his show I asked Alla if she had any interest in going to hear something different. I was happy to hear her reply “no” because I didn’t want to move either. I couldn’t imagine having a better time.

Today I started leafing through my notes, however, trying to remember when I’d get to hear Irma Thomas singing gospel music as a tribute to Mahalia Jackson. Unable to find it on the program for today or tomorrow, I finally discovered that she competed with Chuck Leavell yesterday. I’m a little disappointed, since Irma Thomas no doubt played a great show. We heard her sing Mahalia Jackson songs last time we were here and liked it so much that we decided to buy an Irma Thomas gospel-music CD. I forgot about that desire until today, but now I’ll go shopping and I’ll get the new Chuck Leavell CD at the same time. We still have no regrets about where we spent our time the last couple of days. My only regret is that we are going home on Tuesday and the festival continues for one more weekend.

We tell our friends about this jazz festival and many of them get excited and promise to come with us next time, but nobody ever does. It’s OK though, because we get to hang out with a few thousand very friendly strangers. How about you?
I like the Cajun food.
Alla likes the music.

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