AKA Abraham Bacoln

Jazzfest is upon us
April 25, 2009, 8:31 pm
Filed under: tidbit

For the past two days our neighborhood has been so vibrant that I’m left unable to accurately express how it makes me feel – but you know me, I’m gonna try.

We live one block away from the fence to the Fair Grounds, which (in case you didn’t know) is where the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival aka Jazzfest is held every year. Jazzfest is as far as I know second only to Mardi Gras in terms of a grand tourist influx into our fair city. It’s massive – seven days worth of music at twelve different stages spread over two weekends. It also happens only one block away from here.

When we first looked at renting this house I was reluctant to take it for exactly that reason – the only time I had ever been in this neighborhood before was for Jazzfest and I knew how crowded and crazy it seemed. I was really unsure whether or not I wanted to live in the middle of all that, even if it is only two weekends a year. The house was simply too incredible to pass up, though, so I was left with only a nagging wonder as to how bad the fest season was going to be.

The answer today, after the first two days, is: it’s going to be totally fine and totally fun.

There are people that live in our neighborhood that throw massive parties this time of year, and I’m convinced they live here just for that reason. Some of them don’t even bother to go inside the gates anymore, they just have parties every night.

Last night, for example, Casey and I went to a crawfish boil just one block away. There were well over 100 people there, all sitting around long tables covered with red spicy crawfish, lemons, new potatoes, all that. We went in, got food, sat, ate, socialized, and not once did we ever have any idea at whose house we were feasting. It was just a neighborhood party.

We live at the intersection of two one-way streets, and it’s amazing to me how many cars go the wrong way down the lesser of the two. That number has been doubled this weekend – apparently in the drivers’ minds it’s the last place to turn around before getting too deep into the neighborhood.

Cars come from everywhere to park around here, and we (the residents of the neighborhood) have to be careful about preserving our parking. Fortunately the traffic enforcement is out in great numbers. I’ve seen several cars ticketed and booted already for parking in the wrong places. We’ve also seen what feels like hundreds of patrol cars, and several times the mounted officers (you know, on horseback) have clopped their way down the street. Well, the horses clopped, not the officers, but you know what I meant.

Casey and I just sit on our front porch and watch the flow of people. During the day they’re all headed into the gates, but it’s a constant and slow stream. Around 7:00 PM the majority of the stages are shutting down, and the outflow is intense. We have the most amazing people-watchable parade just sliding down the street right past our porch – close enough to give someone a high-five if we so desired.

It’s strange because I associate huge numbers of tourists with Mardi Gras and the amazing disrespect for cleanliness we all have during that time. Jazzfest crowds are far more respectful, for which I am grateful. We’re using our big trash can as part of our parking spot retainer, and today when I went to put out a bag of trash there were at least a dozen bottles or cans in there. Some people have looked guilty as they throw the trash in, and I tell them not to be – I’m just thankful they’re keeping things clean.

The weather has been fantastic the past two days, and I’m hoping it holds for next weekend as well. This afternoon I stood just off a neighbor’s front stoop and listened to a few talented musicians play just for the hell of it.

Neighborhood music

Today while biking to Parkway for our lunch we stopped at a lemonade stand set up by the neighborhood kids. Yesterday we attended a neighbor’s art show-slash-sale set up in the front room of their house, also just for the hell of it. The sale, not our attendance. We’re going back over there tonight for a live band and some jambalaya, why not?

Casey’s happy because from our front porch she has heard bits of the show of not only Spoon but Wilco, two of her favorites. I’m not saying it’s clear as day here, but it’s obvious which bands are which, and that alone is fascinating – to live that close to all of it.

We’re having a great time, in case it’s not obvious, and I think I’ve learned quickly that I love this neighborhood during Jazzfest.

Oh, and in case you were wondering – no, we haven’t actually gone in. We might … but we might not. We apparently have enough to keep us busy as it stands.

Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *