My original plan was to go to the festival on Saturday and see Cage the Elephant play the last set of the day, but I got distracted by doing really not much at all and before I knew it, it was 2pm and then, when I finally set off for the festival it started pissing down with rain and I happened to be passing a grocery store at the time soooooo… I ended up back at home swaddled in a blanket on the sofa, binge watching Supernatural, and the second series of Dear White People, whilst eating a plate of amazing pre-type 2 diabetes deliciousness from Betty Crocker known as Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies. (It’s evil genius: brownie batter poured on to the tray as usual, teaspoons of raw cookie dough spread about an inch apart from one another directly on top of the brownie batter, bake for 40 minutes and then you’ve got an incredible warm, fudgy tray of addiction.)
But on Sunday I threw the hard crusts of the cookie brownies into the trash, and peddled over to the race grounds for the last day of the festival. When you get about half a mile from the race grounds you start seeing the lemonade stalls, the beer chests and the BBQs popping up on the sidewalk and in people’s front yards. I love this about New Orleans, any event that attracts a big crowd draws out the entrepreneurial spirit of the New Orleans residents. You can get a beer for three bucks, water for fifty cents, corn on the cob for whatever anyone feels like at the time and – yesterday’s stellar find – two jello shots for a dollar.
On the topic of entrepreneurial spirit, a kid was walking up and down my street the other day all chatty and super smiley, offering to sell a potted plant for $10. My plant knowledge is pretty limited because, let’s be honest, gardening takes commitment, but I took a close up look at the plant he was trying to sell. Bergamot was out on the porch at the time so I cast a quizzical eye in his direction, he confirmed my suspicions with a raised brow and a knowing nod of the head. This gutsy kid, had pulled up a couple of dandelions and some grass from the side of the road and was trying to make $10 off it.
I admire this chutzpah in children (unfortunately I wasn’t that kind of kid, I found my niche of wasted mediocre potential pretty early) but I always wonder what kind of adults they’ll turn into. Will they peak early, descending into jaded and cynical beings? Will they become overly arrogant and leave other people feeling used and scummy around them. Or will they use their powers for good? Or final option, a mixture of all three like Alexander the Great? I always hope they’ll hold onto some childhood morals and ethics which -although dubious at times: Stuart WHY? Why did you think it would be funny to blindfold him and push asparagus spears up his nose? – tend to be purer, and more community minded than the adult versions.
I digress, back to Jazz Fest.
It’s a different experience as the decades go by. The festival has remained the same but I have changed the way I experience it. The big main stages don’t hold the same appeal as before, these days I’m a lot more keen to hang out in the tents that have seats and misters. I read all the historical displays now with great interest, and I examine every item in the crafting tents, enquiring about technique, materials, inspiration and genuinely wanting to know the answers. I even collect the flyers and business cards so I can look up the artist in a spare moment. Yes, times have changed from the era when I’d stake my claim on piece of grass and not leave unless it was to let liquid out of my body or put more in.
The liquid intake is still pretty much the same, just a bit more water to wash down the margaritas.
I saw some amazing bands… but sadly I forgot to take any pictures. I did however take this stunner of a photo when I came home. This is the time of year in New Orleans when the winged termites are swarming. The sun goes down, the balmy heat of the night draws them out and they fly around looking for a suitable place to have some termite nookie and make wood chewing babies. They are drawn to bright lights, so people make sure to switch off their lights when they leave the house. Sadly on this occasion I am not included in the ‘people’ category, so I came home to uninvited guests using the bathroom sink as a paddling pool.
They are like stealthy ninjas. You have no idea how they’re getting in, but suddenly they started dropping out of the air and they are EVERYWHERE.