Jazz Fest began here in New Orleans on Friday: it runs over two long weekends in April/May, and features all sorts of artists - jazz, rock, gospel, alt country, world, blues, Cajun, weird - on twelve different stages at the Fairgrounds. Last night we heard Lucinda Williams play on the Gentilly stage; Van Morrison was on at the same time at the big Acura stage. (Lucinda and her band were great, though she seemed to have an open folder of song lyrics on the small table next to her mike.) Today we watched the Black Seminole Mardi Gras Indians perform on the Jazz and Heritage stage.
I know you can't get cheese-on-a-stick the way you can at the Iowa State Fair, but the food at Jazz Fest is amazing - pheasant and quail gumbo, cochon de lait po boys, shrimp remoulade, pecan catfish meuniere, and so on.
And most of the time at Jazz Fest, we're not listening to music: we're selling crawfish bread, the most popular item at Jazz Fest - made by our friend John Ed Laborde, the former mayor of Marksville, and sold in vast quantities every year. The Jazz Fest stand also sells shrimp bread and sausage/jalapeno bread. They're all delicious.
Apparently, it takes three tons of crawfish, six and a half tons of cheese, four tons of flour and 120 pounds of ground red peppers to make crawfish bread. Don't try it at home.
When you're selling crawfish bread, you see a lot of people - friends, students, the drunk, the rude, the half-naked, the horribly sunburnt. The thing I don't understand is: why does T.Middy do SO much better in the tips department than I do? Yesterday afternoon was pretty good - I made $24 in tips. Today, in about five and a half hours of work, I got $2. That's it. T. Middy, meanwhile, empties his pockets and announces he's been tipped $30 today. He thinks that it's because people feel sorry for him - they see an Old Person, his glasses askew, and give him money.