It’s time for farmer tans, racoon eyes, and for the first time for me, a wedding ban tan. In other words, it’s festival season. And French Quarter Festival didn’t disappoint.
Parking was relatively easy and cheap at the self park in the Hilton. Having had administered the ACT that morning, we were famished by the time we got to the festival. The first booth that caught my eye was Crescent Pie and Sausage Co. For eight dollars, I recieved a huge portion of Bad Bart’s Black Jamabalya and large link of hot sausage. My sister opted for some seafood pasta while Cristina went to Boucherie’s booth to order the 12 hour Roast Beef Po-boy and the Krispy Kreme bread pudding. That’s right…Krispy Kreme bread pudding. While they were both delicious, the bread pudding was a tad too sweet. Still a little hungry, we also ordered the beef tenderloin with crazy potatoes and the baked mac and cheese from Crazy Johnnie’s. The beef tenderloin was absolutely delicious, very tender with the perfect mashed potatoes mixed with garlic and herbs. We also tried the chargrilled oysters from Royal House, which were great as well.
Now we were ready for some music. We made our way to the front of the Abita Stage to watch Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers. It was perfect day to listen to music outdoors with the clouds covering the sun about every 15 minutes. Kermit and the band were very tight and put on a great show. The audience was very into it, singing along with popular New Orleans favorites like “Mardi Gras Mambo” and “It’s a Wonderful World.” Kermit is a master at the trumpet and a great crowd-pleaser.
We then walked around Jackson Square to look at the artwork, noticing some we wouldn’t mind owning. If you ever have a chance to get to Jackson Square on the weekend, you have to check out the local artists. Most of the artwork is exquisite, and we have several pieces hanging up around our home. After, we headed over to the Old Mint to see another band we recently discovered.
We first saw Debauche at the Freret Street Festival. The Russian Mafia Band, their words, play tradional Ukranian folk music. There is a thin line between sadness and joy and their songs often stradle that line. I don’t like to dance, but I couldn’t help it. Neither could Cristina. We had to buy the CD. And listen to it multiple times. Within a single weekend. It’s amazing. Seriously.
After a festival lunch of Rouse’s boiled crawfish with a Plum Street Snowball to wash it down, we took a long slow stroll to Jackson Square doing some window shopping on the way. One of the great things about the the Festival is how you notice little places in the quarter you have never seen before. The area across the street from the French Market on Decatur St. is full of awesome little stores with weird antiques, old New Orleans artifacts, paintings, voodoo mysteries, and all kinds of other stuff. We definitely plan on going back soon to do some proper shopping.
The booths in the Square were super busy but after seeing other people post pictures of it, I had to have a Maple Bacon Long John from Blue Dot Donuts. My doctor would hate it, but damn it was wonderful. I offered Cristina a bite and she insisted on taking two. Cristina’s dad used to work at Carmelo Ristorante when it was in New Orleans, then the one in Slidell. They just opened a new open in Mandeville and she was really anxious to try some of the food; however, by the time we got there, it was late in the day all they had left was pizza. She did see Carmelo working behind there, and I know that was a bittersweet moment for her as she remembered the past and her dad.
Yet, we were still hungry and at this point exhausted. There is one great thing about parking at the Hilton. It gives you an excuse to order a dozen Charbroilled Oysters from Drago’s. They are pretty much the only reason to eat there, but it’s a good one.
Oh, and the way home we blared some music from that Russian Mafia Band.