So JazzFest kicked off this week and we had several first time visitors stop by. And one of the questions we get from first timers is “why DO you call it the Big Easy?.”
Well here’s how it goes. We had two crawfish boils going in the neighborhood, one arond the corner at Mid City Stevies and one across the street at MathMan Matts.
My buddy Dave Glynn from Chicago was here staying with me and his friend Richie with his wife Nora came down as well. Dave and Richie have a blues band in Chicago, which is like having a restaurant in New Orleans. You better be good to survive.
Well The Empty Can Band is pretty good and so we imposed on them to play a few tunes. And one of Stevies tenants, Erin, can carry a tune OK so she joined in.
Then we went over to listen to a little music. Couple of folks you may have heard of. Irma Thomas joined by Marcia Ball. Bon Jovi. Dr. John doing a tribute to his old friend and drummer Herman Edwards. Jeff Beck joined by Trombone Shorty. Tom Jones killing St. James Infirmary. John Mellencamp killing an entire set. Fantasia deciding she didn’t like two rows of barricades between her and the fans and getting off the stage and wading into the crowd.
I didn’t get to see Mumford & Sons or Arlo or Tab Benoit or … well you get the picture.
And we ate some great food. Introduced Davey to Crawfish Monica. He asked if that was what she did now. I said no, different Monica. .
Then back for some more mudbugs and music on the porch. Another old friend Christy Burke handling the vocals this time. Then some young Columbian musicians came strolling by and sat in.
And to borrow from the great writer Walter Mosley, “I sat with my friends, on my porch, at my house, and we laughed a long time …”. Sometime during all that I turned to Nora and said “THIS is why we call it The Big Easy.”
And it is.
Little follow up. The great HBO series Treme is filming today at the JazzFest site and Gayle went over to be an extra for the crowd scenes. Her report was that the best perk was not the hobnobbing with movie stars and musicians and a day of free music in the Blues Tent and Acura Stage but free crawfish monica when they filmed a scene at the food booths!!
Music, food and friends. THAT’S why we call it The Big Easy!!