Tuesday, April 22, 2008
It's New Orleans Jazz Fest time again! We took a trip with our friends last year and sadly, we are not going to make it this year. This is a photo essay that I wrote last year to remember our time there.
Today marks the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans and the surrounding communities continue to suffer. It is difficult to do justice to this beautiful, broken place that seems both euphoric and deeply depressed. After Hurricane Katrina wreaked cruel devastation on New Orleans, I told myself that I would visit this charming, lively city that has captivated and enamored so many souls.
This year, as in all other years, the annual Jazz and Heritage Festival was on the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May. The festival, known simply as "Jazz Fest" to most, was in its 37th year and from its inception it was seen as an important event for the city that would have great cultural significance and popular allure. As an avid photographer I could not wait to turn my lens on the city, its people and its visitors. We could not have imagined the vast space, filled with countless stages in all directions, where the festival hosts artists playing blues, gospel street parade music, rock and roll, soul, and, of course, jazz. Beyond the eclectic styles of music, the concession booths take traditional festival food way beyond hot dogs and funnel cakes, with delicious catfish po'boys and creamy crawfish Monica. I had heard it described as America's best party, and it did not disappoint.
Aside from enjoying Jazz Fest, we spent most of our time in the evocative and mysterious French Quarter where the ghosts of those who have walked the streets seem to be alive in the churches, row houses and Creole restaurants and in the lovely Garden District. With every corner turned there was a new picture to be taken, a new detail to be experienced - the sounds, colors and scents of this enchanted city will always remain with me.
As always, you can see more pictures on my Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ciaochessa/sets/72157600157849653/