New Or­leans

Frequent Flyer Destinations - - CONTENTS - BY STEPHEN CHRISANTHUS

New Or­leans, Louisiana is known around the world for its fun, food and fes­tiv­i­ties, but one time of year may be the best time to ex­pe­ri­ence it all. The Jazz and Her­itage Fes­ti­val, known more com­monly as Jazz Fest is a 10 day mu­sic fes­ti­val that in­volves the en­tire city. There is no bet­ter time to ex­pe­ri­ence all that this great city has to of­fer.

Tra­di­tion­ally Mardi Gras has al­ways been a pop­u­lar time to visit New Or­leans. Peo­ple go in search of the ul­ti­mate party ex­pe­ri­ence. Peo­ple from all over are draped in beads, ham­mer­ing cock­tails and danc­ing in the streets. It’s that buzz that comes only with a gath­er­ing of that mag­ni­tude. But you also get the abun­dance of grime, crime and in­con­ve­nience that come with it. Nola is a party town all year long. You can have a blast on a Tues­day in Au­gust, you don’t need to force a trip into the mad­ness to get the party you de­sire. Go for the mu­sic, and the party comes as a bonus…the Jazz Fest way.

The of­fi­cial Jazz and Her­itage fes­ti­val is lo­cated on the New Or­leans Fair­grounds, and takes place over the course of two week­ends with a 3 day break in be­tween. It

is packed with mu­sic, food, crafts and cul­ture. There are sev­eral main stages si­mul­ta­ne­ously go­ing off at the same time through­out day. At one point I was tap danc­ing be­tween Harry Con­nick Jr., Trey Anas­ta­sio Band and NAS. Some of the top tour­ing bands in all gen­res play with a mix of up and com­ing stars and su­per tal­ented al­most-un­knowns. It’s a full day for sure but def­i­nitely an au­then­tic mu­sic ex­pe­ri­ence. You can find the daily line­ups on no­jaz­, and con­struct your own mu­si­cal itin­er­ary.

But the fair­grounds are just one part of

Jazz Fest. The mu­sic is in the streets and in the cool venues scat­tered through­out town, are the high­light for me. The town is filled with mu­sic lovers from across the globe and lo­cal mu­si­cians meet them in the streets. Ten piece jazz bands equipped with gi­ant tubas all the way down to bot­tle caps on the soles of their shoes take over whole in­ter­sec­tions, and peo­ple flow in and out of the bar and restau­rant lined his­toric streets, drink in hand,

to join in the rhythm. French­man Street is a prime ex­am­ple of where this tan­ta­liz­ing bar­rage for the senses thrives. In­side the mu­sic venues, gather col­lec­tions of gifted artists you could never find on a sin­gle stage that small, jam­ming out in a seem­ingly never-end­ing se­ries of shows that go on through­out the late night and early morn­ing hours. One late night I caught a show at One Eyed Jacks, and it was MonoNeon- for­merly of Prince, John Medeski, DJ Logic, plus a slew of spe­cial guests. There is some­thing to be said about the feel­ing one gets dur­ing a con­cert that will prob­a­bly never again be repli­cated.

With the ac­tion tak­ing place through­out the city, and not just in the fa­mous

French Quar­ter, one has a chance to re­ally ex­pe­ri­ence the en­tirety of this amaz­ing city. New Or­leans is thought by many as the best food city in the United Sates. From the sim­ple yet de­li­cious beignets at Café Du Monde to the James Beard award win­ning dishes at Pesce, the city is just one de­li­cious play­ground. It’s ev­ery­where you go and in ev­ery breath you take. If you fol­low the beat and smells of the city you could eat your way through a wave of French, Cre­ole and

South­ern in­flu­enced de­lights from Lake­view through mag­nif­i­cent City Park, on to Bayou St. John, Treme-Lafitte down to the Mis­sis­sippi River. The river­front is host to a slew of stores and restau­rants and more live mu­sic. You can walk the beau­ti­fully done River Walk or jump on an en­chant­ing river­boat cruise.

Nola, as those fa­mil­iar re­fer to it, stands out as one of Amer­ica’s all around best cities. There are so many things to see and en­joy. But the best way is to start with the mu­sic, fol­low the food, and then you will get the to­tal ex­pe­ri­ence. Live mu­sic is the lifeblood of the city, but it can lead you down a path of amaz­ing food, beau­ti­ful ar­chi­tec­ture, elec­tric nightlife and south­ern charm. Don’t miss the next Jazz Fest. I guar­an­tee it will be­come the first mu­si­cal kiss to an af­fair with New Or­leans that will last for years. See you there. April 27- May 6, 2018.

Bour­bon Street at Night

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