It’s Always a Wild Rumpus in NOLA

I am pretty sure there is a celebration of something, of some sort going on in New Orleans every day of the year. Any holiday you can think of is celebrated to excess — often with parades which include holiday appropriate throws (carrots, along with the ubiquitous beads in the Easter parade, and cabbages on St. Patrick’s Day). As well as any number of festivals highlighting the music, the food, and the art of New Orleans and Louisiana — usually all at the same time.

It’s a year round non-stop Wild Rumpus.

Zack Smith photo from French Quarter Fest

This past weekend it was French Quarter Festival featuring a ridiculous 23 stages, 1,700 musicians, and 400 hours of live music — all for free.

There was a ton of food and drink too — not for free. That would be ridiculous!

Living only a short ferry ride away from the French Quarter made going to this year’s festival a no-brainier. We wandered all along the Riverfront and into the Quarter winding up as we so often do on Royal Street — which was packed with people enjoying the music,

Royal Street during French Quarter Fest

and the creative buskers — like the very talented painting puppet….

Sasi with Ed Moseley at FQF

We found our friend Ed (Joy’s husband) on Royal Street too. (Ed attended all four days of FQF from start to finish. That is serious dedication.)

Mike and I were more FQF fair weather friends, only going on Saturday and Sunday, which left us time to head to a less crowded part of town for dinner Saturday night at the High Hat Cafe. (Catfish for Mike, Pimento Cheese Burger for me, both with the green beans and applewood smoked bacon. Oh yeah.)

Dinner at High Hat in New Orleans

Then, on Sunday morning when we returned to the fest, we had another one of those serendipitous NOLA OMG moments.

Mike found a cell phone.

I won’t bore you with all the steps we took to determine who the phone belonged to, until we managed to find its owner (…look up Favorites…call “Dad”…find out phone belongs to Zack Smith, a photographer…find security guard to help us find the Headquarters tent…yada yada yada) — but once we did find Zack, and return his phone, and he realized he hadn’t just left it in the Headquarters tent to begin with, but that we had found it and were returning it to him he gave us his card with a big smile and said “Email me, I owe you!”

Zack doesn’t owe us a thing — though we are hoping he’ll come to Mike’s Opening in May — because…and this is the part I love…Zach Smith is not just a photographer, he’s the Official Photographer for French Quarter Fest (he took the photo at the very top of this post) and, if you visit his website ZackSmith.com you will see that he has a project called “My Louisiana Muse” featuring artists of many stripes. He’s also taken some wonderful portraits of the local talent, including one of my favorites who you will remember from last year, Rebecca Rebouche.

Portrait of Rebecca Rebouche by Zack Smith

I love these constant reminders of how small this world really is, and especially of how closely we are all connected.

Kate Clark's "She Gets What She Wants"  with Melissa "Sasi" Chambers
(That’s me with Kate Clark’s “She Gets What She Wants.”)

Let the Wild Rumpus continue!