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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Jazz Fest Day Six

It was cool when woke but soon it heated up and brought in the humidity. The festival radio told us rain is 100%. I dressed and packed accordingly. I decided to wear my tevas, which was a great decision. I took my cap, a raincoat, and an umbrella. The telephone pole I had yesterday is available and I take it. I’m in before 11, which is when the music starts. I head over to Lagniappe Stage to get a dozen oysters to start the day. While slurping them down, I hear the opening act, Kerry Grombacher. After consuming my last oyster, I walked the track to Gentilly Stage to see Paul Sanchez and The Rolling Road Show. There were eleven musicians on stage and over the first hour seven more musicians appeared to sing a song or two. Craig Klein of Bonerama and Jazz Vipers was on stage. The man is like Aurora Nealand, in lots of bands and is creative. Knowing I’d be real active later, I decided to leave halfway so I could get a seat in the Economy Hall Tent to hear some good old New Orleans music from Louisiana Repertory Jazz Ensemble. Most of the members of the brass and old school jazz bands wore white shirts and ties. The clarinets, the saxophones, trombones, sousaphones, and other horns and woodwinds backed by the drums, bass, piano, and guitar decorate the stage and seeps ever so soothingly and enticingly into my ears when I suddenly jump to my feet, grab my umbrella and join the second line weaving about the hall and gently returned to my seat. During the short break, I had a snack, the yogurt. While eating and waiting for the next show, it will only take twenty minutes, I check in on the results of English Football. Arsenal won, as did the Hammers. Tomorrow The Foxes play at The Red Devils; while the Citizens visit the Saints. On Monday, My Spurs are at the Blues, a London Derby. A win is crucial for my Spurs. And I’d love to see Man U beat Leister City.
The new show begins on time, The Palm Court Jazz Band featuring Sammy Rimington. I don’t join this second line. I leave halfway through to hear Ingrid Lucia at Lagniappe Stage. I find a seat in one of the little alcoves that line the far side of the Hall. With a large group this is a great place to make a base camp especially with kids and on a day like this and oysters are here. Ingrid puts on a great show especially when she crotches down and talks to us. She puts on a great show. She’s a local so I can find a show in town. I leave with plenty of time to trek down the track to Acura Stage where I plan to be the rest of the day with possible trips to Blues Tent and Jazz Tent between shows at Acura. That’s the plan. I’m at Acura ten minutes early and find a good spot near the stage for Jon Batiste & Stay Human. I was hoping Stephen Colbert was going to be here to introduce the band. He wasn’t and should have been since they had a serious problem with the sound that lasted twelve minutes and he could have entertained us. When they began they played Humanism, the theme song for Colbert’s show. From there Jon directed the band and us through the show as he danced around the stage playing and directing. The solos and the wonderful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner were powerful. His question of politics, “Why’d you do that?” was played beautifully. And finally taking us back to our childhood when he asked, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” After the show I headed over to the Blues Tent, but it is beginning to rain and I head into the picnic tent between the Blues tent and the Jazz tent to eat lunch, egg salad and yoohoo. I sit at the end of a table and sit on my handy dandy camp seat I take out of my backpack and assemble and then sit and eat. It is raining harder now and people are beginning to find cover and listen the Jeremy Davenport. I’m lucky I did this as I have a place. I sit there twenty minutes as I eat, listen to sweet music, and let the Acura stage get changed. I figure it will take me ten minutes to get to a spot before Dr. John steps out on stage. Drainage down here is not good since we are below river and sea level, which is why it is always so humid here. After a couple of songs I need to put on my hat and raincoat and soon thereafter I have to open the umbrella. As Dr. John and the Nite Trippers play, the rain gets harder and the wind bigger. Jon Batiste made an appearance for two or three songs. The show ends a bit earlier as the rain is coming in on the stage and there is lightening and thunder. Suddenly the skies open up and the rain comes down and the wind drives. Everyone is soaked; umbrellas are useless and get turned inside out with the wind. I head to the side of a building. I find one and hold my umbrella over me in raincoat and hat with a protected backpack. Since we had a forty-five minute break between Dr. John and the next show, Stevie Wonder, I plan to make my way to the food line and get an alligator pie. I make it to the Economy Tent, as the rain gets heavy again. When it lets up again I find a gator pie and eat it as I make my back to Acura through rivers of water. The track is clear, but not the field and paddock area. In some places the water is up to my calf. The rain has really slowed down and I’m hopeful for the show to go on. As I arrive I hear people yelling Stevie’s name and I see him being walked on stage. I don’t notice that there are no instruments on stage. As I make my way through the crowd for a spot, he is trying to talk to us, but there is no sound and even a bullhorn is useless. We get the message, no show. I turn around and decide to head to Buddy Guy at the Blues tent, which was where I was going to go to after an hour of Stevie to get the last hour of Buddy. As I make my way to the Blues Tent, I discover that the entire day has been called because of rain. Wow. How often does that happen? Some folks are outraged and yelling that in all their years here this has never happened. Resigned I head for the bike. It is 5 and it has stopped raining and I think at least I won’t have to ride in this rain. I’m wading across the Fair Grounds and find the track dry because of the superior drainage, and then when I get to the street where my bike is parked it is flooded. The water is halfway up the front gear and the back derailleur is under water. I take care of my bikes so I’m not worried. I unlock the bike and walk it to a place where I can see both pedals and mount and swim the streets of New Orleans to my car, which is high and dry. I am soaked as I rode with the raincoat draped over the backpack a la super hero mode to keep it dry. But I’m soaked. It is lightly raining as I take off the raincoat and my shirt and place them on the floor mat in the passenger side. In my soaked shorts, I put the bike on the car and get a jacket out of the back of the car and put that on but leave it open as it is hot and humid. Before I get in, I take off my shorts and then as I sit on my seat I move my boxers to my knees so I don’t soak the seat and dry off some. The drive home is uneventful and I arrive to discover my awning down. I pull up my drawers and jump out, assess the damage and take the disconnected support arm and raise the awning and then clean up the knocked over grill. After assessing the problem as the rain began again, I left it up and would do further assessment and perhaps some kind of repair, when it stops raining. I hang my wet clothes on the clothesline and retire inside to get into dry clothes. I grab a beer and relax as the rain begins again. When it stops, I go outside and discover the awning is full of water. Even though I have it tilted the water has gathered in large sacks. This must have been what happened earlier. There was so much rain so quickly it didn’t drain and boom down it came. I lowered the right side to the lowest point and all the water ran off. This is the rake I had when I went into town this morning, too. I was in that rain at the Festival, too. The awning still works since I can still use the leg, but now I must order the part and replace it. How often will this happen with the Scamp? Constant attention is required of these camping divas. Instead of going into town, I’d rather spend time at home this Saturday night and not in NOLA during Jazz Fest. It has to be crazy in town and it is still raining off and on. I have next week, after all the Fest goers will have gone home and NOLA is calmer then this weekend and last week. Post Fest NOLA is beautiful everyone says. It is sort of like Assateague after Labor Day. I need a good night’s sleep in preparation for tomorrow the last day. I have to pace myself.

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