Friday, April 27, 2007

Jazz Fest

It's always a good day when Louis Armstrong is all over the piped-in music in the first public building I enter.

That was the case Thursday morning when we unfolded ourselves out of our Southwest Airlines jet and walked in the direction of baggage claim at Louis Armstrong International Airport.

Yes, it was pre-Jazz Fest time in NOLA - one day ot wander around the city a bit before this morning's start of the first weekend of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

The cab ride in was uneventful, aside from hearing our Haitian-born driver tell us about the havoc that Katrina wrecked on NOLA's cab fleet. Later that night, I heared a similar tale from a Moroccan-born cabbie who said that he had only been driving a cab for six months or so before the storm headed his way. He turned in his rental cab and later heard that it got flooded in the storm. The last cabbie of the day, an older, taciturn fellow who said he'd lived in NOLA all his life, told me that there are 500 fewer cabbies in NOLA than before Katrin. No wonder they're so scarce, particularly after midnight.

But I digress. After leaving our bags at our hotel on Canal Street we loaded up camera, phones and my new Olympus digital audio recorder ($49 at Radio Shack) and hiked around the Quarter.

More details later, but the quick story: We ate at Felix's and Mother's, saw singer-fiddler Theresa Andersson and pianist-singer Henry Butler at Howlin' Wolf, where Jimmy Buffett showed up in the crowd just before the LIttle Feat show. And I caught Skerik, James Singleton and John Vidacovich at the Maple Leaf.

On to the Fest!

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