Crescent City captures

guitarist in Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville in New Orleans

A guitarist and band leader leans way back and is deep inside his tune at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville in New Orleans’ French Quarter during a Saints game weekend in January of 2002. The crowd was appreciative and festive, many of them looking forward to a Saints victory the next day. Their fondest hopes did not materialize. Those were the days when the Saints did not win nearly as often as they do now and in recent history.

Being one of a few good ol’boys in a Suburban heading south to New Orleans a few years back was one of my annual events. The trip initially was built around our attendance at a Saints game in the Superdome. This was in the late nineties and early two-thousands when the Saints were not prone to win. That and other considerations led us to follow the suggestion of one of our protagonists that we serve as volunteers in a cold-drink or beer tent for four hours during the French Quarter Fest in April. After the volunteer stint, we were on our own.

Street guitarist during the 2006 New Orleans French Quarter Fest

Click on the guitarist for more pix and info.

This story is in two parts. The first part is on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where you will find French Quarter street shots including a guitar duo who were talented far beyond the streets —and a sneaky shot inside a French Quarter restaurant. We’ll wait here while you take a look.

Strollin’ thru the “Quarter”

There was enough slack time in the game and festival trip schedules to stroll through the French Quarter and capture local color. What you’ll see in this post is a compendium of images from 2002, 2005, and 2006, the year following Katrina’s untoward visit to the Crescent City.

Jimmy Buffetts Margaritaville in the New Orleans French Quarter

The stage at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville in the French Quarter left no question in your mind as to where you were. The festive atmosphere in the establishment was exactly what one would expect: slightly raucous and fun.

Performer at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville in New Orleans

Despite the fact that the date was January 22, 2002 the weather was such that the doors and windows to the Buffett bistro were open which facilitated grabbing this shot of the star performer from the courtyard into the club.

Band performing in front of the Natchez in New Orleans

Earlier in the day just off Woldenberg Park and the River Walk, this band performed admirably with the historic stern wheeler Natchez as their backdrop.

Band performing in New Orleans in front of the Natchez

Where else can you see this? No where.

Zydeco band musician playing concertina

A few blocks away, at another pavilion, Zydeco bands were filling the air with their familiar south Louisiana strains.

Street guitarist in New Orleans

This guitarist has grabbed a favored spot at the corner of Decatur Street and St. Anne just outside the legendary Café Dumonde during the 2006 French Quarter Fest. I had a favored table at the time and was in good position to capture this performer. Somehow, I got the idea that I was enjoying the moment more than she was.

Couple dancing in Jackson Square

Earlier in the day, I captured this couple cutting a rug in Jackson Square at the base of the Andrew Jackson statue. Live music from the nearby Southern Comfort pavilion fueled their movements.

Street guitarist in New Orleans

That afternoon, I happened across a guitar duo set up at a street corner. Their “rode hard and put up wet one-time-too-many” appearance was quickly overwhelmed by the quality of their music. You can see more of this duo on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com.

Band performing with singer with feathered headdress

On a riverside pavilion at Woldenberg Park, I captured this performance during the 2005 French Quarter Fest. The singer’s costume, as I recall, had some sort of cultural significance which I failed to record, so it is left to your imagination. Five months later Hurricane Katrina descended on New Orleans with pent-up vengeance.

Here’s hoping you enjoyed three years worth of shooting in a short read. I first went to New Orleans as a sophomore in college in 1957. Four of us played hooky from classes to be at the Mardis Gras on Fat Tuesday.

Considering that we drove in a ’53 Plymouth to New Orleans on an all-nighter from Arkadelphia, Arkansas, (and back in about 36 hours),  it is a miracle that I am here to write about it. From that moment I was and still am, “hooked on New Orleans.”

Thanks for looking.

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

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