Part One: French Quarter Fest ‘07

Hello everyone, Pontchartrain Pete here (just call me Pete, Pontchartain can be hard to spell and is too long to type). Today’s my first stint as guest blogger for Nola at nolanotes and for this and future posts I’ll keep with the “all things New Orleans” theme. Being single and male, your author will not, however, be discussing any issues relating to pregnancy, childbirth or spousal strife.

One continuing theme is going to be “the things that are ours.” Although not fully developed, the idea is that there are certain things that are unique New Orleans things, and it just happens that these things are also the things that draw “the others” to town.

I’ll try to more fully develop this topic in later posts, let’s go to a really big “thing that is ours,” this year’s French Quarter Festival.

Today’s entry is part one of a photo-filled review of my day’s adventures at the French Quarter Festival on Friday the 13th of May, 2007. My first foray to the French Quarter Fest (FQF) since moving to the Northshore in 2001 and it was long overdue.

For those of you unfamiliar with the FQF, it’s considered to be “one for the locals.” Three days of food, fun and music. It’s spread out from one end of the Quarter at the Old Mint on Esplanade to the Aquarium of the Americas at the foot of Canal. Food booths, featuring many of the city’s best restaurants, line the different venues; various stages scattered about feature local musicians, mostly of the rhythm and blues, soul and big-band variety.

I arrived around 12:30, met my sister who lives on Royal Street (a possible future entry) and borrowed the coveted French Quarter resident’s parking pass she has, a talisman against towing and tickets throughout most of the Quarter except on street cleaning days. I took a parking place next to the Lalaurie House at Royal and Governor Nichols streets (the subject of another future post).

It was an absolutely gorgeous day. They’re getting rare now. Even though spring has just arrived, in New Orleans that means it’s just as likely to be in the 80’s and muggy. Today it was in the 70’s, dry and with a stiff breeze blowing along the river. It’s always nice by the river; if there is the slightest chance of a breeze, that’s where you can find it.

Here’s a scene of the crowd in Jackson Square.

The plan was to eat. Having saved myself for this festival of food, I wanted to hit a couple of booths right away. The restaurants there each had a couple of items, supposedly appetizer-sized, and priced from 3-6 dollars.

I headed straight to an old stand-by, Mrs. Wheat’s Meat and Crawfish pies for a meat pie. Hot, spicy, meaty, everything I expected. Next was a walk around Jackson Square. Antoine’s and Tujague’s booths stood out, representing the old guard of New Orleans restaurants, the oldest and second oldest restaurants in town.

Never having eaten at either establishment (my family has had a long-running preference for Galatoire’s) I decided to check out Tujage’s boiled beef brisket with horseradish sauce. Fantastic. Tender and juicy, the plain beefiness of the boiled brisket was complemented perfectly by the creole horseradish sauce, tangy and pungent.

I headed across Decatur to the Washington Artillery monument, the spot with the “money shot” view of Jackson Square, took a couple of pictures and headed towards Woldenberg Park.

Although most of buggy drivers hanging out in front of Jackson Square were old-school (grizzled old men), I did spot the cutest driver ever.

Coming up in part two (and maybe part three): shrimp etouffee, UFO’s, F15’s, crawfish bisque, sharks, bubbles, angels, haunted houses, the Blessed Mother, courtyards and ice cream.

4 Responses to Part One: French Quarter Fest ‘07

  1. nolanotes on April 14, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    Welcome to the blogosphere, Pete!

    Reading this blog just makes me hungry. I LOVE Mrs. Wheat’s meat pies!!

  2. Moondance on April 14, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    My introduction to New Orleans was the “interested students” weekend at Tulane. It was timed to fall on the same weekend as FQF, so it was my first ever Southeast Louisiana festival. Ah, this brings back memories: the music, the food, the sweating…

    Is the painted saxophone player still hanging out in the Quarter near CDM?

  3. MammaLoves on April 15, 2007 at 10:31 am

    I was just there and you’re making me want to go right back. I miss those perfect days.

    Was there crawfish bread? It’s one of my favorite parts of Jazz Fast.

    Glad to have you in the Blogosphere. I’ll definitely be back for my NOLA fixes.

  4. PontchartrainPete on April 15, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    Thanks for the big welcome, and I hope to keep things entertaining.

    Moondance & MamaLoves: There is always crawfish bread, and there are always painted musicians in New Orleans.

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