Favorite Fest

Of all the festivals available to the south Louisianan, the French Quarter Fest has become by far my favorite one. It’s held in and celebrates my favorite place on earth, the French Quarter, where my family has connections stretching back to my great-great-great-great grandfather’s arrival here as a refugee in 1809. A French colonial born on the island of San Domingo (now Haiti), his family fled to Cuba in 1803 after Haiti’s slave revolution. Adding insult to injury, Spain and France had a falling out in 1809, causing Spain to evict the French colonials from their Cuban colony.

Thousands of French came to New Orleans after the 1803 revolution in Haiti. Thousands more came in 1809, increasing the population of the city by almost one third in one year. My ancestor was a lawyer, and became a judge in the city. He speculated in real estate, overextending his credit after building some beautiful French Quarter buildings, which his creditors took over in the 1840s.

My sister has been living on Royal Street since Katrina tore up her condo building on the lake; the first of our family to call the Quarter home since the 1860s. She’s in a house built in 1832, across from the Lalaurie house Nick Cage now owns. My ancestor built a fine mansion 4 doors down Royal, and another large building on Governor Nicholls right off of Royal. The house my sister’s in would have been familiar to him, until he lost everything and moved to lesser quarters on Bayou Road.

Anyway, that’s some of the history that makes the Quarter special to me, and the FQF my favorite fest of all.

I started the day by meeting Nola and CS at the Napoleon House, where Nola could drink Pimm’s Cups all day long.

Under the watchful eye of the little dictator, I downed an 11:30 a.m. shot of Jameson in Ashley Morris’ honor; even though I never met the guy I’ve learned much about him in the past week. Sharing his fondness for the Saints and Jameson, I’m sure we would have gotten along quite well.

More of the Napoleon House, where the bartender could not sling the Pimm’s Cups fast enought. The place screams New Orleans atmosphere.

We went down the street towards Jackson Square, where we ran into a friend of CS and Nola who had just gotten the neatest tattoo.

This is a girl, not a New Orleans native, who stayed through Katrina and survived in the wild west days of the city during the flood and aftermath. I can’t wait to spend more time talking with her about her adventures.

And then the fest. I’ll spare you all the details of food and drink. All right, during the course of a long day, it was Tujaque’s brisket, a Mrs. Wheat’s meat pie, Antoine’s crawfish bisque, Bywater BBQ burger, and Tujaque’s brisket again (thanks to Nola, who was ready for thirds). And Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream. No food porn, too awkward to take good shots. Here are some random fest scenes.

Normally I get along with artsy types. The guy who had this on display at Jackson Square was kind of a douche. I’m taking the picture, he starts ranting about I should give him a donation for the nice picture. I tell him I’ll put him on the web and give a link to his site. When he says I should still pay him, I conclude he’s kind of a douche. Maybe he was having a bad day, I don’t know. But it got worse, fast. As he concluded his last try at extracting some cash from me, the wind kicked up, blowing all his stuff off the fence and causing him to scurry after it all. But because I keep my word, here’s the plug and link for Sam Infiniti Hurwitch, who can be seen at zemondo.com.

9 Responses to Favorite Fest

  1. Greta on April 12, 2008 at 8:29 am

    You shoulda kicked his arse!

  2. Nola on April 12, 2008 at 8:36 am

    I shoulda gone back for more brisket. It’ll probably be a year before I have it again! And a third Pimm’s Cup wouldn’t have hurt anything either. Ah, moderation is for the birds!!

  3. […] Read a far better description here. […]

  4. charlotte on April 12, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    this was a great read and gorgeous photos!

  5. Mooondance on April 13, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    I love that tattoo. We stopped in at the small Rodrigue gallery in the Quarter yesterday, and my son picked out the giant Blue Dogs affixed to the ceiling. Seems like we have common taste in absurd art.

  6. Stacey on April 14, 2008 at 8:01 am

    sounds like a great weekend….great pics. It was a good good weekend!!

  7. P on April 2, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Speaking as an aritst, it always feels a little like stealing when people try photographing my work. That’s why I have a sign that says “No photos of art, please” You should have respected his wishes.

  8. Pete on April 2, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    I think you’re looking at it from a narrow view. I wasn’t taking pictures of his work to hang on my wall in lieu buying his work. As a journalist by trade (anonymous blogger by hobby) my goal is to truthfully document what is going on in my city. If I can give a little extra exposure and promotion to those working here through the blog of the, “Hey, great artist, check him out” kind of thing, I will.

    Let’s be clear: had he asked that I not take a photo, I would have respected his request. He didn’t. He wanted to be paid for it, after I took the photo. I don’t make money off of my blog. I don’t ask people to pay me for the publicity and exposure they may get if I write about them and show pictures of their work. He hung his work in THE most public place in the city. It’s going to get photographed. Rather than thank people for helping expose his talent, he chose to be an ass. I don’t know whether anyone who saw this post clicked on his link and bought something from him. If they did, great, but I’m not expecting any commission.

  9. Lauren on July 24, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    I’ve sat around shooting the breeze with Sam a few times and he is a pretty nice guy. If he was coming off as an ass it was probably a combination of a bad mood and general disgruntled feelings from the many tourists taking photographs of the artists’ work but not buying it. I of course can’t speak for him, though, but that’s my guess. I can see where you’re coming from, but he probably didn’t see it as you exposing his artwork.

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