Jazzfest 2006 was the best ever. It even rained Sunday and the show went on unabated. That indicated that nothing can deter music lovers from actively appreciating the rhythms and sounds of some of the greatest bands and singers in the nation. The most remarkable thing about it to this writer was the crowd that overflowed at the Fair Grounds. Not only was it one of the best attended musical events in the land but the people were courteous and nice to be with.
And they all joined into the spirit of the occasion. They clapped and danced and hardly an unhappy face was seen.
This writer also enjoyed the heritage part of the event, most of which took place in the Fair Grounds grandstand. As usual, Zatarain put on many cooking shows with chefs preparing typical south Louisiana dishes and passing out samples. The Indian culture was also a feature with many exhibits detailing the history of the area.
Of special note in the Jazz Tent was the singing of our namesake, John Boutte. We know not where he got his name but his voice came from heaven. His song about Louisiana brought the overflow crowd to its feet many times.
Sherman Washington, who incidentally hails from Boutte, was once again one of the organizers of this year’s fest, He has coordinated the Gospel Tent since the first Jazzfest in 1969.
A wide variety of cajun and creole dishes kept the crowd well fed as they spent the day going from one stage or tent to the other. Seafood predominated in most of them in the form of crawfish, crabs, shrimp, fish and oysters. There were also tastes of alligator here and there.
Fats Domino, whose picture was on this year’s official Jazzfest poster, was to highlight the last day in the final concert on the Acura stage but his health did not allow it. He did make an appearance to welcome the crowd and express his apologies.
There is no doubt that New Orleans needed Jazzfest this year, just as it needed Mardi Gras. Living must go on regardless of the obstacles that lay in the way.
Those two events will definitely help to keep the people’s spirits up as they repair their homeland. And their success is a tribute to the people who organized and participated in them.