Having not been to New Orleans since I was on the basketball staff at the University of Cincinnati when took on Tulane in 2004, I was very much looking forward to returning to the Big Easy. I was going for a long weekend, with the major reason for my trip being to attend New Orleans Jazz Fest and Heritage Festival. Having known very little about this event, I had no idea what to expect. To be quite honest, I was expecting the worst, remembering my experience at the Kentucky Derby years ago and hearing stories of huge music festivals like Woodstock and Bonnaroo.
Jazz Fest took place at the local horse track, where the infield is covered with booths, tents, stages and people. Upon entering, I was surprised at home many different tents and stages were being used for music, all at the same time. I think there were near 10 venues that you could hear live music at at any given moment.
As I whole, I really enjoyed my experience. Sure it was hot and the sun was beating down, but since you are allowed to bring in soft coolers with bottled water,I was very hydrated. The crowd overall was very tame and chill. Again, thinking back to the Kentucky Derby, I thought the infield of the track would be filled with drunks. That could not of been farther from the truth.
For me, the top three acts that I saw over my two day stay were the Eagles, Better than Ezra and the Foo Fighters. All had songs I knew, and put on a pretty good show.
I can not comment enough about the food. Absolutely outstanding! So many options to choose from at different booths there was not enough time, or money, to try everything.
Being a big “event guy” this ranks very highly on my list. New Orleans is such an interesting city and has a different feel for me than most in the country. I recommend this for sure. Now, as far as visiting Bourbon Street…Yes, I went…No you can not see pictures or hear stories…
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by Dusty Baker, Cincinnati Reds Manager