The family and I went out to a little Memorial Day party this afternoon. We drove out to Destrehan to the parent’s house of one of Mom’s coworkers. I’d met Jessica once before but I didn’t actually know anyone there. Most everyone there was in Jessica’s family. Her parents have a sizable house with a pool, not bad at all for hosting gatherings. The weather was nice and the food was good so I can’t complain. We were there until about four and then left. On the way home, we stopped in Metairie to visit the family there, both at Aunt Doris’ and Aunt Dionne’s house. While I was there I tried to work on Dionne’s computer, which has several issues. I ended up taking it home to work on. As I was repairing in this evening, I noticed some physical disc issues which complicated things considerably. Later thing evening, I talked to Bianca and then Krystle on the phone before bed.
I stayed home from church this morning and spent the better part of the afternoon watching the Indianapolis 500. It was an exciting race, when the cars were actually racing. The race was delayed several hours by rain halfway through and later ended early by rain. Dario Franchitti won the 500 on lap 163 as the rain started pouring again over a caution flag spurred by a multi car crash just before.While the race was still going on, Bianca came over for a while. We were there until Andrey picked us up to go out for the evening. Andrey brought up the idea of going roller skating, which I was fine with, although it’s not something I excel at.We went over to Skate Country in Gretna. It was quite crowded this evening. I’m not sure if I should have been surprised. Overall, it was pretty fun, although I was thoroughly reminded that I’m out of shape and can’t roller skate. I do much better on ice.We went to a nearby caf for a while afterward. I got a little something to eat while I was there. At about ten, we took Bianca home. After stopping quickly at my house, Andrey and I went out to the Dragon’s Den on Esplanade. Otra was playing this evening. I’d been planning on going to this show for quite a while. Dad had been there a good while when we arrived late. There was a healthy crowd for the cramped venue, but you could move around. The band actually sounded quite good in the tight quarters. We were there until 12:30 when we went home for the evening.
I went to work as usual and generally did usual work this afternoon. I left work early today to meet some friends downtown. At about three, I left the office for the day and took the streetcar and headed down to the quarter. Bianca was in town for a week or so. Toni, whom I haven’t seen in quite some time, recently graduated from Northwestern and is back home in New Orleans.I got off the streetcar in front of Canal Place. We previously agreed to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie and I went to buy tickets in advance on the off chance the pre-release screening would sell out. Eventually, I met Bianca and Toni in front of the mall. We found a parking spot on Chartres Street. We walked down to the gem and lapidary shop that Bianca is so fond of. She visits the place whenever she has the chance. We were in the shop for about a half hour before Bianca made her selection. I was actually expecting it to take longer. After leaving the shop we walked through the French Market, as we had some time to spare before dinner.I made 5:00 reservations for Tujague’s Restaurant. After we got there and seated, I felt rather silly going to the trouble to make and confirm reservations. The place was empty. This wasn’t very worrying as I already knew this was a very nice establishment, and we arrived right when the place opened. Our waiter said things pick up around seven. I got a call from Andrey as we were starting the beef brisket course. I invited him to join us for the rest of dinner and the movie later and he accepted. He arrived in time for the entre.As for the food, it was quite good. Tujague’s menu is fixed so the offerings are somewhat widely known. You only choose the entre. Toni and I had the shrimp pasta and Bianca and Andrey had the filet mignon. Overall, it was a nice experience, inspite of the cost. I would have been better had the dining room been populated though.After dinner, we all walked down to canal place. We had plenty of time before the movie so we just wandered a while, eventually walking outside to the riverfront. Toni recognized a fellow Karr student that I didn’t know. After speaking with her for a bit, we walked back to Canal Place.We took our seats in the theater a few minutes before the movie started. Although this was technically a pre-release screening of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, the show did not sell out. To be honest, I did not much care for this movie at all. Although it certainly had some entertaining moments, they were few and far between the nearly three hour movie. For such a long movie, it was confusing and rather short on plot. I really didn’t like it at all and it was a chore to watch at least I saw it in good company, which made it a lot better.After the movie, we walked across the quarter, down Frenchman St. a bit and then back to our respective cars and then home.
Today marks my 23rd birthday. It wasn’t the best, but it was certainly a step up from some recent ones which really sucked. I went to work today but I wasn’t there all that long. I had plans to meet Andrey downtown later this evening and was downtown myself by about four. With a few hours to kill, I spent a lot of time wandering the quarter. I considered going to the Aquarium but they close at five. I stopped at Caf Du Monde for beignets, something I haven’t done in a while. After that, I spent a lot of time walking around the streets of the French Quarter.By and large, I walked the residential half of the quarter which I haven’t seen nearly as much of. I was surprised how much real estate is for sale in the area, but it does make fantasies about living in the quarter a bit more realistic. One house I was a bit curious to see was the one at 913 Gov. Nicholls. I read this was the oldest surviving building in the city, dating back to 178? And I was curious to see it. As the building has some historical significance, I was disappointed to find in a degree of disrepair, although it is inhabited.Not long after that, I walked to Frenchman St. and sat n d.b.a. for a while before walking next door to Snug Harbor. I was to meet Andrey here at 7:30. After I arrived, I learned that the show we were going to see, Ellis Marsalis, was sold out. Not only that, but the show was starting at eight, not nine as I thought it was. We still ate there after he arrived. I think we both had fish. I hadn’t really talked to Andrey in a good while so a lot of the conversation was catch-up about recent goings-on.After dinner, we wandered around a bit. We stopped in this nearly invisible place on Esplanade called the Dragon’s Den. There wasn’t anything going on at the time but we came back later when a band was supposed to start. When we did return, there was no band but the previous act, the N.O.madic Tribal Belly Dancers performed for a little while so we got a drink and watched a bit of that. Afterward, we walked back down Frenchman St. to the Spotted Cat where the New Orleans Jazz Vipers were playing their usual Friday night set. Andrey ran into an old teacher from Karr whom we spoke with for a while as best we could over the music. This wasn’t a teacher I was familiar with but I wish I had been, as she seemed like a fascinating and well-rounded person. We left there around 11 and Andrey gave me a ride home. I went to bed not long after I got there maybe all that walking wore me out.
So here’s another catch-up post. I finished up the semester last week. I did fine in my IT ethics class as those exams were easy. My two history classes weren’t so fantastic though. I wasn’t worried about passing the final on my cold war history class and did ok. The final exam for my colonial Louisiana history class was rather tough and I’d be surprised if I passed it. I do have the other test and a final paper to get e a passing grade though. Overall, however, this has been a rather disappointing semester for me as far as grades though.This weekend, the family and I went over to Aunt Doris’s house. They had a little gathering for Uncle Joe’s 83rd birthday. All the usual suspects and some other family I see less often were there.The only other ‘event’ of circumstance was getting a new cell phone, a Motorola RAZR V3xx and a new carrier, AT&T. I spent the weekend fooling with the phone, performing some rudimentary modifications like removing the carrier name from the home screen.Aside from that, I’ve just been working, although I was off last Wednesday to wait for the A/C repair man, who fixed a blown capacitor, not a big problem.
A couple weeks have passed since Jazz Fest ended. I intended to write detailed entries about each day, but that’s a lot of work and I didn’t have the motivation for it. With all the time that’s passed, it might be hard for me to remember everything anyway. However, I know all the acts I saw and I took over 6,100 pictures so I won’t have much trouble recalling the gist of events. Like last year, the weather was largely pretty decent with the exception of heavy rain on the first Friday, which didn’t really dampen things. As always, the music and the food were awesome and I had a great time. Jazz Fest is my favorite time of year, even better than Mardi Gras.
More often than not, I was walking around by myself at the fairgrounds, although I always saw a big closing act with my parents. Aunt Lauren and some friends of hers I’d met previously were in town for the first weekend and I saw them late in the day on the first Saturday and Sunday. That Saturday after the festival, Andrew, my parents, Aunt Lauren, two of her friends and I had dinner together at Cafe Degas.
As I mentioned in the last entry, I had my “new” camera with me and took thousands of pictures. I rented a 24-70mm F2.8 L lens for the second weekend, a lovely, but heavy piece of glass. I took some decent pictures but was dissatisfied with most of them. Many of the acts I saw were in the tents and the glass I had just wasn’t fast enough. Beyond that, I have a lot to learn about technique. I’m still going though my photos and will eventually post the good ones.
For the purposes of documentation, listed below are all the acts I saw at Jazz Fest this year. They are listed in chronological order.
Saturday, April 28:
N.O.C.C.A. Jazz Ensemble
Jesse McBride & the Next Generation
New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra
Gregg Stafford’s Young Tuxedo Brass Band
Alligator Sauce Piquante demonstration at Zatarain’s demo stage
[browsed crafts section in Folk Village]
George French & the New Orleans Storyville Jazz Band
Dartmouth College Gospel Choir
Sunday, April 29:
Julliard Jazz Ensemble
Bruce Flett & the Bluebirds (there for the shade while eating)
Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio
Ba Cissoko of the Republic of Guinea
Bob French & the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band
Friday, May 4:
Mt. Herman Baptist Church Choir
Lionel Ferbos & the Palm Court Jazz Band
Lusher Charter Jazz Ensemble
Amanda Shaw & the Cute Guys
Saturday, May 5:
Loyola University Jazz Band
Pow Wow at the Native American Village (dance demonstration)
Treme Brass Band
Sunday, May 6:
Washboard Chaz Blues Trio
Louis Ford & his New Orleans Dixie Flairs with Barbara Shorts
Greater Antioch Full Gospel Choir
Harry Connick, Jr.