April 2008

Stede Bonnet: Not Guilty

This entry is quite late and I want to go to bed so I’ll just briefly mention what went down during the Jazz Fest Intermission. I don’t recall much except for the trial in pirate societies class. This final project involved me and a fellow group of students ‘reenacting’ the trial of Stede Bonnet, a pirate who was associated with Blackbeard. Luckily we were only loose;ly confined by history and were largely able to simply make things up. The classmates not playing parts in the trial served as the jury. The classmate who played Bonnet was to have me play General James Edward Oglethorpe, founder of Georgia. A couple days before the trial he changed by character to former North Carolina governor Charles Eden, which screwed up my bibliography. The trial itself went quite smoothly. Matthew, who played Bonnet, gave an “epic” opening statement and we ultimately made the prosecution look pretty stupid and we won a unanimous not guilty verdict.

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Still Wet

My family went to church today and I got a cab to the fairgrounds for Jazz Fest this afternoon. The first act I saw today was Lionel Ferbos and the Palm Court Jazz Band. Mr. Ferbos is 97 years old but he apparently has young lungs because his trumpet still sounds pretty damn good. He and his band play traditional jazz that goes along well with second lines.After the first show I got something to eat and took it to the jazz tent. Today I had the crawfish etouffee in bread bowl and Cajun crawfish rice. The second act at the jazz tent this afternoon was Jeremy Davenport. He’s a fine entertainer with a good band that I’ve seen a few times at the Melange at the Ritz. It was odd to see his act in such a different venue. To be honest, it works a lot better in a more intimate setting.I kepy my front row seat after Davenport finished to watch Jesse McBride and The Next Generation. McBride showcases new local talent at his performances. I recognized a couple of the accompanying musicians from last year’s show. I left there early to check out a group from west Africa, Mamadou Diabate. Suffice it to say, it was unusual performance but very entertaining. Mamadou played a kora and his accompanying musicians played some equally interesting instruments. During the performance it started pouring. He tent got very popular and the aisle behind me started flooding with water. I kept a close eye on the water line so I’d know if I had to pick my camera bag up off the ground. Since it was pouring outside I kept my seat in the tent after Mamadou Diabate finished, as I didn’t want to walk in the rain and my seat was now very valuable. I saw the first half of the next act, Roy Young, an “explosive soul singer with a truly unique and memorable voice.”I left the blues tent at about 4:15 to head to Economy Hall to see Pete Fountain. Whatever needs to be said about Pete I probably covered a couple weeks ago in my French Quarter Fest entry. Suffice it to say, it was a great show. After Pete Fountain finished, I walked over to Congo Square where Al Green was closing out tonight. He was ‘fashionably late’ so I saw the start of the set. Having to contend with mud and overwhelming crowds, I didn’t stay that long. BeauSoleil was playing about 100 paces away at the FAis-Do-Do stage and I saw them for a little while and shot some pictures of people dancing in the mud before I made my way out of the fairgrounds to a cab and home. By six o’clock I was tired and didn’t want to content with what would be long lines for cabs had I waited.

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Rain Soaked Jazz

Dad gave me a ride to the fairgrounds today amid some dreary weather. I got there shortly after noon, in time for the start of The Original Last Straws in Economy Hall. They were pretty decent but I left there after about 20 minutes to see Riccardo Crespo & Sol Brasil. I watched him for a few minutes and eventually wandered over to the jazz tent to see Germaine Bazzle, seeing a glass blowing demonstration along the way. It was crowded there in the jazz tend and I didn’t stay that long.After that, I got something to eat at the food area by the crafts section. I got the trout baquet and gumbo, which was pretty decent but not the easiest thing to eat. After lunch I walked back to Economy Hall, seeing a bit of the Mahogany Brass Band along the way. I went to Economy Hall to see Tricia Boutt and the Ytre Sulens Jass-ensemble. I always like to see international acts when they play at Jazz Fest as they’re usually very good and the there is seldom an opportunity to see them ever again. This particular act was quite good. The band was foreign but the vocalist is a local who has toured with the band from Norway.I left this show about halfway through to go see Astral Project, my favorite local band, at the jazz tent. With the group today was James Singleton, their bassist who relocated to Los Angeles following Katrina. Having not seen him in previous performances of late, it was a treat to see him with the band. The rain came down hard during their performance. I got to speak with a professional photographer I believe either before or after the show. She said her name was Ellis, possibly Gloria Ellis, who was shooting with Canon film cameras, which is rather unique among the pros I see wandering at Jazz Fest. I’ve seen her pop up several times over the past few years. Frankly, she always looks a tired carrying all that gear around, but I was impressed with how pleasant she was. We spoke for a few minutes about our camera before she had to leave for anther stage.I broke out my umbrella to walk to the blues tent as I had no desire to see Billy Joel in the rain. The closing act in the blues tent was the Ponderosa Stomp Revue, which a fellow patron recommended to me. With the rain as bad as it was, the tent was very popular and extremely crowded. I stood at the barricade to the far left of the stage. I never got near the middle to shoot any good pictures. I eventually grey tired of the warmth of the close quarters so I retreated to the WWOZ hospitality tent and got a bit wet along the way, in spite of my umbrella. I sat down to relax for a while and shot some pictures of the wet passerby’s. I talked to Dad who had to pick up Andrew but had trouble due to street flooding. He was willing to pick me up but it could take a while.Eventually they started to seal up the tent and I left to go to the lagniappe stage in the grandstands. Paul Sanchez and the Rolling Road Show played for a little while with one microphone but eventually had to stop early because the stage was flooded and the rain was still pouring. That didn’t stop a good number of people from enjoying themselves though, dancing in the rain. Eventually they started to shutter the grandstands for the night. I was sitting when a police officer informed me they were closing and politely asked me to make my way to the exit.I left the fair grounds and headed to Liuzza’s to continue to wait for Dad. I got a drink and the barbeque shrimp po-boy. It was a bit of a stretch to call it a sandwich but I’ve had worse. I was there for a good while before Dad arrived. When he did we rode out to Lakeview to get Andrew. On the way home we picked up Popeye’s for dinner although getting home was an ordeal with the street flooding as had to take a few detours around west bank streets.

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39th Annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

I had the day off of work today to attend the first day of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Dad dropped me off near the fairgrounds on his way to the office this morning. I arrived there at about 10 so I had time to kill before getting in line. I bought some lemonade and shot a few pictures by Liuzza’s. Speaking of which, I should mention the camera gear I had with me this weekend. I rented the EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS lens for the first weekend. A few weeks ago I bought a Lowepro Toploader 70 AW case, which really only accommodates just the zoom lens. I did manage to stuff the kit lens in one of the pockets for wide shots though. I don’t really care for the case but it’s all I have until another case I ordered arrives.My first stop after getting though the gate today was Economy Hall. June Gardner & The Fellas was the opening act. I can’t remember why I highlighted them on my schedule. It may have been because I remembered seeing him last year. They put on a good show of reasonably traditional jazz music. I left there early to catch a few minutes of Jonno Frishberg & Bayou Deville, who I saw at the French Quarter festival and enjoyed.After leaving the clubhouse I went to pick out something for lunch. I got a Cajun duck po-boy and some crawfish bread. I was quite dismayed when I went to get a drink. Pepsi is the drink sponsor of Jazz Fest this year and there is no Coke to be found at the fairgrounds. Frankly, I can’t think of any other singular action that could fuck up Jazz Fest more than trading Pepsi for Coke. Anyway, the po-boy was good but kind of messy to eat so I couldn’t really recommend it.I took my lunch to congo square where Otra played 12:45. I saw them at the French Quarter Festival a couple weeks ago. Today they had their regular piano player with them and they put on a great show as always. I did leave the set early to go to the gospel tent. On the way here this morning Dad suggested I go see Rosalie “Lady Tambourine” Washington. I had never heard of this lady although thinking back I’ve probably seen her before. Her impromptu appearances with other bands are somewhat infamous in New Orleans. She was backed by a gospel choir. The performance started without her and when she came on I immediately understood what Dad mean when referring to her show-stealing. It was really something to see, a very enjoyable performance.After Lady Tambourine I walked to the Jazz Tent to get a spot for Leah Chase, a local jazz voacalist. I saw her at Jazz Fest last year where she put on a great show. She’s also an interesting photographic subject. She out on a great show this year too and I stayed for the duration.When she was finished I walked to Economy Hall to see Kustbandet of Sweden. When I can I try to see international acts at the Fest. They were pretty decent but I didn’t stay terribly long because I wanted to catch Ellis Marsalis, who was playing at the same time back at the jazz tent.Later in the afternoon after Ellis I eventually met up with Patrick and his friend Jenna after wandering around the Acura stage for a bit. Sheryl Crow was playing, the last act of the evening there. After a few minutes of conversation and Patrick getting a good look at my camera, we walked over to congo square where some of Jenna’s friends were. We hung around there until the last act of the day finished at 7. We parted ways after we walked out the gate at the end of the evening. I walked to the cab stand at a nearby playground where it looked like some 500 people were waiting for a cab. I walked to another cab stand near Mystery Street where there was a much shorter line. It took be just under 20 minutes to get a cab. I got in a cab by myself unlike how most people were doing it. I don’t think the cabbie was thrilled about going all the way to the west bank.Later that evening I went through all my pictures and got the best ones online. This year I’ve resolved to get my pictures sorted the evening after the event rather than waiting months to get around to it. This is also helped by the fact that I’m shooting RAW this year so necessity and an increased deliberate nature to my picture taking will the number of shots per day.

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30 Minute Discussion

I didn’t go to work on time this morning to be home for a FedEx shipment today. It showed up at about two and I got a cab to the office for three. I was there until five when Dad took me to campus.There wasn’t an actual class for small group communications. Myself and a couple other students showed up to do our final projects, a 30 minute discussion. I was having trouble getting a group together and some other students were having the same problem so we met tonight knock out a few discussions. Laurie went first this evening. Her topic was saving for retirement. I went second with my discussion on improving spending habits and Steve went last with his talk on student loan payments. I haven’t listened to the recording yet but I think my discussion went smoothly. One day this week I’ll have to write a short paper discussing how the talk went.After we finished at about 7:40, I walked over to Dixon Hall where Tulane’s concert band was playing. The performance started at 7:30 so I was late. They sounded pretty decent. They finished at about 8:15 at which time there was an intermission. The second half of the concert featured a performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 by the Tulane Orchestra featuring Piano soloist Mayuri Kurihara. There was another short intermission after that, long enough for the piano to be rolled out and a choir to walk in. I’m not sure exactly what was played next but it sounded good.After the concert I wasn’t quite ready to go home so I went to the Rat for a little while to get something to eat and continued work on my history paper, which I nearly finished. I called a cab around ten although it didn’t show up for almost a half hour. I had a pleasant conversation with the driver, a fellow Limbaugh listener. I had not previously had the occasion to invoke Operation: Chaos in conversation.

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…not much happening, update to come… maybe

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Second Last Dance

I worked on getting stuff ready to mail out at work this afternoon. In small group communications class this afternoon, we discussed the final project. I brought up my trouble getting a group together. My call for volunteers to meet at a restaurant for my project turned into six or seven students with the same problem. Ms. Ebel eventually decided to turn next week’s class into an opportunity for us folks to record our final discussions.I left class a bit early to go to Freeman Auditorium to see Harry Benson speak at an event, part of Canon’s Explorer’s of Light program. Mr. Benson is a photojournalist who’s been in the business for quite a long time, having photographed every president since Eisenhower. He ran a slide show of his work over the decades. I confess I was not really familiar with his work, although having not read Life magazine I am at a disadvantage. After his hour-long presentation, he took questions from the audience for about 45 minutes. I asked him what differentiates a good photographer from a great photographer. His answer: the photographs.I left there at about 8:45 and walked to Reily for ballroom this evening. Tonight was the last session of the semester. Turnout was a little better than last week. The hour was spent reviewing steps from previous weeks, and we didn’t even get as far as last week. It was a lot of fun even though my dancing was pretty lousy. Ellie took pictures through the evening and at the end the group posed for a couple shots. Afterward I got a cab home and I talked to Krystle for a little while before bed.

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The week thus far hasn’t been especially eventful. Monday’s class was exceptionally boring. If I remember right, the workday Tuesday was short. I brought back the Panasonic flip clock to the office after ‘fixing’ the motor with a shot of WD-40. Last night’s pirate societies class featured the first of three pirate trials. The class had good reason to suspect the first group was woefully unprepared but they managed to pull off an entertaining performance. After class I saw the final three innings of the Tulane/Southeastern Louisiana baseball game. Apparently I missed most of the action. Taylor Richard pitched a great game this evening, the first seven innings.I worked from 11 to 3:30 on Wednesday. This afternoon’s weather and climate class covered chapters 12 and 13, covering weather forecasting and air pollution respectively. After class I walked over to the LBC to wait for Dad to pick me up. He was still at of the office, and remained there for another hour before I got a ride.

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French Quarter Festival Finale

I had lofty goals about getting up at a decent hour this morning and get out to the quarter before the first performance of the day started. I woke up at 10 instead. Even so, it didn’t take me too long to get ready and I didn’t have to wait all that long for the cab to arrive. I made it to the Jackson Square at about 11:20, not much later than my plans.There was not a cloud in the sky today but it was cool outside and windy at times. The crowds were even more massive than Saturday. I avoided the riverfront at times because you could barely move.The first act of the day on the Jackson Square stage was local clarinet player Tim Laughlin. I can’t recall the names of the musicians playing with him but they were mostly familiar faces. I was able to get right up front to shoot pictures.The long set was divided by a break. I took the opportunity get something to eat and eventually decided on the “french quarter pasta.” After I finished eating I sort of wandered around for the rest of the afternoon, I didn’t hang around one place for any extended periods. The pictures I shot to day pretty well reflect where I was. I was interested in what was going on at the international stage on Bourbon that featured band outside the United States so I saw the Liberty Hall Stompers and KBR there.I started making my way home at about six as my feet were pretty tired by then. Sunday evening was similar to Saturday in that I spend time watching TV and sorting the day’s pictures.

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There for Otra

I didn’t get out to the quarter as early as I could have liked on Saturday but as there were no acts I was especially interested in until three in the afternoon it was no tragedy. The weather was cool and largely overcast, quite pleasant. Dad dropped me to the Algiers ferry landing at two in the afternoon. After getting off the boat I wandered on the riverfront for a little while and stopped to see one of the bands playing at the time. I made it to the old U.S. mint with time to spare before Otra’s performance at three. They are a local afro-cuban jazz band I have probably spoken highly of before in this log. Noticeably absent from the grout today was their regular piano player and Eric Lucero on trumpet, who may not be with the band anymore, I’m not really sure. In any case, they put on a great show as always and there were plenty of people there to see it.After Otra’s set, I took a walk down Royal Street to see what was going on there before stopping inside the Royal Sonesta Hotel on Bourbon Street to see what was going on there. They have a small stage set up in the “Mystick Bar.” I was interested in seeing “Opera on Tap – Featuring Some of New Orleans Best Young Emerging Singers.” I assume the performance was closely related to the New Orleans Opera Association. The performance featured five or six young opera singers taking turns singing arias and such. While I’m not a fan of this sort of music I do have an appreciation for the skill required to do it right. It was easy to appreciate their talents as it was a very small venue and no amplification equipment was used. I stayed there until their performance ended at six. After that I walked back to the Riverfront, mostly to get something to eat. I got some jambalaya and bread pudding and took a seat near the aquarium as the Soul Rebels Brass Band played. I tried with no particular success to get some pictures of them. There was a big crowd at the stage and I didn’t want any photos bad enough to fight my way in. Shortly after seven I caught a cab home from the Hilton hotel.Later that evening I spent about an hour culling the pictures I took today. I also watched some of the Tulane game which they won tonight. I also finished watching the movie Big.

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25th Anniversary French Quarter Festival

I took the day off of work today to go to the French Quarter Festival. I got downtown at about 11, Dad gave me a ride there on his way to the office. For the three day event, I rented a EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS lens, a beautiful piece of glass. I had no desire to carry multiple lenses and the stages are small enough that you don’t need much reach. The weather was quite nice today in spite of gloomy forecasts. Unfortunately for me, I was expecting clouds and rain all day so I left my hat in the car. It cleared up soon after and I got a lot more sun than I would have liked.The first act I went to see today was the “Connie Jones and The French Quarter Festival Allstars” featuring Pete Fountain. Mr. Fountain isn’t getting any younger but he can still play that clarinet with the best of them. I got close to the stage at the beginning of the act and shot some pictures and then walked around for something to eat. I ended up getting a combo plate from the Muriel’s booth.Following that I made my way over to the old U.S. Mint to see Jonno and Bayou Deville. I was not familiar with this band but Dad spoke highly of them last week so I thought I’d check them out. They play Cajun music and they’re pretty damn good at it. They had a sizable crowd for the performance.After watching that act for about 90 minutes I walked back to Jackson Square for Ellis Marsalis. He performed this afternoon as a quartet, with the same musicians as I’ve seen previously at Snug Harbor. As usual, they put on a great set. It would have been a lot easier to get good pictures had they not put a microphone in front of Ellis’s face right after the show started.I watched some street performers for a little while before walking back to the mint for Vivaz at 5:15. I sat down with some gumbo and a coke before the set started. They were a few minutes late to fix some sound troubles. I saw Vivaz at Jazz Fest last year and was impressed. With Otra mostly AWOL, Vivaz is one of the best latin bands in town.I got a call from Dad shortly before six offering me a ride home. It was a tad early but I didn’t think another hour was worth the hassle of getting a cab so I accepted.This evening I sorted through the pictures I took today. I was quite pleased with my handiwork today. Obviously I have a lot yet to learn but I am getting better. The awesome lens I had to use certainly contributed as well. Later on I watched some of the Tulane Houston game on TV, which they lost 3-4. Battlestar Galactica was also on tonight.

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Rumba Review

I stayed home this afternoon to wait for a FedEx shipment. I wanted to make some progress on a paper for school but I had trouble getting stated and focusing on it. Dad came home and took me to work at about 3:30 this afternoon. He had a couple reports he needed done so I handled that before we left for the day at five.Dad took me to campus for class this evening. There were some makeup discussions in class this evening. Ms. Ebel went one of the groups go long so we could see “the process” run its course. Class was dismissed at 8:10. With time to get something to eat I went to Der Rathskeller for a late dinner.After some chicken tenders and fries, I walked to Reily just before nine this evening. The turnout was a bit smaller than last week. There was no new material tonight, although we did try to cover a lot last week. Even though I had a good deal of trouble with the steps this evening, it was a lot of fun. After the beginner session I walked to Willow and caught a cab home.

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Again, there was no sense of urgency in getting to the office today. Dad and I arrived in Mid City not long before noon. I did a wee bit of dictation and other chores before leaving to catch the shuttle at 3:30. This afternoon’s weather class was a continuation of the Katrina lecture from last week.After class I called Dad who said he’d pick me up after he left work. I waited in the LBC for a while and worked on a paper. Dad didn’t arrive until almost eight so I got a good deal done.Later that evening I finished watching Millions and talked to Krystle for a while before bed.

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Sodomy, The Library and Baseball

I worked at the west bank office from about noon to five this afternoon. The phone list and current patient billing were woefully out of date. I never finished the billing.This evening’s pirate societies class was the last actual lecture, which covered “violence and sex.” The lecture was reasonably short. The guy I’ll be taking orders from on my trial team was not in attendance so I’m no closer to knowing what will be going on with that.After class I went to the library to pick up a couple books, both on my history paper and pirate trial coming up. Following that I walked to Turchin where Tulane was playing Nicholls State this evening. The game started at six. I started listening to the game right after class ended and the score was tied at one. Tulane hit a grand slam while I was at the library and the score was 6-1 by the time I arrived at the stadium sometime before eight. Tulane scored two more runs before the game ended. They could have dome even better, however, as they left a lot of people on the pads this evening. They left the bases loaded three times.Later this evening after I got home I watched Boston Legal and The Daily Show before bed.

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