The Fest. No, not that one. Right, THAT one.

Though I posted pictures of Panorama’s French Quarter Fest performance weekend before last (not to be confused with New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival which started this past Friday) — I didn’t post anything about the Fest in general.

And French Quarter Fest is too good to be passed up.

We missed the first few days because I was in full-day trainings for one of the community-based research projects I’m involved in… which, by the way, is a wonderful reason for missing FQF (they’re aren’t many.)

Jazz Fest is the city’s premiere celebration, drawing tourists and artists and fans from a wide base to hear musicians and music inspired by the sounds of New Orleans.  French Quarter Fest is often dubbed the “old” Jazz Fest in that it involves primarily local artists in a smaller venue spread throughout the city.  Because it’s free, it doesn’t have the exclusivity of Jazz Fest.

We took the Streetcar downtown and walked into the Quarter towards the river.  First we hit on gospel performances, which was fitting since it was Sunday morning.

There is a ton of food and drink.  Which is why it makes perfect sense to see my kids drinking juice and eating goldfish.

Jackson Square had Dixieland… and of course, lots of dancing!  The crime is that I didn’t get either of my kids boogie moves.  Paul and I were busy with our duck po’boy from Jacque-Imos.

No wallflowers in this city.

Between acts and food booths, we strolled through the Quarter and some of our favorite places.

I don’t know this for certain, but I’m guessing that as long as there has been booze in the Quarter, there has been the presence of someone (or someones) who feel themselves to be personal appointees in God’s Condemnation Task Force.  Everyone has a different take on them, whether it be that they are annoying, patronizing, self-grandizing, nice for those that need them, or a nusiance.  Me?  Well, I figure it’s all kinds that make this place special.

This guy is my personal favorite.

His philosophy is that sinners love shiny things.  It keeps us distracted for a few moments while he preaches.

Oooooooooo… preeeeeeeeeeeeetty….

His little army = A LOT of happy meals.

The postcard?  I couldn’t find one.  But I think I can guess the message, because I’ve been through the Quarter enough to hear it.

It goes something like this: God loves you, but if you don’t believe this very specific set of things, he’ll smite your ass in an instant.

But don’t dwell on that.  Remember, we’re happy!

Once enough po’boy was in her belly, Kate passed out.  This let us enjoy the rest of the afternoon with relative ease.  We walked down to The Mint, where the blues tent was set up.  Kate had no idea.

Our friends had their tent RIGHT BESIDE the stage.  The report was that they are still trying to find their voices.  Do you see Paul?  He’s arguing about paying for our sorbet and gelato.  Have you heard of La Divina? It’s wicked amazing, and you don’t have to take my word for it.  Although you’ll think so when you taste it, I have it on good authority that there is no crack cocaine in their from scratch, homemade, totally local ingredient product.

From The Mint, we wandered up Esplanade to Royal.

Just admiring the city is relative quiet.

The battle for art is front and center ’round here.

I love the angels in this iron work.  There is something new and interesting and unique to see with every building… even with ones you’ve seen a hundred times.

These are the sort of porches that make the Quarter architecture famous.  Interesting, too, that they are more Spanish than French in design.  (Or so I understand.)

Kids LOVE the Quarter.  Will kept running ahead to scout out details in the sidewalk and buildings, pointing and talking the whole time.

Here’s a tourist favorite: the cornstalk fence!  Notice the guy checking it out to the left?

He wasn’t a alone.  A whole horse-drawn carriage full of folks were doing the same thing.  From what I remember, the owner of the property built the fence for his Iowa-born and bred wife, so she wouldn’t feel so homesick.

Street performers.  But watch out for the “where’d you get them shoes” guy.

There are living statues all over the Quarter, but none of them can hold a candle to this guy.  That board is balanced on his shoulder, his right hand (not visible) is pulling out plyers from his back pocket, and his foot is completely bent so that he is on his flexed toe on his right side.  Will could not stop asking questions about this guy and actually speculated that he wasn’t even real.

The kid had a point… real is relative in New Orleans.