Blogging Jazzfest, New Orleans, The Festival Post Katrina

I'm Walkin' Down that Long, Lonesome Road, Babe
Bob Dylan at Jazzfest 2006

I’m fortunate enough to be down at Jazzfest this weekend in New Orleans. In part I wanted to come to support the City of New Orleans, in part I wanted to come because I’ve never been to Jazzfest and some really great acts are down here, and in part I’ve been needing to get out of San Francisco for a while and find a new place to shoot photos. I’ve slowly started uploading some of the photos to Flickr while I’m here, but my goal is to do less work on uploading the photos and more work on taking the photos to process and upload later.

A few things about New Orleans. They love their music. They love their food. But life is hard down here. The City is still a wreck. The sentiment of the tshirts seems to be one of bitterness. Especially bitterness at FEMA. Life has hit many hardest of all. There seems to be a whole class of people wandering around the streets at all hours who show the wear and tear of tough lives. But there is a lot of joy too, even in the pain of it all.

I’m trying to take 1,000 shots a day while I’m here that I can then cull through later, but I’ve started a set of the collection entitled “The City That Care Forgot,” a nickname for New Orleans. I’ll add a few each day but will have a more comprehensive collection after I return home. Here’s the start if you want to see some of the shots early.

With regards to Dylan, it’s great to see the heavyweights come down to New Orleans to help support the City after the hurricane at Jazzfest. Both Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen are playing this year. Dylan gave a great performance earlier this afternoon. I especially enjoyed his sort of stripped down version of “Don’t Think Twice.”

Dylan doesn’t move much on stage. The entire show he sat behind this keyboard. There seemed very little connection with the audience while he played. With sunglasses on he glanced over at the crowd but a few times during the entire performance.

The band playing with him was strong as well, but I suppose they’d have to be to play with Bob. The guy behind Bob (I’m not sure of his name) is pretty talented. He played pedal steel most of the show but also broke out a banjo and a fiddle for a couple of the numbers.

Although camera are allowed inside Jazzfest, during Dylan’s show security kept pointing at people with SLRs and telling them to put them down, saying no photos. I still got a lot. It was pretty much impossible for them to control the photos from the crowd whenever security turned their back.

So Happy Just to See You Smile

“Take our picture, take our picture” the girl on the left yelled from the slow moving truck in the French Quarter. As I looked over the girl on the right saw me with the camera and turned away while the girl on the left said “take our picture,” once again, pushing her friend’s face back towards the camera.

Snap.

I make it a point now to always photograph anyone who asks. Just like there are individuals who are very camera shy there are also individuals who are opposite and even outgoing enough to ask for a photo. When you carry your camera with you everywhere you go every day you end up running into these people sometimes. I love them.

I don’t know these girls but I hope that someday they see this photo. They are beautiful.

The girl on the left especially I think embodies the certain kind of joie de vivre that New Orleanians seem to have. Even the ones that are hard hit by life still seem to have this spirt about them. New Orleanians are some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met.

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6 Comments

  1. The Rabkins says:

    Thanks for the photos of NO. Got a couple of NO natives here and we were glad to see the pictures even though we couldn’t make it to Jazz Fest this year. If you get the chance try to hit a restaurant called Jacques Imo, it’s in Uptown. You won’t be disappointed.

  2. Chris Heuer says:

    You have done such a superb job down there while having fun too! We are heading down on Wednesday for our BrainJams Unconference on Thursday – you have done a great job of setting the stage for us. I am really looking forward to seeing the rest of the photos and perhaps contributing at least 1 or 2 good shots to the effort while there next weekend.

  3. Dan L. says:

    That multi-instrumentalist behind Bob Dylan is Donnie Herron and he is really an excellent musician. A wonderful photo, too.

  4. Phil says:

    Don’t suppose you got any shots of The Edge of U2 on stage?
    He was out there promoting his cause, Music Rising.

  5. Thomas Hawk says:

    Sorry Phil, unfortunately I did not. Thanks for the update on Donnie Herron Dan!

  6. NOLAtunes says:

    great work! I’m a native and it really captures NOLA spirit.
    New Orleans Music Store