This video from Mardis Gras in early March makes it clear: Enjoying New Orleans and the fine art of jazz both depend on improvisation.
So be advised: The next Mardi Gras is Feb. 25, 2020, with a period of steadily intensifying parties and parades over the preceding weeks.
And if you don’t like the crowds and chaos in the video (which I shot March 3-5), you’ll want to be sure your next New Orleans trip isn’t in late February. And maybe not next month, either.
Those two other events are coming up in the next 30 days:
The French Quarter Festival, a favorite of many locals, is April 11-14 and is expected to include more than 1,700 Louisiana musicians (many specializing and Cajun and Zydeco tunes). They’ll play on several temporary stages within the French Quarter — no admission fee — and will be surrounded by various food stands and other cultural offerings. More than 65 restaurants have signed on.
The 50th New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is April 25-May 5. This event, at the city fairgrounds, brings scores of national and global performers to town. This year’s bill includes Earth, Wind & Fire, Alanis Morissette, the Doobie Brothers, Ciara, Taj Mahal & the Phantom Blues Band, Boyfriend, Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns, Jason Marsalis, the Milk Carton Kids, Beausoleil with Michael Doucet and Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. and the Zydeco Twisters — and that’s just opening day.
Later come the Rolling Stones, more Marsalises, the Indigo Girls, Los Lobos, Gary Clark Jr., Ani DiFranco, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the Subdudes and scores more.
General admission tickets cost $85 per day for adults. (Ticket sales began Jan. 18, and those highly prepared individuals who bought before Feb. 1 got rates discounted to $70.)
Now back for a minute to Mardi Gras which fell on March 5 this year. I was there for it because I was working on a story about the buskers of the French Quarter’s Royal Street. Check this space for that piece on April 7.
Follow Reynolds on Twitter: @MrCSReynolds