New Orleans Jazz Festival
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival began this past Friday and I’m completely jealous of everyone who will be able to attend. The line-up includes the likes of Ludacris, Gillian Welch, and Harry Connick Jr., plus local favorites like Rebirth Brass Band, Galactic, and the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars (regarding the latter, I can say from experience: you’ve got to see it to believe). Also, Joss Stone plays, hosts a private event, and volunteers to build homes for musicians uprooted by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
About a month ago, I was in New Orleans and saw a show at Preservation Hall, which brought back many fond Jazz Fest memories. At past festivals, I remember poking my head into the gospel tent and coming out much later wanting to join a choir. I remember watching Ani DiFranco cringe when Lyle Lovett began his set with a mocking “Stand by Your Man.” I remember feasting on fried green tomatoes. And I remember dancing for hours at a Karl Denson show and stepping outside for some fresh air only to be shocked that it was sunrise (truth be told, I only kind of remember that last one).
For anyone who hasn’t been, I can’t recommend it enough. At Jazz Fest, you’ll find every type of music imaginable, from country to Zydeco, played by musicians young and old, by living legends and stars-in-the-making, and all fueled by gusto and gumbo. If my visit last month is any indication, the soul of the city is alive, kicking, and ready to burst into song.
My name: Rachel Berg.
Favorite way to get around: By Venetian gondola during starlit high tide, gliding past decaying and slightly spooky palaces, with perhaps a bottle of prosecco placed between the gondola seat cushions.
View that took my breath away: Unable to sleep in the mystical city of Sfat in Israel, I wandered outdoors predawn and was treated to a purple-on-purple sunrise below the mountaintop that seemed to emerge feet-first through ground-level clouds.
Greatest travel lesson learned: Sunny weather isn't everything. Some of my best travel memories involve go-karting through a deluge turned mud-fest in Mexico, drinking tea in the cold Denali tundra, and watching electric thunderstorms roll through national parks out West.
Most challenging travel moment: Getting leveled by altitude sickness in Cuzco and realizing that my body was forcing me to slow down and rest despite the fact that there was so much to do and see.
Travel ambition: To see the northern lights.