It’s floodin’ down in Nola, all the telephone lines are down… Jazz Fest 2016 was a wet one. We didn’t hear a lot of music, but at least we got to eat. We set out on Saturday for the fest, prepared for rain but not ready for a flood. However, thirty minutes in, raindrops started falling. Umbrellas up, ponchos on, pants tucked in, the adventure began. Our first stop was the Cracklin’s booth, or Chicharrones (cracklin’s) as we say in California. These are by far the best we’ve tasted—big chunks of deep fried pork skin served hot in a brown paper bag. These are the one of the things we came for. My cousin, Lisa, smuggled in flour tortillas to make a chicharron soft taco. Standing to the side, and with a few onlookers, she spread the chicharrones on the tortilla, hit it with some hot sauce, and was a happy girl, and who cares about the damn rain now.
Next stop, fried green tomatoes with remoulade. Huddling under umbrellas, we set the crispy, breaded tomatoes and tangy sauce down on a wet table and ate them with our fingers.
We went to the Gospel tent to hear some music and escape the rain for a bit, but before long, decided to venture out for more. The Crawfish Monica was delicious as always, a pasta dish with creamy, rich sauce, speckled with spicy crawfish. For dessert, white chocolate bread pudding that made eyes roll back in our heads. But at that point, the rain was no longer just coming down, it was pouring. And flooding. We stood under a tent with hundreds of our fest-friends, and watched as the water rose, over our shoes and then up to our ankles.
Of course, like anyone else from New Orleans, that didn’t stop us from eating the food we had with us, but it did slow us down from getting more for a while. When the rain slowed down and we finally came out like a bunch of wet rats, we moved to the stage where Stevie Wonder was set to play, only to learn that the Jazz Fest was cancelled. No music for us. We waded through knee deep water to leave, feet sore and waterlogged, but not as upset as most because it was a blast and we never laughed so hard. We ended up at a local dive, Twelve Mile Limit, and with a table filled with beer and more food (the pork sliders are to die for), we had us a good old time, Jazz Fest or not.