Day One of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival kicked off with weather so beautiful, it was almost sarcastic. Between the mango freeze ice cream headaches and cochon de lait po-boys, there was wall to wall music. Jeff Beck, Mumford & Sons, the subdudes, Red Stick Ramblers, Germaine Bazzle, Justin Towes Earle, Robert Plant and dozens more rocked their respective stages.
Haiti - New Orleans ties are being highlighted at the festival this year, with everyone from Wyclef Jean to my new favorite band Ti-Cocoa and Wanda Neges. New Orleans benefits for Haiti have been offering relief since the Haitian earthquake, including photographers donating their work to Images Without Borders gallery shows.
Jazz Fest Contemporary Craft artist Jimmy Descant is also focused on international assistance. His "We N.O." piece for Japan in the shape of Louisiana has already sold, and he's giving away stencils of the piece as well as encouraging donations to Mercy Corps for its humanitarian aid in Japan.
For Saturday, Big Freeda and Sissy Nobby; Irma Thomas; and Bon Jovi sans Ritchie Sambora are in the lineup. It won't be dull.
Photos by Jeff Beninato