Oh my stars and garters, Jazz Fest is upon us. I have not looked at the numbers yet, but the first real Jazz Fest post-COVID is a big thing regardless of whether we break attendance records.

We are a town that relies on the hospitality industry, and when we go for month after month with restrictions on travel and when our doctors tell us we shouldn’t congregate in groups over 10, we can’t be all that hospitable.  

The foundation behind the fest, of course, does some good work state-wide, particularly the teaching programs. It’s also a showcase for local musicians and for local cooks. I will admit that there have been years I’ve attended the festival when I didn’t care who was playing. I went for the food.

Some of the folks who man those booths at Jazz Fest rely on the income from the two weekends for the whole year. I know restaurateurs in town who judge their year by how they do over Carnival and over Jazz Fest. I sure hope it’s a good fest this year.

On a very different note, if you live in New Orleans, you’ve probably heard the story about the three kids who drowned in the Mississippi river over a week ago. Two sisters died; the younger girl went into the river after her 14 year old sister fell in, and neither of them have been found. The young man who also died trying to save them has been found.

I mention this because the girls’ father, Allen Berry, works at Frankie & Johnny’s and my friend David McCelvey reached out to me to let me know there’s a GoFundMe page to help the remaining members of Allen’s family. It’s here.

I have kids and I love them but sometimes it’s terrifying. I don’t know how you make sense of losing two daughters in that way but I hope that Allen and his family can find peace.