I just got back from a super-fun weekend in New Orleans for Jazz Fest! The festival was a blast...picture Summerfest^2 centered around jazz. We saw a bunch of local new orleans bands and ended the day with Jimmy Buffett!! My first Buffett concert! The crowd was gigantic and there was hardly even a place to stand. But we found a place, like 5 people over from an MIT alum too...I love the small world of MIT :)
So the festival was sponsored by Shell, and there were tons of small protests going on. And an airplane that kept flying over with different anti-shell messages - "Thanks for the music! But keep our water clean!" "Clean up your act!" etc. Entertainment while waiting for concerts to start.
I was really amazed by the amount of damage that's everywhere down there. I mean you see it on the news and they tell you about all the places that were flooded, but to see it with your own eyes...block after block of abandoned houses, entire neighborhoods with no lights on. And you almost can't believe you're in America. There's this huge hatred of all things government going on down there right now. My favorite t-shirt was "make levees, not war" which really is amazing when you think about it. We're paying so much money to rebuild Iraq and many many thousands of New Orleans residents are out on the street with no place to live, no street lights, no electricity, and toxic waste all over everything that they own. All while Bush and cronies keep pouring billions into Iraq. At least Jazz Fest was helping the relief effort with its profits this year!
Other favorite shirts were "FEMA - Fix Everything My Ass" "FEMA's evacuation plan: Run motherfucker run" and "FEMA: the new four letter f word" It's just incredible to see how much was messed up with the evacuation and the relief and how much is still not up and working. When we were taking the shuttle to the hotel, the first things we were told as we pulled away from th terminal was that there were a few hospitals up and running, they only have 1/3 of the cab drivers that they used to, and that there are huge crime problems. Welcome to New Orleans... :)
But yes, back to more fun things...overall, a very fun weekend filled with good times with old friends! This whole jazz fest thing may just have to be repeated in the future...