POSTED Mon. May 20, 2013
Pleasant is Bayou St John
Adam Karlin
Written by ADAM KARLIN

Of all the ‘low-key’ festivals of festival season, I think I love Bayou Boogaloo best. It doesn’t necessarily have the best musical lineup, and the list of exhibiting artists seems small compared to, say, Jazz Fest (that said, there was plenty of great art present). There was a good range of food vendors considering the size of the Boogaloo, and let me say, now and officially: I have an addiction issue with the patties served at Boswell’s Jamaican Restaurant in Mid-City, and may need an intervention.

In all seriousness: I think I love the Boogaloo because, unlike Jazz Fest and French Quarter Fest (and I love both of those events, especially FQF), the Boogaloo feels like such a sunny day out for all of New Orleans. It’s fun for families, but it’s not stodgy. It’s full of our beloved freaks, but it’s not so aggressively weird you wouldn’t want to take your kids. There’s snowballs, and there’s beer and daiquiris. Folks kayak with their kids, and with dogs done up in crazy costumes.

At the end of the day, maybe I love the Boogaloo so much because it is the party for what is pretty much my favorite neighborhood in the city: Faubourg St John. I daydream about owning a house out here. There’s such a fantastic architectural mix, ranging from simple-but-elegant shotguns to grand-columned mansions to Franco-Caribbean villas to a few little cottages that consistently melt my heart. Plus: I need to live by water, and the calm course of Bayou St John instills a deep sense of Nola Zen in my soul. When the sun blazes the trees in the early evening and the breeze picks up over the water and folks sit on their stoops and the air just feels right…that is when I am deeply, deeply in love with New Orleans.

The Boogaloo distills all of the above, and the residents that inhabit it – a mix of artists, entrepreneurs, cooks, musicians and neighbors (in short, New Orleanians) – and churns out a festival that is just…pleasant. And in this city of high passion and strong emotions, pleasant is a nice space to inhabit.

Pleasant is Bayou St John.

PS: Want to keep Bayou St John pleasant? Then contribute to this wonderful project, aimed at restoring the area’s original wetlands, which will aid local biodiversity and flood protection. For more information on managing the Bayou, an irreplaceable New Orleans natural resource, check out this report (slightly dated, but still very much worth a read).


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    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.


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    The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

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