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MY First Timer Questions - Big Chief, Restaurants, Club, etc...

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  • MY First Timer Questions - Big Chief, Restaurants, Club, etc...

    First of all, I have been lurking on this board for a bit and have found the info you all are sharing to be extremely helpful (and most interesting!) I really have no idea why it has taken me 60+ years to finally attend my first NO Jazz Fest but now that I am committed, I cannot wait! But I did have a few first timer questions of my own so I am going to throw myself at the mercy of you to see what advice you might have:

    - First of all, we purchased the Big Chief tickets. (Although it seems like the Grand Marshall is the best way to get up close at the big stages, my wife is rehabbing from a broken femur so at least this time, having a place to sit seemed like the prudent thing to do.) Anyway, with multi-stage festivals, we tend to flit about from stage to stage (and particularly here with the culinary stage and all of the crafts and folk life village), how early is it necessary is it to be in the Big Chief grandstands in order to get a decent seat for a BNA? (The ones we are interested in are David Byrne, Aretha and Sting. BUT the acts we are *most* interested in seeing are Jake, Leslie Odom, Jr, Delfeayo Marsalis, and Sonny Landreth. Hoping that none of them will be performing right before a headliner...)

    - What is the Big Chief lounge like?...

    - Looking for some restaurant suggestions. I have been to New Orleans before and have been to places like the Commanders Palace, Dooky Chase and NOLA but this time was looking at Cafe Degas and Lola's (both near the fairgrounds; hopefully will be able to try after the show) but also looking at Upperline, Pelican Club, and maybe Saffron. But open to just about any kind of cuisine. (I have come to the conclusion that it is pretty much impossible to have a bad meal in New Orleans...)

    - Will be staying in the Arts District. Will the Howlin' Wolf have anything special going on during Jazz Fest? (For that matter, is Howlin' Wolf a place worth checking out? Just asking because it looks to be right up the street from our hotel.)

    - Also thinking about checking out the WW2 Museum (since it is also close to our hotel.) It is either this or a NO cooking class...

    I think that's it (for now)! Thank you so much!

    RK

  • #2
    Hey, RK! Glad you came out of lurkdom. I can't answer some of your Big Chief questions because I've never purchased those tickets but someone will come along who can help. But swag has all the answers here: http://jazzfest.swagland.com/vip.html

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    • #3
      The Howlin Wolf is big room with a concrete floor. For some shows, they also have sets in The Den which is the small bar on the side of the Wolf. No seating unless there's a show in the den. There are usually 4 or 5 seats in there. You can see all the shows scheduled for the Wolf and the Republic, which is also close by, on the jazzfest grids: http://www.jazzfestgrids.com/first_weekend/ If you're staying in that are, you're close to Cochon and Cochon Butcher. Maybe close to Emeril's. I ate there a couple years ago and the food was delicious but the service was the best I've ever had. That said, I've had some delicious meals at the Pelican Club and the Upperline. On that note, there are so many food choices at the fairgrounds, you can take in containers or ziplocs and do carryout for dinner! Works esp. well if you're going to a night show.

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      • #4
        Welcome! Someone else will need to answer your Big Chief questions. As FJ said, Howlin Wolf has a concrete floor— I’m in my 30s and the floor exhausts my back and legs. So I’m not a fan of that club. Since you’re staying in that area I really think you should check out the venue at the Ace Hotel. It is called “Three Keys” and their JF lineup doesn’t seem to be out yet. It’s a smaller room with good sound and seats. You can even make a night of it by planning for dinner ahead of time at Seaworthy or Josephine Estelle.

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        • #5
          I'm a WWll buff so I'll endorse the museum. We went thinking we'd spend a morning and left after 8 hours. Also as you mentioned you can't find a bad meal anywhere and this is no normal museum cafeteria experience. When we were there 5-6 years ago it was run by John Besh. Enjoy.

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          • #6
            Lolas is packed every jazzfest and no rez accepted I believe. Degas is solid but not exceptional IMHO. It is extremely convenient if you are staying near the fest, but I'd go elsewhere otherwise. Sonny Landreth useually gets a 2:30 or so slot. could be blues tent though.

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            • #7
              Oh in addition to my earlier comment- I love the WWII museum. Carve out a good chuck of time.

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              • #8
                You are correct, its basically impossible to have a bad meal in NOLA. My 2 favorite places to dine are Peche and Compere Lapin. I always try to go some place new but those 2 places keep drawing me back year after year. I would suggest making a reservation for both

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                • #9
                  The Howlin' Wolf is an okay club. Yes, it has the concrete floors but it has fairly good viewing and sound. Anders Osborne plays there on the 1st Saturday and Sunday nights. On Saturday he's with his own band with the Rebirth Brass Band opening. On Sunday he's a guest of the Foundations of Funk, hosted by George Porter, Jr. and Zigaboo Modeliste of the Meters.

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                  • #10
                    I don't recall seeing the Big Chief bleachers really packed but I wasn't really paying full attention. We always do the Grand Marshall and have been very pleased with that.

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                    • #11
                      The Big Chief seating at Acura is pretty big. How fast it fills up depends on the act, and the weather. In the past, arriving for the act prior seemed good enough. There isn't a big difference is the seating, but different people have their preferences. The seating areas of Gentily and Congo Square are smaller. The last time we were at Jazz Fest we moved from Acura to Gentily to see Elvis Costello. The seating was pretty full when we arrived at Gentilly. Seating in the Jazz and Blues tent fills rapidly as the areas are much smaller.

                      The Big Chief lounge is simple, but nice. Cash Bar, free snacks and water. Bathrooms, TV's showing some stages. We start the day there.

                      How are you planning on getting to the fairgrounds? We have found the VIP shuttle option well worth it. Drops you off and picks you up a the entrance to the Big Chief lounge.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JerryFest View Post
                        I'm a WWll buff so I'll endorse the museum. We went thinking we'd spend a morning and left after 8 hours. Also as you mentioned you can't find a bad meal anywhere and this is no normal museum cafeteria experience. When we were there 5-6 years ago it was run by John Besh. Enjoy.
                        Welcome RKar!

                        I am NOT a WWII buff, and that museum blew me away.

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                        • #13
                          Check out the grids for music options after fest. There are tons of other venues, and some not to far away from your hotel. The options are virtually endless. http://www.jazzfestgrids.com/

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                          • #14
                            Restaurants: GW Fins - great seafood place, go there every time we are in New Orleans in the quarter, get a reservation. Court of Two Sisters - great courtyard setting, good mix of local foods.

                            WWII museum - highly recommend

                            Go to Frenchman Street - several bars with live music, favs are dba and spotted cat
                            Last edited by deacon blues; 03-12-2018, 06:28 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by halley8 View Post
                              You are correct, its basically impossible to have a bad meal in NOLA. My 2 favorite places to dine are Peche and Compere Lapin. I always try to go some place new but those 2 places keep drawing me back year after year. I would suggest making a reservation for both
                              Both fantastic recommendations and close to where the OP is staying.

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