When I moved back to New Orléans from Los Angeles, I met a photographer named Syndey Byrd. She was looking for an intern and after meeting over a cup of tea and stories about her world travels, she offered me the position and I accepted. During my time as her intern, we spent an entire weekend hanging out at Satchmo Summerfest.
Satchmo SummerFest (also known as Satchmofest) is an annual music festival held in celebration of the jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong, who was orginially from New Orleans. The fest is held in early August to coincide with Armstrong’s birthday which is August 4. With his inventive, trademark solos and grainy voice, Armstrong was one of the pioneers who transformed and introduced jazz to the world.
Satchmo SummerFest was only supposed to last a single weekend in 2001 to commemorate Armstrong’s 100th birthday and remind people of his major contributions to music culture, but the fest was so successful that the sponsors decided to make it an annual event.
There are outdoor concerts with multiple stages, including stages for traditional and contemporary jazz, big-band jazz, and a children’s stage for local up-and-coming jazz musicians. There are also music history seminars, jazz exhibits, vendors with plenty of New Orleans-style food, and a second-line parade.
On the last morning of the fest, Syndey and I had breakfast in the Treme neighborhood then we walked to St. Agustino church where the second-line parade started. We followed the second line to the grounds of the New Orléans Mint in the French Quarter which is now part of the Louisiana State Museum.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of being in a second-line, you’re missing out! I spent more time joyfully dancing in the streets than I did shooting photos. It was a moment where my appreciation for Nouvelle Orléans grew bigger and brighter.