There was no blockbuster Saturday night concert to match last year's reunion of the entire Marsalis clan with guest star Harry Connick Jr. There was a standard-issue New Orleans show by jazz divas Kim Prevost, Leah Chase, Sharon Martin, Stephanie Jordan and Wanda Rouzan.
Highlights on Sunday included singer Germaine Bazzle, the city's reigning jazz queen whose remarkably controlled and flexible voice, buoyant spirit and lithe appearance belie her 70 years, and flamboyant drummer Johnny Vidacovich, who crooned "Ooh It's Fun to Play the Drum" at the outset, then spent an hour demonstrating just what he meant by that.
There was a giant cake to be cut, and "Happy Birthday" to be sung, and the overcast skies on the actual birthday prompted speculation that Louis was up there providing a bit pf a breather in the midst of the hot, humid midsummer. The grand finale brought more than a dozen trumpeters on stage for one final salute to Pops.
Man does not live by music alone, not by a long shot in New Orleans, where the cuisine alone is worth the trip. Many thanks to the chefs at the Court of Two Sisters, where the 56-item jazz brunch is served daily and well worth the two or more hours needed to do that buffet table justice. And to the Rib Room (brunch also); Palm Court (shrimp creole); Praline Connection (jambalaya); Bella Luna (hors d'oeuvres for the festival-opening party) and Port of Call (best burger in town). And to the Hummingbird Bar & Grill, bless you for being open all night.