Last weekend was the second week of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, or as we call it-- Jazzfest. Yes, I'm deaf and blind, and yes, I look forward to this festival every year. You can read about some of reasons Many PWD enjoy attending the fest, and you might see a familiar face in the article
People always ask me, why a person who is both deaf and blind wants to go to a music festival? And it's really hard to explain.
First of all, I do get tactual ASL interpreters for the performances I attend. And even if I didn't, I'd probably still go. I love walking around the race track with my friends, scoping out all of the food options, visiting with other friends in the access tent and just taking it all in. Oh and watching my dog work it all! I mean, literally thousands of people-- traveling the pathways, standing in groups talking, standing in lines, or just dancing. She guides me around them all, and then takes a nap during the concerts or when I stop to eat. I am amazed by her flawless work at this festival every year.
This year was no exception. I started picking the acts I wanted to see in January and only came to a decision in early April. In the morning, I saw Big Sam's funky nation. It was a great deal of fun. They are a local band, but I try to see one local group every year since I never usually get to see them with an interpreter.
The second group I saw was the Eagles. Yes, those Eagles, and yes, they are old but still rocking their guitars, even Joe Walsh, who has no teeth, by now. When they came on stage, my interpreter told me how old they looked, but that they were sounding great. You can go to Youtube and see some of the songs they did, such as
<"Life In The Fast Lane">
<"Peaceful Easy Feeling">
I sat right next to the stage, and Laveau *slept* or at least laid down and chilled in the wooden box which is set up for the platform interpreters who sign for the sighted deaf during the performance. One of the sides of this box is open and Laveau spent this performance-- as she has the past four years of performances-- chillin in the box. As one Jazz Fest worker put it: "Oh, there's the dog who sleeps through rock concerts!"
This was an amazing show, brought to life for me through the combined talents of the band and of my interpreters! The weather was beautiful, with enough sun to keep it from raining, enough wind to keep the air moving, and enough clouds, to keep from baking.
Now I have to wait a whole year until my next Jazzfest! I think my arms will be rested by then!