The Third Cajun Zydeco Festival is now history.  Held in the French Quarter of New Orleans, this is an offshoot of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.  Basically, the Fest makes big bucks, which is spends on educational programs and small-scale festivals in New Orleans.  (So keep coming, everyone!)  There were two stages, and I hung out at one, hearing Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, Lil’ Nathan and the Zydeco Big Timers (or MySpace), and Zachary Richard down by the river, in Woldenberg Park.  Lil’ Nathan is the son of Nathan Williams, of Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas.   The crowd loved them, and there was dancing, even though the stage was in an L-shaped intersection of two pedestrian walkways in the French Market.  Tourists danced at the front, regulars to the side.  Besides Lil’ Nathan on accordions (diatonic, triple-row and piano-key), he also played electric keyboards; there were a rubboard player, five-string bass player, electric guitarist, and drummer.  They played many covers and original songs, mixing old and new effectively.   The stage faced the afternoon sun, making it difficult for the musicians and photography less effective.  “Zydeco boogalo0” is one of my favorite songs, but their version was danceable but somewhat tepid.  Clifton Chenier’s “Everybody calls me crazy” on the piano-key accordion was a big hit, as was Beau Jocque’s “Cornbread.”  I enjoyed their version of Van Morrison’s “Crazy love,” but I’m a sucker for Van Morrison songs, no matter who plays them.  River breezes helped keep the 90 degree heat and high humidity in check.  June’s a risky month for a festival in New Orleans, but this one, which also celebrates the Creole tomato and Louisiana seafood, seems destined to continue.

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