Jazz Fest fans ‘fest’ from home

Virtual Jazz Fest

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - It won't feel the same this weekend without one of New Orleans' biggest events. This year, instead of flocking to the Fairgrounds for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, many residents are creating their own fest at home.

"Happy Jazz Fest!" MJ Sauer shouted from her front lawn.

The Bayou St. John resident greeted passers-by the way she would any other year, despite the fact, there is no fest.

“Just like nothing’s different, just trying to keep it real,” Sauer said

MJ and Jeremy Sauer are dedicated Jazz Festers. The die-hard couple literally recreated their usual spread, complete with a tarp and a flag.

“It’s been interesting. Seeing people react to us doing this is an amazing thing to see,” Jeremy said. “People appreciate that we’re trying to do life is normal.”

The Sauers say WWOZ’s Fest in place line-up helps, but some things cannot be duplicated.

"The energy of having everybody walk by, of people showing up the parking, walking to the fast, walking home from the fast. We're going to miss that. Like, it gives me the chills as I speak about it," explained MJ.

The Sauers and others say they’re disappointed but accept the situation.

"Part of staying at home is festing at home. It gives us something to do to, to stay home and remember that we're doing that so we can all be together next year," said life-long Jazz Fest fan Rebekah Bradshaw.

The Bayou St. John local calls Jazz Fest "a way of life."

"Some people are Disney people. We are jazz fest people. That's our thing," Bradshaw said.

It's why she is going all out to give her family an authentic stay-at-home fest experience.

"I got up and I made some rose mint tea. I tried to, anyway. And I've been researching recipes. And we've been ordering from different vendors to provide some food. They are still selling some food even though the fest is closed. And we've been listening to WWOZ nonstop, and wearing all the stuff," explained Bradshaw with a laugh. "If you close your eyes, it's almost like you're there."

Though residents miss the music and camaraderie, they say they’re content riding out this fest at home.

“I’d rather be alive and wait until next year, and have everybody else make it through this,” MJ said.

FOX 8 reached out to the Joy Theater and the Saenger Theater to see how the shutdown would affect their shows. Though we did not hear back, FOX 8 found their March and April events were either postponed or canceled.

The Saenger has a concert scheduled for May 30.

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