Six students closed out their spring semester in style when they traveled to Louisiana to attend the New Orleans Jazz Festival with music professor Dr. Michael Dilthey of the Fine and Performing Arts Department.
“This trip was one of the absolute greatest experiences of my life,” said Taylor Doyle ’18. Although she knew she would have a good time, “I never expected to leave this trip with six new best friends, a new favorite city, hundreds of pictures, and endless memories.”
They took in a wide range of musical performances, including those by Maroon 5 with Adam Levine, the Kumbuka African Dance and Drum Collective, jazz percussionist Stanton Moore, the New Breed Brass Band, Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band.
“We ate ice cream, got sunburned, and overall had an awesome time,” said student intern Casey Nicoll ’17, who was integral to the planning and execution of the experience. She helped Dilthey to select everything from the flight to the hotel, the restaurants, and extra activities such as bowling to live jazz music one evening at the “Rock ‘n’ Bowl.”
“I had never been to a place like it,” Nicoll said. “We walked in, and could bowl, eat dinner, and listen to music all at the same time. We all had so much fun and grew closer together as a little Jazz Fest family. We laughed and joked until we had tears coming from our eyes, and I couldn’t have asked for a better day.”
A trip on the Steamboat Natchez provided an opportunity to learn some New Orleans history as they cruised along the Mississippi River. “Afterwards, we decided to take a trolley ride on the Green Line down St. Charles Avenue where we got to see the Garden District and different houses along the way,” Nicholl recalled.
“It was a really cool experience to get to see a different part of New Orleans and to experience the city. I enjoyed looking at the different architecture, the colors, and the Mardi Gras beads hanging from street lights and trees. It was really nice to have an educational, but relaxing day out of the sun,” Nicholl added.
“Jazz Fest was truly incredible,” said Rachel Valliere ’17. “Words cannot describe how much I really want to go back! I got to listen to so many different types of jazz, and was able to spend time with my friends, and just have a good time.
“I tried foods I never thought I would try before, like fried alligator,” she added.
In addition to alligator, the group enjoyed fresh crab, traditional African cuisine, and of course some standard New Orleans fare such as beignets and crawfish soup.
“When I first started helping to plan this trip to the New Orleans Jazz Festival in the beginning of January, I figured it would be a fun thing to do at the end of the semester,” Nicholl said. “Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that it would be this rewarding. … I’ll never forget the trips to Bourbon Street, the music, and the fun.”
Their trip to the New Orleans Jazz Festival was made possible by a generous gift from the Alice Shaver Foundation.
“I am grateful to the Foundation for their generosity to make this high-impact occurrence possible and for providing a memorable journey to the students, as they graduate and go out into the world,” Dilthey said. “A trip like this will stay in our hearts and memories for years to come.”