REPORTAGE: BAYOU BOOGALOO

Our city fathers arranged a nice steamy day so we could get into the New Orleans vibe. I could have told them to save their energy, if they had only asked; the red beans and rice was enough to do it for me. My companions, being from Portsmouth, found the "fried potato chips" more to their liking. Since potato chips are already fried, I have to assume they mean "refried potato chips", and without a doubt they are to potato chips as refried beans are to beans--namely, a soggy approximation of the real thing, infused with highly toxic but otherwise useless calories. Which is just what festival-goers look for in haute cuisine. The music, however, was stellar, and the Big Chief was indefatigable. My friends seemed to be consumed with speculations on what it must smell like inside the Chief's heavy costume at the end of the evening, but like I say, they're from Portsmouth.