The New Orleans Times-Picayune conducted a length interview with Buffett about his performance at Jazzfest. Below are some excerpts:
“The first time I talked about it with (Jazzfest producer) Quint Davis was at the “From the Big Apple to the Big Easy” benefit in New York in September. It came out of the emotions stirred up by that concert. Little things like going to rehearse with Allen Toussaint’s band and the guitar player didn’t have a guitar, because it got washed away.
That first scratched the surface of how deep this thing really was. I’d seen the pictures on TV, but that brought it home. Out of that came discussions, probably fueled by a couple of cocktails, about, “Yeah, we’re going to do Jazzfest this year!”
I think Dave Matthews and I were the first ones that committed, which gave them a basis to say we’ve got a real festival this year. After now having pulled it off, I think it’s wonderful that we all made those decisions.
During Jazzfest, I gave a writer from the Miami Herald the “disaster tour” and she was shocked. People don’t realize the extent of the devastation.
(Coming to Jazzfest) I flew into the Lakefront Airport in my little plane. I told the people with me, “What you’ve got to understand is that, leaving Lakefront Airport until we get to Canal Street, this was underwater.” Going through Gentilly and St. Bernard Parish . . . all my New Orleans family lived in that area. The normal drive to the expressway to get into town . . . people in my band were stunned. Nobody really understands it until they see it.
I got very emotional just starting the song (City of New Orleans). As a performer, if you’re worth your salt, that’s your job to somehow get through that stuff, and the emotional stuff comes later. But I got very choked up in that first verse, looking at that crowd.
There’s much more, read it all here