Dear NOLA Schools :: An Excused Absence Letter For JazzFest

Dear New Orleans Area Schools,

While us parents truly appreciate the education that you provide our children, there are some things in life that they can only learn from experience. JazzFest is one of these life lessons that we feel is important for our kids to not only experience, but embrace. See, while many people only see it as a festival, I am here to explain why it is truly a day of education and should be considered an excused absence!

Please find my very valid reasoning below.

Math – JazzFest is all about Math! For example: “If I buy one Chantilly Lace Snowball for $15 and I have $22 left, do I have enough to buy some Crawfish Monica?” Or, “If Marcia Ball plays at 12:40, do we have time to get to the Shell Stage for Amanda Shaw at 1:30?” Hopefully we will not have a repeat of last year, which was “How much does it cost to get this misplaced boot off my tire?” Either way, our day will be filled with equations.

Art – Do not fret, our day will be filled with artistic experiences! We plan to go to the Congo Square and the Louisiana Marketplace to look at all of their work. We will most likely buy a JazzFest Poster since we do each year that we go as a family for a souvenir. We will also likely buy yarn headbands from local vendors, take pictures by all of the painted signs, and will end up with way more hand made trinkets that we intended to.

Social Studies (please also see Cultural Studies) – We will be doing extensive map reading and navigating while we are at JazzFest. They will also learn about the art of parking and locating their car in crowded areas. The elusive act of clean port-o-potty finding will also be discussed in great length!

Music – Our children will have a full day of musical immersion! We plan to walk around JazzFest and attend multiple stages. There will be a variety of different artists and styles, introducing them to new sounds that they may not have heard before. From jazz to rock to country to gospel – our kids will hear it all on their day out. They will also learn concert etiquette and the importance of respecting the other people around them waiting to enjoy the show.

Computer Science – The children have heard me extensively complain about how their tickets are not sold online which I believe is an important lesson in e-commerce. They have also learned all about portable chargers and why we need them at all times! We will definitely be discussing phone service and Wi-Fi signals as we are likely to not get any at times.

Religion –  We plan to cover Religion on our day away by going to the Gospel Tent. There we will take in their beautiful singing and hear multiple choirs, gospels, and ministries! They will get to see all different religions and how they express themselves differently.

English – This will be covered thoroughly through the art of music. The kids will be loudly singing the lyrics of their favorite artists that they have grown to know and love! We will be reading maps, booth signs, and menus all day long strengthening their abilities.

Science – We will cover science on our day out by discussing things like “how our skin reacts to the sun and the importance of sunblock.” We will also go over proper hydration for the human body, what is a realistic caloric intake for one 9 hour span, and how ice cream will melt if it’s not eaten fast enough!

Physical Education – We will likely walk an average of 10,000+ steps getting our daily activity in. The kids will absolutely be required to carry their own chairs so that we make sure they are hitting their physical fitness goals! They plan to also be running, doing cartwheels in the grass, and dancing with the new friends that they are sure to make that day.

Cultural Studies – We will cover this area by making sure that we hit all areas of the fest! We will visit Louisiana Folklore Village, Native American Village, and the Cultural Exchange Pavilion. They will be immersed in not only our New Orleans Culture but many others which we think is very important.

As you can see, our family field trip to JazzFest during school hours is not only educational, but is an amazing opportunity to spend some family time together during one of the best times of the year in New Orleans! We hope that you find the same value in this experience that we do and will accept this as our formal notice to be absent this week.


A New Orleans Mom

Dana Wattigney
Moving from Nebraska in middle school, Dana considers herself a New Orleanian 25 years later. She now lives in Belle Chasse with her husband Ryan, 12-year-old Mila, and 8-year-old Rex. As the Executive Director of the YMCA in her community, she is very involved in all aspects of family life. You can find her on the weekend doing DIY projects, cheering on LSU or the Saints, and spending time with her family. A lover of all revelry, there is no festival, concert, or event that she won't go to! Catch her with the Krewe of Cleopatra each Mardi Gras. She gets out of town with her kids as much as possible, they enjoy the outdoors, especially the mountains & the beach. Affectionately known as "Dana Dolittle" to her friends, you can expect her to have a random animal she is trying to help at any given time. Dana loves to write & says there are no topics off limits.


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