Ease into the 2019 Jazz Fest with the new, first-weekend "Locals Thursday."

Topping the Acura Stage bill on this bonus Thursday is Earth, Wind & Fire, the band that turned contemporary R&B music on its head with "Shooting Star," "Do You Remember" and other hits. In 2017, EW&F headlined Jazz Fest's Congo Square Stage; this year, the band shifts to the main Acura Stage.

Thursday's Gentilly Stage closer, Alanis Morissette, she of the scalding 1995 kiss-off "You Oughtta Know," will make her Jazz Fest debut in an altered state: she announced this spring that she is pregnant. Morissette tops a bill of all female-fronted bands at Gentilly, including Americana singer-songwriter Amy Helm (daughter of the Band's Levon Helm) and locals Mia Borders, Gal Holiday & the Honky Tonk Revue, Darcy Malone & the Tangle and "rap-cabaret" entertainer Boyfriend.

Other notable acts today: contemporary R&B singer Ciara, veteran '70s rock band the Doobie Brothers, guitarist Taj Mahal & the Phantom Blues Band and Cajun music stalwarts BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet.

— Keith Spera

Food @ Jazz Fest

crawfish bisque.jpg

The crawfish bisque from the Baquet family's Li'l Dizzy's Cafe delivers deep Creole flavor at Jazz Fest.

Crawfish bisque, Heritage Square

Let's start this "Locals Thursday" with a dish that's as local as it gets. Making crawfish bisque is a labor of love you don't find too often outside the home. The payoff is deep flavor, right down to crawfish heads individually hand-stuffed with dressing for a true Louisiana heritage dish.

— Ian McNulty