2 X Rest Days

Monday/Tuesday – 28th and 29th April


Henry Gray & Kenny Neal

‘My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary’ – Martin Luther

My last full week in New Orleans. I was very tired after three days of music and sun and I slept in until Noon. Today will be a day of rest. I headed over to Frenchman for some creole soul-food at the Praline Connection restaurant. William recommended the place as having good food. I ordered the stuffed crab plate $15.95. My waiter said ‘man, I don’t wanna be pushy but I would suggest you go for the Seafood Combination Platter ($17.95) as you only get 2 stuffed crabs with your first choice and you get all of this for only $2 more. Fresh shrimp, oysters, catfish strips, stuffed crab lightly seasoned battered and deep fried, accompanied with French- fries, salad. For your interest I have attached a menu so as you can see first-hand why I may come back a little chubbier! Well that is what I went for. Remember that this is my first meal of the day. As usual with meals in these here parts I could not eat it all. pralineconnectionmenu

I walked back to the apartment. The clouds are racing across the sky and the atmosphere is heavy. Mickey is in his usual spot at the foot of the stairs. He told me that we will have to batten down the hatches as there is a severe thunderstorm alert for around midnight. Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama are getting battered with storms and tornadoes and there has been a lot of destruction and some deaths. I know first- hand that storms down this way are not as we get back home. I lay awake most of the night anticipating the first clap of thunder but we are lucky that the threat of the storm did not eventuate.

Up at 10ish and the tail end of last night’s rain is still with us. Tuesdays’ are washing days for me and I took my dirty cloths down to Suds-Den Duds. With the humidity of ‘awlins you certainly can’t stretch your t-shirts to two days of wear. Brian Wise has been in contact and we are meeting at 2PM for a coffee. His tour group are still out on their Bayou excursion. It got to 12:30 and I realised I had yet to eat any food. I wandered down to the market and then walked further down Decatur until I got the Gumbo Pot. I had a good feed here last year and so went in and sat at the counter. A lot of the eating establishments act both as a bar and restaurant. I order the seafood gumbo.

I still had half an hour to kill before meeting Brian. I called into the Witch’s Kitchen’ which I thought was just another souvenir shop. I was wrong. It does sell cook books but they are mostly second have and go back decades. There is much bric-a-brac and interesting things to look at plus a used L.P. section. The guy running the shop s an older hippie type. I noticed a book I was interested in going back to the mid 80’s. Sort of a cook-book/blues music book. Near this little treasure is a display of old soup cans and packaged food. A couple of empty jars of vegemite adorn the display with a warning sign attached. When I went to pay for the book the guy immediately knew I was Australian and he asked if I bought over some Vegemite with me. ‘Yes, I did but it has been gifted to my friends’. The guy said ‘I love the stuff. I lived in San Fran in the 70’s and went home with an Aussie lady I met in a bar we were both working in. The next morning she made me toast and Vegemite and I have loved it ever since’. I promised to bring him some back next year.

I met Brain for iced-coffee and we had a great chat for an hour or so about all things music.

Dinner that night was Shrimp Etouffee. Message to self, remember to take your Arthrexin to ensure that the nasty gout does not attack me after all the shellfish I have eaten today.

Jazz Fest 45th Annivessary – 3 Days of Music Man! – No Rain

Friday/Saturday/Sunday – April 25th to 27th


Keb’ Mo

‘Ah, music,” he said, wiping his eyes. “A magic beyond all we do here!’ – Prof. Dumbledore

I have decided to put three days of Jazz Fest into one blog. Reason being that after getting back from the festival each night I am too pooped to do anything apart from shower and sleep. The weather for the three days has been hot but thankfully there has been some cloud cover with an occasional breeze. For those that do not have knowledge of the festival it goes like this. Gates open at 10:30 with music starting around 11:15 and running through until 7P.M. The Jazz Fest site is at the New Orleans Fair Grounds which is also the home of the local race track. The site is a 10 minute bus ride from the Quarter at a cost of a dollar and a quarter. My WWOZ Brass Pass allows me to enter through a gate way that moves much quicker that the general admission lines. There are 12 music stages, some large, some small, some outdoors, some in very large tents including stage dedicated to kid’s entertainment. By far the largest stage is the outdoor Acura where the headliners such as Springsteen, Clapton and Santana will perform. I hang out a lot at the Blues Stage which is housed in a very large tent and has the added bonus of seating. Other tents include the Gospel and Jazz tents which are dedicated to those particular genres.

So who did I see and how did I rate them. Where the artists I went to see on your top five lists for the first week. What did I eat? The food at the festival is plentiful and diverse. I have a big surprise as well in store for ya’ll.

Now Mr. Smith will undoubtedly attest to the fact that I am always early to nearly everything I attend. I left the apartment at around 10 each morning and walked to the bus stop at the top of Toulouse St. There are two closer bus stops to me than this particular stop. However as a veteran of 4 Jazz Fests I know that the bus’ can fill up very quickly. The bus arrived at 10:30 and three of us managed to squeeze on. I had a little smirk as we sped past the two closer bus stops I mentioned and I saw the waiting crowds frustratingly wave their annoyance at the driver. Ah local knowledge is a good thing.

Day one at Jazz fest I got to see first up,Tommy Singleton with Ernie Vincent on guitar. The security people in the Blues tent are the same as for the last 3 years and they waved to greet me back. I caught Geno Delafose and his French Rockin’ Boogie at the Fais Do Do Stage. Merci Beaucoup, Geno. Back to the Blues stage for Little Freddie King resplendent in a purple suit, big sunglasses, trademark fedora atop a black bandana… ‘You gotta walk with Freddie’. Watched another bluesman in Chris Thomas King.

Over to the second largest outdoor stage (Samsung Galaxy) for some Honey Island Swamp Band. Back to the Blues tent for the last 4 songs from Lil’ Buck Sinegal. Stayed for the change- over of bands and managed to get a front set for a favourite of mine, Eric Lindell and his band with special guest guitarist Anson Funderburgh. I got to chat to Eric after his set and he took one of my Way Out West business cards. He dearly wants to get back to Australia for a tour. The tent started to empty out as Eric’s set came to a close. Many people are heading over to the Acura to try and get a spot for the closing act, Santana. Me I want to see some of Joe Louis Walker. A superb singer and guitarist. He does not disappoint. The news for any WOW people reading this blog is that we have been asked to hold a Sunday in November for a possible tour of the said Joe Louis Walker. Get excited folks if this gig comes to fruition. Cross everything you got as he is a powerful performer and it will be a cup for our club.

I did go over to the Acura and catch some of Santana. I have never before seen this legend and I could not afford to not cross him off my have seen list. He was good, damn good. I never wait until the end of the day’s music before I make a move to get a bus back home. The crowd to get on the bus can be very long if you leave at the very end. I read in the paper the next day that Santana played for a 30 minutes past the close time of 7P.M.

What else did I get up to that day? Well I ate a spicy Natchitoes meat pie and a crawfish pie. Now before you say ‘what a pig’ they are not the same sort of pies we get back home. I also called into the WWOZ tent for a sit down, some fresh fruit salad and iced coffee which is free with my Brass Pass. I had plenty of water throughout the day and also a big cup of homemade strawberry lemonade which was very tasty if a little sweet for my liking. I wandered around the fest site more than I normally do to try and see as many different acts as possible. When the sun was out it was very hot. I had to buy a bandana to cover up my new tatt as I could feel it burning. When the heat became to oppressive outside I headed to the indoor tents where the sun did not burn but the humidity went up ten- fold.

Day Two

Started with Guitar Slim Jnr. who is the son of the late legendary bluesman Guitar Slim. Stew called to tell me that he and Carol where in their usual picnic spot under a tree about 80 metres back from the the Fais Do Do stage. I went over there and sat on one of their chairs and listened to Jeffrey Broussard & the Creole Cowboys. It was good to be able to sit and feel a breeze.

Over to the Samsung Galaxy stage for some of the super group the Royal Southern Brotherhood. I ran into Bryce who is an Aussie I met some ten years ago on a train that I had caught to get to the Queenscliff Music Festival. Small world, heh!

I tried to get back to the Blues tent for Sonny Landreth but it was packed out.

I was feeling a little faint from the heat and so headed to the Jazz Tent for a sit down and dare I say a little snooze.

Feeling a little refreshed I headed back to Fais Do Do where Wendy’s boyfriend was about to start. If I do not get a good photo of Keb’ Mo I might not as well go back home. I think I did well.

I got back to the Blues tent for the last three songs of Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentleman and then decided to hang in for Boz Scaggs. I was tempted, very tempted to try and get to see Robert Plant who was on at the same time but the thought of having to stand again turned me off. You may well ask why don’t I sit down on the grass. Well I just can’t get back up without considerable help. The joy of approaching 60 (not)

Food for the day was Ya Ka Mein, a New Orleans style beef noodle soup. The girl said I could add my own hot sauce although it had some hotness already, she said. Glad I didn’t add any sauce as it was spicy enough for me already. Of course I again availed myself to the hospitality of WWOZ. I also had a slice of Jalapeno and Sausage Bread.

Now I am telling my story warts and all. Not sure why but my tummy has been a bit on the queasy side for a few days. The porta loos at the festival site should be avoided as much as possible for obvious reasons but when you gotta go you gotta go. It is not a good idea to spend ten minutes in one of these things. It is hotter than a sauna but you are in there fully clothed. Any longer and I may have well passed out.

Day Three

Started the day with Henry Gray in the Blues tent. Who is that I spot, why it is Wendy’s other boyfriend Kenny Neal. Now Kenny is not on the bill so I wonder why he is here. He sits just behind me. We talked and he told me he has just signed Henry to his record label. Real nice guy and he has a lot of good things to say about Australia.

Listened to a couple of songs of Chris Smither and then I head out to see Meschiya Lake & the Little Big Horns.

Back to the Blues tent for the last few songs from Bombino and then I stayed for a full set of Rockin’ Dopsie Jnr. & the Zydeco Twisters. What a show, energy abounds, Dopsie is dancing and jumpin and doing the splits. He came off stage and is dancing while playing his rub-board right in front of me. I can reach out and touch him. Alas I have a long lens on my camera and can’t get a shot.

I headed out again to hear John Hiatt and the Combo. I left it too late to get near the stage and have to stand well back, alas no photos.

I like nearly everyone else at the fairgrounds starts to move about 4:30 to see if we can get anywhere close to Eric Clapton who will be closing out the Acura Stage. You can’t even get close enough to see the big screens that adorn either side of the stage.

Oh well let’s head back to the Blues tent to see Sixto Rodriguez. His is an interesting story. He released a couple of albums back in the 70’s and they sold hardly a copy in his native U.S.A. They did however sell reasonably well in Australia and South Africa. I like many fans though he had passed away however I have since learned that he just went back to being a recluse. A year or so back an award winning documentary was released about his life called ‘Looking for Sugarman’. Sugarman being the title of one of his brilliant songs. A bit like the Rolling Stones exporting Blues music back to the white college kids of America back in the 60’s.The film started his career in his own country where he was long overdue recognition. It was very sad to see that so late in his life he was getting that recognition. His songs are up there with Dylan’s best in my opinion. He cut a very sorry figure as he is so frail, he had to be helped with walking and his eyesight is near on non-existent. His voice I am afraid is shot although still very recognizable. His band of New Orleans session men got him through and I was glad I got to hear some of the songs that I so much enjoyed some 40 years ago. I did not stay until the end of the set as it was just too sad but to the crowds’ credit that clapped just as loud as if he was 50 years younger and at the peak of his form. That is what appreciative and knowledgeable music fans do, they will on performers and pay respect to those who deserve it. If only the American’s had latched onto him as those of us on the other side of the world did way back then.

Food for the day? Another serve of Ya Ka Mein. I am gunna get a recipe for this noodle dish so as I can make it back home. It will be a very good feed on a cold night. Also three Boudin balls with hot sauce. Sorta the size of a meat ball and made with pork and rice and spices and then deep-fried. Very tasty

So who did I dig the most? Rockin’ Dopsie followed by Eric Lindell and then John Hiatt

My big surprise for those three days? I did not have one alcoholic drink. This fact may very well jeopardize my status (if I have one) with my music buddies back home but please have sympathy for me when I say ‘it was too damned hot to drink booze’.

Funky Pirate

Thursday – April 24th


New friend Policeman Joey from French Quarter Fest


‘For me there is something primitively soothing about this music, and it went straight to my nervous system, making me feel ten feet tall.’ – Eric Clapton


Jazz Fest Eve. The weather is certainly more New Orleans in feel and all is looking good for the festival. There are more people in town already. Back to the Magnolia Grill for waffles and bacon. The old African American using the grill in front of me is very amiable. He is cooking up a Cajun sauce for the lunch special of pasta. He hands out small cups to the people sitting at the counter in front of him for a taste and critique. We got talking and he gave me some tips for cooking my Jambalaya back home. The time is only 9:30 and it never ceases to amaze me the number of people that order a beer, Bloody Mary or some other alcoholic refreshment to go with their bacon, eggs. grits and biscuit (like a scone)

It took me over two hours to type the blog about Borbon St. It was by far the wordiest of all the blogs I have posted. Two finger typing is a time consuming affair.

Mid -afternoon and I headed back to the market for a bite to eat. I will be having a formal dinner tonight with Brian Wises’ tour group this evening so I decided on a light snack. A pecan pie and tropical smoothie hit the spot.

The welcome dinner for the Aussies on tour is at the courtyard of the Maison Dupuy on Toulouse. It was good to catch up with Brian and exchange information on what we have been up to over the last few weeks. Brian is still struggling a little with the aftermath of his motor-bike accident. I recognized a few faces from previous tours however there are at least 10 newbies this time around, they are in for some fun. Dinner was very tasty, oyster shooters and a help yourself buffet of gumbo, red beans and rice, jambalaya, blackened catfish, salad and some spinach thing that I avoided.

Around 8 I headed off by myself. I have two photos of Big Al Carson to get signed. I know he will be at the Funky Pirate on Bourbon performing with his band the Blues Masters. I said hello to the guitarist, we know each other from Johnny White’s bar. There is a very well dressed guy talking to some band members as they set up. He came over and said hello. He will be doing the sound at Congo Square tomorrow and is laughing about his schedule. He has brass bands and New Orleans stars such as Shamarr Allen to mix for and his last act of the day will be the notorious Public Enemy. Big Al came in and I waited until he had settled unto his seat before going to show him the photos. As with all the musicians who have seen Wendy’s shots he was also very impressed and wants her to send him copies, he gave me his business card with his phone number and email address.

The crowd has built up somewhat as the band kicks into some blues music. There is an old lady (70’s?) walking in the door with a couple of other people, everyone takes a second look at her as she seems to be topless! On further inspection she has on a skin coloured Mardi Gras T-shirt with very realistic boobs painted on front. She is here to party and as soon as the music starts she is up and dancing. I watched two sets and then headed home, tomorrow will be a big day

Wednesday – April 23rd


‘A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence’ .- Leopold Stokowski


Woke up to the sound of young Zack practicing his violin. He sounds pretty good.

Breakfast at ‘Meals from the Heart’ at the market. I went for the oatmeal with raisins and walnuts plus juice. As close to a healthy breakfast as I have had this trip.

The weather is definitely heating up and the forecast is good for the start of Jazz Fest. Last year we froze over at the Fair Grounds (the site of the festival)

I decided to go back to the Botanica of Salvation to see if Sallie was back from her trip. I still have Kerri Simpson’s new C.D. for her. Saliie was indeed back and she was pleased to receive the gift from Kerri. This is the second time I have hand delivered a C.D. and she said I was more reliable than Fed Ex!

Inside the complex is an organic food market, a performance space and a Meditearan café called Fatoush. I good place to have a late lunch. On the special board was lamb shanks so I ordered those only to be told they didn’t have any. Next was lamb chops (I was hankering for some lamb) my order was taken and then the chef came out to say they were also off the menu, I was offered lamb shish kebab and went for it. I grabbed a newspaper to read while waiting for the meal. A few people came in and got served and then got their meals. About 45 minutes had gone by when I asked ‘how is the food going’. Opps my meal had been missed. They were very apologetic and bought me out a free soup. It looked good and I carefully tasted it so as to not burn the lips. It was stone cold but that was o.k. as it was a bowl of Cacik (cold yoghurt soup). My meal arrived shortly after and it was well worth the wait.

Back at the apartment I tuned in to the live Baseball on T.V. The Chicago Cubs (my team) had a 3 run lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks at the top of the 9th. Meaning that they needed 3 outs for the game. In baseball the home team (the Cubs) bat second. If they get the three outs and still lead they win and do not need to bat. I left in disgust when the Diamondbacks scored 4 runs to take the lead. By the way the Cubs colours are red, white and blue the same as the Bulldogs. They also have only ever won one World Series once back in the 30’s. They are celebrating their 150th year this very year. Why do I seem to always pick loosing sports teams?

I headed off to Lafayette Square for the free music. Paul Sanchez & the Rolling Thunder Review. I hung around for about an hour and then headed home

Bourbon Street

Tuesday – April 22nd


Click on map for larger version

“Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances. ”  ― Maya Angelou

First thing this morning I have domestic duties and I headed the few doors down to Sud Dem Duds to do my washing. I recognize a few of the faces as locals and the owner of the laundry greets me as a local.

I have 30 minutes to kill and it is only a block further down Bourbon to the world famous Clover Grill. The grill is a 24 hour breakfast and hamburger shop. And has been seen in many films including the Curious Case of Benjamin Button. While it only seats 30 people at the most it is worth a visit if you are in town, you are bound to see a mixture of tourists and exotic locals’. You have to be very over the top gay to work behind the counter. They can break into song at any campy moment. Cheap food and entertainment guaranteed.

After picking up the washing I headed off for a long walk through the Quarter and over Canal and then down St Charles. My destination is the Fed Ex store where I can get a copy of my now signed Little Freddie King photo. I say mine but Wendy really took the said photo. The local Walgreen stores can reproduce photos but they did not have a scanner big enough for this particular shot. The lady looked at the photo and asked me if I had permission to copy it. I said I owned the photo and I had to fill in a copyright notice to say I was not ripping of someone else’s work. I have to come back at 4P.M. to collect the copy.

It is getting hot and humid and I was sweating pretty badly by the time I got back. My old neighbours were leaving and a new couple and their son were moving in for a one-night stay. They remembered me from last year, Brad his partner Ginger and young son Zack. I should have known their names as well as they are etched in the banquet (French for sidewalk) at the bottom of the steps. Once we got talking it all came back to me. Brad and Ginger are dropping some art-work into a couple of local galleries. Last year they brought their pet goat with them! Their Son Zack is around 13 years of age and is a violin player. He has just been accepted to a touring youth orchestra. They are good friends with Landlord William and he invited us all out the back to his own apartment for a drink. I had not been in William’s place before and it is larger in size that my place as well as having a deep yard out back. I did not want to get tapped into an afternoon drinking session so had one beer and left. I did have an excuse as I went back to pick up the photo.

Tonight I decided to catch a Street Car down Canal to Chickie Wah Wahs’ which is a very good music club. It is only a 10 minute ride. Jon Cleary is playing a solo set from 8P.M. It is amazing to note that it was only about 3 weeks ago that I saw Jon and his band play at the Newport Sub-Station. Here I can lean against a wall a few feet from where he is sitting and watch every majestic move of his hands. I had a feed of Pot Roast Nachos (very tasty, and spicy).

After listening to Jon it was time to catch the Street Car back. We got to the corner of Rampart and stopped and had to alight. A Street Car turning onto Canal had come to a halt across the converging tracks. Its over- head connection to the cable had come loose and was tangled up across a number of lines. I could hear the driver of the stalled car radioing for help. Oh well it is only a few blocks walk to get back to Bourbon for the 15 minute walk to my apartment on the 1100 hundred block.

I have written about Bourbon St and its night life a number of times. Referring to it as a little like Kings Cross. It has a rich history and has gone through many metamorphosis. Let me walk you down its street from the start at Canal St.

Firstly Bourbon St is not named after the alcoholic beverage although you could be forgiven for that assumption. It is in fact named after the French ruling house at the time of settlement the house of Bourbon. New Orleans (La Nouvelle-Orléans).  Many street names have a strong connection to the French as well as the Spanish. In fact if we wanted to be strictly correct it is Rue (French for Sreet) Bourbon. When the Spanish had control of the colony is would have been Calle D Borbon. The street numbering is interesting but once you understand it makes sense. Each block is numbered from 1 – 100 and once you cross a street you are on the next block (200) irrespective of if the last numbered property ended at say 68. Some residential down my end of town are numbered in the halves I.E. 1223½. Also not that all the streets in the Vieux Carré (French Quarter) are all alternating one way streets

Ok let us take the stroll. It being Tuesday night Bourbon is not packed but still there are many people on the streets. By the way Bourbon is not open to traffic at night. So you can walk wherever you wish. The first establishment that take your eye is the Hustler merchandise shop (your last fling before the ring). Ralph Brennen’s Red Fish Grill an upmarket seafood restaurant, a couple of oyster houses and then another up-market seafood restaurant Borbon House Seafood with its crisp white linen and napkins. On the opposite corner is the Hard Rock Café. See it is not all booze and titties.

We cross at Dauphine (this is the feminine form of “Dauphin,” the prince in line to be the king of France). Daiquiris’ and cigar a factory, Galatoirs Steak house (up-market), pizza and chicken and more oyster bars, Hustlers (yep the titties have started), t-shirt shops, Déjà Vu show girls, Willie’s chicken shack, Old Absinthe House (1807) a building with a rich history http://www.ruebourbon.com/oldabsinthehouse/ On nearly every corner you will find a lucky dogs food cart. Anyone who has read the hilarious book ‘A Confederate of Dunces’ will immediately think Ignatius!

Over Bienville (was a French colonizer, and an early, repeated governor of French Louisiana) Desire Oyster house (as you can gather oysters are plentiful and eaten in large amounts, no need for Viagra here), Arnaud’s restaurant, Music’s Legends Park with its statues of famous ‘awlins music sons (and good beignets), Royal Sonesta Hotel a classy establishment with the concierge immaculately dressed including a pith helmet, his whistle always at the ready to call in a cab for the well- heeled guests. P.J.’s coffee house (sorta Starbucks), the Temptations Gentleman’s Club, huge- ass beers, quarter punks sitting in dirty rags with cardboard pleading for spare change. Signs like ‘you know the spiel give me the cash’, ‘need $2 for pimp lessons, ‘down on my luck anything will help’. The totes at the front of the strip joints implore the young guys and gals to come in and see the titties, no cover charge, barely legal, ya’ll know ya wanna’. There is always one or two scantily clad young nubiles advertising their assets. I try to be strong but ya can’t help glancing. If a girl catches your eye you get that little wicked smile. The noise and buzz of the crowd builds, loud laughter, spilled drinks, a couple of guys with no shirts doing an impromptu pole-dance) of course not as good as our own Mr. Smith. The smell of cigars, broken sidewalks to negotiate. Venues blaring out retro rock with the tempter of two for one big-ass beers. Believe me they are big-ass.

Over Conti (named for the Prince de Conti, a member of the ruling Bourbon family of France)chicken, beer, daiquiris, the beer fest (100 beers available), Panda Bear a purveyor of sex apparel. You see the theme of Bourbon St is emerging. You need to be fed, thirst quenched, primal urges satisfied and then have somewhere to lay your head. More babes, another Hustlers’, fresh Mex grill, LipstiXX, Pier 124 steak market, hand grenades – a potent concoction served in the shape of a hand grenade with a very long neck. People stroll down the street getting the brains blown-out. Rock music clubs churning out AC/DC

Over St Loius (many streets are named after saints),  Big Daddy’s world famous love acts men and women!, There is a Jesus freak with a loud hailer spreading the gospel and handing out pamphlets trying to save the backsliders (tough gig on Bourbon) further on another guy with similar loud hailer trying to get marijuana legalised. Maybe the Jesus freak and the dope freak should pool their resources? Save my soul and pass the wine/joint. The Four Points Sheraton and another rock bar advertising funky R’N’B (not likely)

Over Toulouse (named for an illegitimate son,one of many) of Louis XIV) a couple of more music bars (not real New Orleans music here) the famous Court of 2 Sisters http://www.courtoftwosisters.com/  the equally famous Irish Bar Pat O’Brien’s’ with their signature drink the Hurricane, guaranteed to get your legs shaking, duelling pianos and a real nice court-yard, Maison Bourbon dedicated to the preservation of jazz (real New Orleans music), Crazy Corner music house, more guys pole-dancing

Over St Peters, more bars and cigar shops, Bourbon Heat Grill Club, Embers Steak House, Johnny White’s Bar (foggy nights spent here) the Black Heritage Gallery

Over Orleans, more hand grenades, the Funky Pirate where Big Al Carson holds a residency and where you can hear some blues although tourist centric, Fritzel’s European Jazz Club. Marie Laveau’s Voodoo shop with potions and candles. Marie Laveau is one of New Orleans infamous Voodoo Queens of the 1800’s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Laveau

Over St. Ann and a bit more calm sets in. More bars (some gay) residential properties and the Washing Well LaundryTeria

Over Dumaine (another illegitimate son of Loius XIV, what is interesting is the bastard sons are jammed in between streets named after Saints), Café Lafitte in Exile (gay bar) the Clover Grill (sign of good taste!), Skully Records, Gay Pride (where Wendy and I bought our Clover Grill t-shirts last year) this shop has some very interesting to say the least items for sale. All I can say is judging by the photos around the shop I would not fit into the gay community. Man they are built like donkeys! Lafitte’s Blacksmith Bar very interesting history here. The longest running bar licence if the U.S. and connected to the famous pirate Jean Lafitte http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Lafitte

Over St Phillip (called Calle San Felipe in Spanish times 1762-1803), Lafitte guest house, the Post Office Emporium (blame them if you did not get a postcard) many residences and an art gallery

Over Ursulines (named after the nuns that came to the colony to save souls) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Ursulines_in_New_Orleans and now I am in my block the 1100, the Quarter Master deli open 24 hours a day and I have had many a midnight grease attack here.

The next few blocks to the Esplanade where the French Quarter ends are all taken up with homes, many painted in bright colours in the tradition of the Creoles. This is the quiet end of Bourbon. People walk down here on the way over to Frenchman and its music clubs. It is not too noisy at night and I am in a prime position

I hope you enjoyed the tour and maybe one day you will make that walk yourself (if you have already not done so)

Bond’s Undies

Monday – 21st April


Kermit Ruffins – We havin’ a party

“Life is for the living.
Death is for the dead.
Let life be like music. 
And death a note unsaid.” 


It is much quitter around the Quarter this morning. Easter Monday is not a public holiday and a lot of the out of Towner’s are heading home.

Back to Envies’ for breakfast of a bagel, salmon, red onion and cream cheese. Hold the capers. I pretty much can eat anything but capers are not a favourite. What are they anyway, so small but such an overwhelming taste? The guy making the coffee recognized me from last year which was pretty cool. He asked how long I was in town for this time around.

I grabbed a copy of the free Off Beat magazine. The sub-heading reads ‘2014 Jazz Fest Bible’. Oh decisions, decisions it is fast coming to a time when I will have to decide who to see and on which stage. There are always clashes of artists competing for my attention. If only you could be in two places at once. Off Beat is a must read for anyone visiting the town and can be picked up free all over the city. Outside of New Orleans the price is $5.99. There is a cool app you can download for your P.C. or Tablet that links to an on-line version. It is well worth searching for as there are always interesting stories to read.

I took another stroll down the river-front. It is a perfect day for walking. Not to hot and plenty of cloud cover with a nice little breeze hitting your face like a personal mini-fan. I am on a mission as I turned into Canal St. I need to buy some new jocks. I know too much information. I have had a blow out in two pairs of bonds, the elastic bands have perished away. Now I am not blaming the fried chicken I have been eating by the bucket load. It has to be the humidity that is the culprit. Aussie elastic is just not sturdy enough to do the job in these here parts.

I wanted to call back into Ruby’s Slipper for a late lunch but they close at 2P.M. I opted instead for a diner a few doors down the IHop. It had good food at reasonable prices. After a feed of beef pot roast and onion gravy, mashed potato and corn I called into WWOZ to pick up my Jazz Fest Brass Pass. The Pass allows me to take a regular pit-stop at the WWOZ hospitality tent every day of Jazz Fest (7 days in all) where you can avail yourself to as much fresh fruit salad and iced coffee as you can manage. It is also good to be able to sit and cool down between the acts that perform between 11 and 7 each day of the Fest. The Festival starts this coming Friday and continues on Saturday and Sunday. Then the following week is starts on the Thursday through to finish on Sunday at 7P.M.

Check out http://www.nojazzfest.com/ I have dug viewing your posts and comments and get a buzz knowing that you are following my adventures. Let’s get a survey going of who the top 5 artists you would earmark to see at this year’s Jazz Fest. Post the list to my blog. If you match my top five I may bring you back a souvenir!

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday – April 20th


Chris Owens – 20/4/2014

“I haven’t understood a bar of music in my life, but I have felt it.” ― Igor Stravinsky

Easter Sunday and I woke up feeling good. Dare I say it? Positively resurrected even!

It is a bright sunny day and all bodes well for the Easter Parades.

Back down to the Magnolia Grill for a Pecan and Banana Pancake. During the walk down there are many people wearing Easter Bonnets (men and women alike). It is a friendly time of year with most people wishing you a ‘happy Easter’. People are on their way to church, the major religion here being catholic. But just as many people are heading to the bars for something cool to drink.

I got the bill for my meal and then had a panic attack as I could not find my wallet. I just hope I have left it at the apartment. Oh boy, will it be the classic refrain from the waiter. ‘O.K you can wash dishes for an hour or so. The café is packed and there must be a ton of bacon fat on all the plates I can see. I offered to leave my Sun Records Tote bag as a guarantee for me coming back to pay the bill. The guy laughed and said ‘that’s all right baby, we trust ya’. I must have an honest face all be it pretty sunburned one. I hustled back to the apartment and heaved a sigh of relief when I spotted my wallet on the table.

My new tatt is looking good but I must be careful to keep it out of the sun. William has presented me with my Easter Bonnet which I will wear when the second parade of the afternoon goes past our balcony. I mentioned before that New Orleans is a great city to people watch. Even more so today as the drag queens, the transvestites and the gays wearing all kinds of finery and matching bonnets are sashaying past. The Chris Owens parade rolls down Bourbon and then take a right onto St Anne which is just the next block up from us. Last year I missed this parade because I had the wrong start time. Not this year however as I am determined to get in on the fun.

I walked down a block and fond a shady spot. The couple next to me are from the state capital Baton Rouge. They were very friendly.

Now Chris Owens is a legend in these here parts. Have a look at the web site to bring yourself up to speed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Owens_(burlesque_performer) His/her parade has been rolling for over 30 years. Chis is at a guess in her mid 70’s and to say she has lived a life in an understatement of ridiculous proportions. Her float stopped right in front of me. It was pretty scary to look into that face. Bands, throws, colour and sights to behold.

Back to the apartment with a six pack of Abita Amber. I sat out on the balcony with my neighbours, William and Mickey and we shared crackers, cheese and salami as we waited for the next parade.

The Gay Eater Parade started to roll past us at around 5P.M. The trannies in all the fineries. I am not sure who is male and who is female! Again a lot of fun was had. I must say my bonnet was also very popular with many people stopping to take a photo. So many people walk past where I am staying. I could sit out here for a week and have hundreds of photos without every stopping foot off the balcony. We just had 6 miniature ponies, 3 miniature goats and a mini llama walk past us on the sidewalk. Most people wish you ‘Happy Easter’, ‘How ya’ll doin’ as they stroll by. People asking for directions and then being a little taken aback when they get answered in a weird accent.

Another fun Easter in the Crescent City.

Electric Ladyland

Saturday – April 19th



Scary Bunny


‘Must people die with their music still locked up inside them’ – Benjamin Disraeli 

I woke up at 1 P.M. and had to try and get my mind and body functioning. I am too old to have 4A.M. nights but I never heed my own advice. I have to get over to Frenchman for my 2 P.M. appointment at Electric Ladyland. I am not looking forward to an hour of tattooing with a throbbing head and a churning stomach.

My tattoo artist is Kevin and he is a real nice guy. Originally from Miami he has been working at the studio for the last 3 months. I surprisingly feel all right once he starts and the hour goes by quickly.

My last meal was a long time ago (24 hours) and I need to get a feed. Mona’s Lebanese café is just a few doors down from the studio and I called in for lamb and humus.

I was back in the apartment by 4 to rest my weary body. A couch potato for the rest of the day

I managed to get up from the couch around 7:30 and walked around the corner to the Verti Mart to get a take-out of meatballs, mashed potato and green beans. The portions are so large that you are guaranteed two meals for the price of one.

So not a big day for blogging. As the Jethro Tull song goes ‘Too old to rock ‘n’ roll but too young to die’.

Bar Hopping

Friday – April 18th




‘Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without’ – Confucius


I was up early at 8 and went and had breakfast at a little Café on Toulouse. It is a block from the Maison Dupuy, the hotel that Brain Wise’s tour group will stay at when they arrive next week.

I ordered a semi-healthy grilled cheese sandwich. My mistake, I should have known better as bacon is mandatory, you have to stipulate to ‘hold the pig’. No matter the sandwich came with a small bowl of fresh fruit salad so I did somewhat good.

I was going to wait until close to the end of my trip to have a shopping splurge. Oh well, what the heck. I got back to the apartment with 4 pair of jeans, new shoes and a cap.

I am sitting out on the balcony with William and Mickey when two ladies stopped to chat to William. They are from Baltimore and William lived in that city for a few years so he is able talk about various local hangouts. One of the women then said it is nice to talk to friendly gay men! Mickey and I looked at each other in surprise but said nothing. Guess when you live in an apartment at the Gay end of town and you have disco balls hanging from the rafters then an assumption of one’s sexual preferences could be incurred.

Around 3ish I went down to the marker for a bite to eat. I have a big night/morning ahead of me and I need some sustenance to get me through. There is a new food vendor in the market ‘Meals from the Heart Café’, a healthy take out option. They guarantee there is no pork on their menu. I ordered the Crab Cake Passion with salad and a bottle of coconut water. I may even come back for breakfast one morning for the oatmeal and walnuts special.

Back to the apartment to rest up until I go and meet up with Bob and Pat at 8P.M. Joy oh joy I have found the Major League Baseball channel on the T.V.

Around 7 I managed to get Skype fired up and got through to the girls at home. The time in Melbourne is 9AM Saturday morning. Wendy had to go and wake the girls up.

I started out for Iggy’s bar at 7:45, the meeting place for Bob and Pat. The walk takes me down Burgundy (this is pronounced not as it reads). The first time I took this walk I got lost and Bob was concerned when I was late arriving, that I may have gone into an area that was not safe. Well this time I know where I was going and I GOT LOST. A young girl and a guy on a bike must have seen I was confused and stopped to point me in the right direction. She said herself (in my defence) that this area of the Marigny known as the triangle is confusing even for locals. In fact I was only a very short distance from where I was supposed to be.

I got to the bar just after 8 and Bob and Pat greeted me like the friends we are. Even the bar-lady said ‘welcome back’. Iggy’s is a neighborhood bar and I am the only ‘out of Towner’. I even ran into a guy I met at he Spotted Cat last Monday. I was introduced to a number of the locals. One guy who has a bed and breakfast asked me if I knew of Peter Beattie (ex Queensland Premier) who he had shred a Bloody Mary with a few weeks back. Sitting on the bar is a split-screen T.V.  Monitor which has views of the bar, a little pool room and a street view. Another guy who Bob and Pat knew real well told me a few stories about the Iggy’s. He told a hilarious tale of the bar being held-up and the perpetrator went behind the bar and ripped out the T.V. monitor I mentioned so as his image could not be viewed. He is seen on footage walking across the street with the monitor under his arm! Another not so funny story was that there was a shooting out front of the bar a week before I got into town. He did add that I was not to worry as the people involved in the shooting had not been drinking at Iggy’s. Add to that the story of a fatal shooting last year out the front. This time it was after a local funeral where there had been an altercation. The guy in the fight had left the funeral and was drinking in the bar. The other guy in the fight waited until he left the bar and shot him dead on the street. As Kerri Simpson told me before I left, ‘New Orleans can be a bad-assed town and you should never let your guard down.’

We left the bar around 11:30 and headed to Deja Vu. This bar is in the Quarter on Dauphine. Again I have been here before. I am hoping that a barman by the name of Eric is working tonight. I promised him some vegemite last year and I have a tube to give him. Eric is working behind the bar and he is happy to see me and my gift. Bob told me he was at this bar a few weeks ago and there was an older guy sitting nearby not looking to good. Eric though we was about to throw-up and was getting ready to ask him to leave. He fell off his stool. An ambulance was called and he was carted off. News came through that he had died of a heart-attack. Hmm that is a bit scary. More beer was consumed and then we head to another bar called Jimmy White’s a bar that has gone down in history as the only bar that never closed during and after Hurricane Katrina. Wesley is behind the jump and says ‘welcome back Aussie’ by this time I am getting a little wobbly. At 2:45 I wrote (scrawled) in my journal ‘I am now officially pissed’. Bob and Wesley attested to the fact by signing the said entry. I think I got back to the apartment around 4A.M. I know I had a great time catching up with good friends. But as to most of the details. Let me say they are a little sketchy.

Armstrong Park

Thursday – April 17th


‘Music touches us emotionally, where words alone can’t.’ – Johnny Depp


My morning routine is set now. Arise sometime between 9 and 10, read my emails and check out the news on-line via the Age while watching the world go by.

Nothing to eat until lunch time. The Matassa’s family Deli has operated on Dauphine St since 1924. John Matassa emigrated from Sicily in 1906. There one son (Cosimo) went on to found one of the most iconic recording studios in New Orleans. Sadly that building is now a laundromat (Rampart St) with only a plaque on the wall to remind people who recorded there. Lucky for me is the Deli is just around the corner from my apartment. It is a throw- back to the past. Tiny little aisles that should have one-way signs as two people canot be in the one spot at the same time. You can get all your grocery needs and liquor plus there is a service bar where you can order hot cooked food. The Deli is still run by the Matassa family. I opted for one of their signature sandwiches the Mufaletta. Olive salad, genoa salami, chisesi ham, mortadella, mozzarella, and provolone cheeses on fresh Italian bread. The half sandwich costs $8.95 and the full sandwich $13.95. When I say sandwich I mean a round bun the size of a small pizza and as thick as two meat pies on top of each other. I ordered a half and only managed to be able to eat a half of a half.

I was eating my lunch on the balcony but alas had to retreat inside as an annoying drizzle has set in. I heard Mr. Okra and his battered up tray van coming down the street. Mr Okra sells vegetables and fruit to the people of the street. You can hear him for blocks singing through the loud speaker. ‘I got green beans, I got bananas, and I got okra. You could say that the likes of Mr. Okra may never be seen/heard again. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qz2K8YPSMy8

I had a Nanna nap in the afternoon and was up and at ‘em at 4 PM. I am heading off to Armstrong Park for the start of the free Thursday night music sessions. Yep I am here at the right time of year all right.

I got to Armstrong Park to be greeted by the ‘One Sound Brass Band’ being ably assisted with the dance moves of the Sudan Social Aid and Pleasure Club. It is true when they say ‘White men can’t dance’. Social and Aid clubs of which there are many in New Orleans came about through the poverty of the black population. People contributed a small weekly amount of their income to their club of choice. This then guaranteed a dignified funeral including a horse and mourning carriage and a brass band. Solemn dirge like music would be played on the way to the cemetery and then on the way back the music would be joyful and be a celebration of the deceased’s life. Mourners and anybody that wanted could join in. Hence the name second-line.

Armstrong Park is situated across Nth Rampart St which is the boundary of the French Quarter. It is situated in the historic Treme district. And only a ten minute walk. Within its bound is the area known as Congo Square where history tells us that the black slaves were allowed to gather and dance on Sundays. The only city in the U.S. that allowed black slaves to participate in traditional drumming and dancing. Of course we all should be thankful for this as out of that music came the likes of Jazz and Blues.

I am here to see Glen David Andrews (a cousin of Trombone Shorty). Glen David as a singer and trombone player extraordinaire and he has the knack of involving all audience members in his performance. The spring and summer sessions are put on by the community group ‘ The People United for Armstrong Park’. There is also market stalls and food stalls. I had a double up, starting with a bowl of Gumbo and some fried chicken. When you eat real Southern Fried chicken it is very hard to ever again  eat from Kentucky Fried.  I was strong though as I did not buy a serve of deep fried Oriole cookies (chocolate biscuits) although they were a steal at 6 for $5!

First on the bill tonight is an old school rapper named Weebie. Not my type of music but the crowd really got into it.

Glenn David Andrews hit the stage as he always does with all cylinders firing. He sang a number of tunes from his new album ‘Redemption’ as well as some of his classic covers. You are always guaranteed a god time at a GDA show. Like Anders Osborne, Glen has turned his life around in the last 18 months and he is very proud to let people know that you can pick yourself up when and if you want to. The skies have been grey all day and the rain is tumbling down. The crowd don’t care about getting wet, we are partying in the rain and when Glen started singing the Mahalia Jackson classic ‘Didn’t It Rain’ the handclapping got even louder.