the very talented Mr. Eric Lindell with the very untalented Rob Rowe
Sunday 6th April
Two days to go before I head back to my second home – the City that Care Forgot – New Orleans.
My trip will be shorter this time (4 weeks) and I will be cramming as much music as I possibly can into that time frame. I will be staying in the same apartment on the 1100 block of Bourbon Street.
I am currently half way through reading a fascinating book ‘A History – Bourbon Street’ author Richard Campanella. Many of us only know the Bourbon St of the last few years. The sleazy Canal Street end with its strip joints, gaudy souvenir shops and victuallers of ‘big ass’ beers and hand grenades. This book is a fascinating read beginning with the early years of 1682-1722 right up to the present. A must read for anyone who has stumbled down Bourbon at 3 o’clock in the morning…
My landlord William kindly booked the dates for my 2014 stay last year. He likes having an Aussie ‘Koala Bear’ as a tenant. I will take over 4 tubes of our national spread, Vegemite. William has taken a liking to the taste. The other tubes will be for Bob Gentilly Jnr. http://www.wwoz.org/programs/blues-and-rhythm-and-blues-with-gentilly-jr and his lovely wife Pat and Stu and his equally as lovely wife Carol. They are great friends of both mine and Wendy’s.
I know Wendy is very disappointed she is not making the trip this year. It is entirely my fault for not asking her to accompany me. I know Wendy would love to catch up with our new buddies as mentioned above. Now you may ask why did I not invite Wendy. Well I remember when I came back home last year and I caught up with friends for the debriefing session and some people asked Wendy would she go back to New Orleans. I am sure I heard her say on a number of occasions “probably not, I liked being there but I would sooner have travelled more around the States”. “It was interesting but a bit dirty and 24 hours of music a day is a bit tough.” However over the ensuing months I heard Wendy raving about New Orleans to all and sundry. Wendy is now Facebook© friends with some of ‘Awlins finest musicians due to some fantastic photos of hers that she has posted on-line. Now you see this is exactly what happens when you visit New Orleans.
It gets under your skin, not like an itchy rash that irritates but more like an intravenous drip that feeds you life giving goodness. New Orleans beguiles, courts, amazes and scares you all at the same time. It can be badass, crass and intoxicating. It can leave you drained and invigorated within a short space of time. It is not for everyone but if you make the time to go there to research its history and have an open mind then it welcomes you with open arms.
All is not lost with Wendy’s disappointment this time around. In 2015 there are plans afoot for Wendy and Kate to make the trip down South. Kate has always been keen to go to New Orleans but she wanted to ensure that she had turned 21 before venturing away with me. It is no coincidence that the legal drinking age in the States is 21years of age. It always amazes me that the most-wicked city in the U.S.A. requires you to be an adult before imbibing! I am already looking forward to showing the girls around the City that I can’t stop thinking about.
I am due to land in New Orleans late on Wednesday night (9th April). Hopefully I will be able to get some sleep as I need to be up and ready to get down for the start of the French Quarter festival which runs from Thursday to Sunday. http://fqfi.org/ The festival showcases the best of the best of local musicians and is free to attend. Wendy and I had a great time there last year apart from the first day’s torrential rain and electrifying thunderstorm.
If I get over those four days of awesome music then I will go to the free music sessions held each Wednesday night through the spring season (12 weeks) at Lafayette Square http://wednesdayatthesquare.com/
Then on Thursday I can wander over to Armstrong Park (Congo Square) for the free Jazz in the park series http://www.pufap.org/jazz-in-the-park-treme-music-series/season5/
Friday the 18th April is Good Friday and that means the start of the New Orleans Easter Parades including the must see Sunday Gay Easter Parade. This parade goes right past my apartment and last year I sat out on the balcony with my Landlord and the local neighbours to watch the parade go by. It is compulsory to wear a hand-made Easter Bonnet. William has already emailed me to say he has made a bonnet for me to wear!
I will still have to make time somewhere in this hectic schedule to catch up with friends and also visit some of the music clubs on Frenchman Street as I will not have a lot of time until Jazz Fest is upon me. http://www.nojazzfest.com/
So if I have whetted your appetite and you want to know what I get up to on a day to day basis then stay tuned
Update: April 2nd 7 A.M. Wendy checked my flight ticket last night and then told me this morning that my flight is Tuesday the 8th April and not Wednesday the 9th. Whew that would have been a disaster as I am in the habit of not checking those sorts of things until the night before. Better wish me luck when I do get to New Orleans as I will be on my own.