Saturday – April 12th
‘Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything’. – Plato
There was a bit of a disturbance last night in front of my apartment at around 4:30 A.M. I was awoken by loud shouting and swearing but I went back to sleep pretty quickly. When I went to leave this morning my neighbour and Mickey were talking on our balcony about the fracas. There is a security camera on the front of the apartment and Mickey can watch the area out front including his car parked on the street. He said that he was thinking of getting dressed and coming out to see what the fight was all about. My neighbour said that might not have been a good idea as you might have got drawn into the trouble, ‘I don’t think so’, said Mickey. ‘I would have had my shotgun with me’. That makes me feel nice and safe having my own armed security guard.
I got down to the Abita stage just as the Irene Sage band were starting their second song of the bracket. I have seen Irene a number of times both as the front-lady of her own band and as a back-up singer in a couple of other local bands. She is good, damn good and very sexy to boot. For more information go to www.irenesageband.com I have just downloaded my photos for the day and was eagerly awaiting to see what the photo of Irene and myself looked like, something spooky as happened as I can’t find it.
While Irene was performing I was chatting to Joey Joia who is A New Orleans policeman (22 years’ service). He is a very friendly guy and he was happy to give me some information from a law enforcement perspective of New Orleans. What he said certainly was not through rose coloured glasses. He said in some ways Katrina was a cleansing storm as a lot of the gang members moved to different location around the country. In some areas of New Orleans the police classed some areas as was zones and he said it was not even safe to drive through those areas. Of course he said that the many, many deaths were heart breaking. He also asked a lot of questions about back home. He was interested in our political system, education, welfare and law and order. He told me a lot of eye-opening information about Hurricane Katrina and it was very confronting. I learned more about this city in the 4 hours I spent back-stage with Joey than I have by reading news articles from the local newspaper the Times Picayune (means small Spanish coin). Joey said he had a friend that lives in Freemantle who wants him to go visit. Joey is not very keen as he has read about our White Pointers. Because I spent close up time with Joey I was able to view the belt he wore. It made Batman’s utility belt look innocuous. Gun, taser, truncheon, handcuffs, mace, walkie talkie and a few other things I was unsure of. We then spoke about the football back home. At first Joey thought I was talking about rugby. I explained further and then he cottoned on. ‘Oh yeah, those crazy mother f*****s who tackle and wear no padding.
Bruce ‘Sunpine’ Barnes is back stage in his Rangers uniform. He works at the Old Mint as well as being a world class performer. He has just spent 2 months on tour with Paul Simon. I knew Sunpie from seeing him around town last year and he remembered me and Wendy as well. There is a very large African American taking photos near me. He asks ‘were you from baby’. Even the Joey the policeman called me baby on a number of occasions. No I have not turned, it is just that no matter what gender or age you are, over here you are ‘baby. ’I told him I was from down under and he has invited me to his camera club.
I have another 3 photos of Wendy’s to get signed. Brother Tyrone Powell, Walter ‘Wolfman’ Washington, and the Dixie Cups (who are celebrating 50 years in the music business). Stew took me down to the artist’s tent to meet the girls of the Dixie Cups. They were very taken with the photo I had and they all graciously signed it. They also want me to send them a copy. I did explain that I did not take the shot but it must have been misinterpreted with my accent. The incredible outcome of that is that they have asked me to be on stage with them to take photos. I spent their entire set up on the major stage of the French Quarter Music Festival like a professional snapper! I have not the heart to tell them that what I know about my Cannon camera was learned from the ‘Idiots Guide to the Cannon EOS Rebel’. Have you ever read any of those Idiot Books? They are not so easy to understand!
After that excitement I headed to the food area to get some lunch. I spoke to a guy about my age seated at one of the tables. He grew up deep in Cajun country (Lafayette). He was in the Air Force for 20 years through the 70’s and 80’s and spent some time based in Darwin. He reminisced about being taken out to herd kangaroos.
Another artist on my list of must see is Tommy Malone who also happens to be the lead-singer of the seminal New Orleans band the Subdudes. He ends up standing next to me and he started chatting. Most locals are very friendly and go out of their way to strike up a conversation. He told me hi is very anxious to get to Australia and he has taken one of my cards. It just keep getting better as I am now being passed free beer from the V.I.P sponsors area.
Tommy’s band played a memorable set and he finished up with one of Phoebe Giles favourite songs (and mine for that matter) ‘I’ve Got All the Time In the World’.
The sun has just dropped below the CBD buildings and it is surprising on how quickly the temperature cools off. I walked the 10 minutes back to my apartment a very satisfied man with all the day’s events.