the Spotted Cat

Tuesday – April 15th



We all know that Real Estate Agents tell fibs!


‘The only truth is music’ – Jack Kerouac


I left the apartment around 9:30 and immediately went back for my Stax jacket. I can’t believe it. Mid April and it is only 11 degrees! It is oh so cold. Beanies, scarves, jackets and gloves that’s what the locals are wearing. The poor tourists in the mule buggies are draped in blankets. It is easy to spot the unprepared visitors in shorts and t-shirts shivering like dogs shitting razor blades. The wind is blowing hard and is bitterly cold.

None the less I headed down to the river-front promenade to once again take in the view of the mighty Mississippi. I never get tired of watching the barges being pushed by the tugs, the container ships turning nearly at right angles as they follow the river course. Today the barges are plowing into the wind and the waves are breaking over their bows as if they were out in the middle of the ocean. The promenade is nearly devoid of walkers but I love it just the same.

I wandered down Canal and spotted a café that I had not seen before. It is called Ruby Slipper. I ordered the Spanish omelet. Spicy chorizo sausage, red onions, bell peppers, pepper jack cheese, red roasted peppers with a side of potato. Coffee and toast. All for the princely sum of $13.44. As with most places in this part of the woods the coffee is bottomless. I was right is saying that this is a new café, the waiter confirmed that it has only been open 3 months. I will come back as it is one of the better breakfasts that I have had in my 4 visits. I must tell Brian Wise. The waiter asked me where I was from and you know the answer. He said I thought so but I saw you writing in your journal and it sure does not look like English! What can I say, most people tell me that I write like a Doctor. As I leave the café I laughed at the sign above the doorway – Eggs-It-HereI

I browsed a few of the clothing stores. So many good things to buy but I am on a tight budget and I will wait until near the end of my trip to see if I can afford a splurge. It was good to walk around and reacquaint myself with the streets. Although the temperature is brisk it suits me fine and I much prefer it to the high humidity that is just around the corner. I have been told that a storm will hit some time in the next couple of weeks and the humidity will roll-in and stay for the rest of spring and summer.

I spoke to Stew on the phone and we will meet up again tomorrow at the music in the park series (Lafayette Square) and then I will go back with Stew and Carol to have dinner at their home. Stew told me that he has tried the vegemite I bought over for him describing it as ‘tasty’. I have also been in touch with Bob Gentilly Jnr. and I will meet up with Bob and Pat on Good Friday night. I know I will be in for a fun night of music and amber and will most likely have one big hangover come Saturday morning.

I called into the Louisiana Music Factory on the way to the Spotted Cat Music Club. You may be shocked to read that I did not buy and C.D’s although I have noted a few that will make my suitcase on my trip home.

The Spotted Cat is one of 6 or so little music clubs on Frenchman Street. Frenchman starts just outside the French Quarter and is only a 5 minute walk from my place. It is a world apart from the music venues on Bourbon who tend to cater for a drunken tourist audience wanting to hear classic rock. Having said that you can still find some establishments on Bourbon that have some music taste. Frenchman Street is more of a local’s hangout with the some of the more informed music tourists also coming out of the Quarter to get their fix. Most of the clubs would only hold 100-150 people.

The Spotted Cat is a little music bar that puts on great music. No cover charge but there is a stipulation noted on the door that you have to purchase at least one drink. I easily qualify to stay. I have come early to get a front seat at the bar in front of the band stand. Andy Forrest is playing acoustic blues and he is not bad at all. I grabbed a seat and the guy next to me introduced himself and his girlfriend. He is not much taller than me but he is built like a brick shit-house. They come from Edmonton, Canada and he is the General Manager of an Auto shop that pimps up cars and trucks. They are very friendly and the next thing you know I am in a shout with them.

 I am here to see Meschiya Lake & the Little Big Horns. We saw Meschiya a few times last year and she has a magnificent voice. Her band are old school 20’s Jazz. The kind I like. Meschiya is very pretty and is covered in tattoos. Even her eyebrows are tattooed. She would only be in her late 20’s and she and her band are keeping the tradition of this form of music alive and viable to a new audience. I also met up with a couple from Chicago who were interested to hear a little about Australia. My new drinking buddy has had a fair amount to drink and someone in the crowd has upset him. I get the feeling that Canadians and Americans are not the best of friends. At one stage he was ready to take on three f****n Yankees but my diplomacy skills came to the fore and we turned the conversation around.

I chatted to Meschiya between sets. I told her how I had been interviewed by Helen Jennings of PBS last year. Helen asked about my trip and what artist had taken my fancy and that I got to pick some tunes for airplay. Helen was very taken with Meschiya’s C.D. and the phone line up with Melbournians ringing through to get details of the album. Meschiya seemed mighty pleased and she told me that she has always wanted to come to Oz. She gave me her personal contact details and I will contact Helen to see if she wants to do a phone interview.

I called in to Electric Ladyland after leaving the club. I got my tattoo at this parlour last year. My tattoo artist has left town so I could not show him how the ink looks a year later.

Tea was from a great pizza place called the Louisiana Pizza Kitchen. No Aussies on this menu.