Day Thirty – Day Two Jazz Fest

Day Thirty – Jazz Fest Day Two
Blues Idiom – Hoochie Coochie, Hootchie Cootchie – Coochie (also spelled Cootchie) is slang for ‘vagina.’ Hoochie (also spelled Hootchie) is slang for ‘whore’ or ‘hooker.’ A Hoochie- Choochie dancer is a stripper and a Hoochie – Coochie man is a pimp.

We got to Iggy’s just after the first shuttle had left. No problems as it will be back in 15 minutes. Time for a coke and a review of who (no pun intended) is on the bill for the second day of Jazz Fest. I was talking to a local about yesterday’s storms and as bad as they were he said we missed the worst of it. Just south of us the winds got up to 80MPH (129 KPH) plus heavy hail stones. It is hot and steamy (as usual) but the rain is staying away, for now.

When we got to the festival gate we were able to walk straight in. Already my tshirt is sticking to my back. I had to get something to eat and went for a favourite of mine Yaka Mein, a Vietnamese noodle soup with extra hot sauce added. Kate said I was crazy eating hot soup in the heat. She may be right but it does taste oh so good. Next a quick call into WWOZ for some fruit salad and iced coffee. WWOZ are broadcasting live from the hospitality tent and Washboard Chaz is being interviewed. He has on a gray tshirt and it is wringing wet with perspiration. If the locals are sweating this much then imagine how we are feeling.

We headed to the Gentilly Stage for Tommy Malone. Tommy is a great singer songwriter and he was also in the legendary New Orleans band the Suddudes. I like him a lot but he may be ‘to slow and meaningful’ for the girls.

We could see the weather closing in once again and made a dash for the safety of WWOZ. Rain and wind of biblical proportions and the tent quickly filled to bursting with punters seeking shelter. The volunteer staff closed up all the flying flaps and we sat out the storm in near darkness (it is only 1:15.) After about 45 minutes the rain relented just a little and we made a quick dash for the Blues tent. The music has continued in the various tents around the festival.

We saw the incredible Mali blues master Vieux Farka Toure. I volunteered to go out in the elements for beignets and chocolate milk for Kate. Before I lined up for the fried dough I walked over to the outdoor Acura stage to see if the scheduled music was still in progress. I was on the race track when I was stopped by the officials as the waived through 4 black limos. The first limo had Roger Daltrey riding up front and the second Pete Townsend. That was cool watching rock royalty drive by.

I found where the Iggy’s crew had set up. They had weathered the storm and were waiting for the Who to perform.

Back in the Blues tent and local slide guitar wizard Sonny Landreth was firing up. Sonny as always was mesmerizing It was getting close to the start time for the Who. The holy trinity of British rock who took America by storm was of course, the Beatles, the Stones and the Who. I am ashamed to say that I have never seen the Who play live. I was going out in whatever the conditions to fix that aberration, to my surprise both Wendy and Kate were also keen.
We trudged through the mud with Kate complaining that she was wearing $20 socks. She then nearly lost a Nike in a small patch of quick sand.
We found our friends and settled in for a sensational show. Roger Daltrey’s voice was so powerful and Townsend’s playing superb. Hit after hit with the crowd singing along. What a buzz. Kate said it must have been like Woodstock with the Who on stage,the mud and the smell of weed. Must ask her how come she knows what weed smells like.

We finished off leaving the stage around 6:30 and caught three songs from the Robert Cray band. He was really good as well.

A great day despite what the elements threw at us.

Rob Rowe

Day Thirty One – Jazz Fest Day Three

Day Thirty One – Day Three Jazz Fest
Blues Idiom – Jelly, Jelly Roll is a dessert made of sponge cake that has been spread with jam (or jam and cream) and rolled up into a log. Jelly Roll is also one of many evocotive culinary euphanisms for female genitalia heard in the blues. Men sing about wanting to taste a good jelly roll, while Bessie Smith bragged ‘ Nobody in town can bake a sweet jelly roll like mine.’

We made Iggy’s just as the shuttle was about to leave. I must correct the last few blogs in that Mark is really named Mike. Anyway Mike was telling his stories on the drive over. He used to live on the Point (Algiers) and lived in an old Insane Asylum that had been converted to apartments. He also worked at a bar known localy as the ‘murder room.’ He said that before you could enter the bar you had to prove that you has a current will!
This mornings breakfast at Jazz Fest for me was duck and shrimp pasta. May have to send home for an emergency delivery of gout tablets. As we were walking to the entry gates Kate got stopped and was asked if she could have her tattoos photographed. She was happy to do so but forgot to ask for the mandotory $1 for a photo.

The Iggy’s crew are setting up shop at the Gentilly stage today for the headlining last act of Lady Ga Ga and Tony Bennett. We found them just in time to settle in for Jon Cleary and the Abosolute Monster Gentleman. We were offered everything from cocunut shots, beer and a crownie. Kate said she didn’t drink crownies as she did not like beer. Well here, we learned that  a crownie is a shot of whisky from a small bottle. Oh and that funny weed smell is around again.

I liked  the Jon Cleary quote that he attributed to Bonnie Raitt. She said to him after Hurricane Katrina. ‘New Orleans music is the greatest gift America gave the world.’

Next off we went back to Acura for Cowboy Mouth. 90’s punk rock and I dig the band.

We caught a couple of songs from Angelique Kidjo on the Congo Square stage. Wendy likes her African driven tunes but we were disappointed as she was talking and dancing with the crowd more than singing.

The girls want to go back to Gentilly for Allen Toussaint and I want to hear to the small Langiappe stage to catch the Deslondes. Then the girls are off to see Pitbull and me to see Delbert McClinton. We will meet after those performances in front of the Gospel Tent to make our way home.
I got myself a beer and found a seat under cover for the Deslondes. I saw the band last year and was taken by them. They sort of channel the ghost of Woody Guthrie. Brian Wise wandered in and I had a spare seat next to me. Brian is going to interview the band member Sam Dorres after their set. I said to Brian that Iwould love to see them tour Australia. He told me that they may well be doing that shortly. Hope so and if they do you readers must see them perform. I was hoping their much anticpated new C.D. would be available but las no. Idid howver buy my first 45 single since the closure of Brash’s in Melbourne.

One of my must sees I had marked down was Delbert McClinton in the Blues Tent. I also caught up with Gary, a real nice guy from Maine that I have seen every year here in the Blues tent. I was glad I got to see Delbert and can cross that artist off my wish list.

We walked around to the shuttle pick-up and went back to Iggy’s for a beer. I am now the proud owner of an Iggy’s bar tshirt.

Rob Rowe

Day Twenty Nine – Day One Jazz Fest

Jazz Fest – Day One
Blues Idiom – Honey Dripper – is a female lover … or someone who makes the honey drip

We are at Iggy’s bar at 10:30 to join the locals on their small shuttle bus for the ride over to Jazz Fest. We three are the only ones not to have some type of alcoholic beverage in hand. Mark, who we met on the ride back from last week’s crawfish boil is a short guy. He rode home in the tunk from the ‘boil.’ Today he is sitting on the floor of the van as all the seats are taken. Pat calls him ‘drunk Mark.’ Had to laugh when he said ‘how come ya’ll in my bedroom.’

We got dropped off near an entrance and Kate has been given the job of remembering the spot as this will also be our pick up point. Just before 11 and the line is long but it does not take much time to get in. The Iggy’s crew head for the Blues tent to see Ernie Vince. After Ernie’s set they will then head to the Acura stage to set up for the day. Acura is the largest outdoor stage and it is where the headliners play. We will meet up with them later. They have (like a lot 0f people) a flag pole with their unique  Iggy’s flag attached. It is a way to find your friends in the large crowds.
I have decided to show the girls around the site (fairgrounds and horse track)so as they have some idea of where they are if we get separated.

Kate has had her first real gospel experience. Some old school testifying gospel music. She may not have been saved but she liked it a lot.

First off we called into the WWOZ hospitality tent for fresh fruit salad and a cold drink. Kate is very impressed with the amount of strawberries on offer. We found a table with just one guy sitting there. Blow me down when we got talking, he lives at Yarraville West! He asked me for my days recommendations and said he will start coming to some WOW gigs.
We caught a display of Native American dancing and then made our way to the Fais Do Do stage. This is where Carol and Stew set up shop for the day. It is Stew’s birthday and he already has some one dollar notes pinned to his shirt. That is the custom down here for a birthday.

We headed into the Blues Tent as I wanted to catch Jonathon ‘Boogie’ Long. Got there just as the Larry Garner band started their last song. Wish I had seen all of his set as he is  real good. Jonathon is a real fast and impressive axeman who is normally a side-man in  a number of local bands. He has just started up his own band and is singing as well. Lasted about three songs and then back to Fais Do Do for Paul Sanchez followed by Geno Delafose and his band ‘French Rockin Boogie’ The first beer of the day goes down well. Although I did have an issue with having no photo i.d. They had to call over a supervisor before I could get a cold one. He looked at me and said ‘if your arse is under 21 then I will kiss it.’ I got my beer.

The girls are going back to the blues tent for Kenny Neal (one of Wendy’s boy friends) and I headed to the Acura stage to try and find the Iggy’s gang and listen to the Tedeshi Trucks band. First off I needed another Coors. The guy behind the jump said, ‘were you at last week’s crawfish boil?’ Hmm I am getting recognised around town. I found the gang and was offered a seat and a beer. They always set up about half way back and close to a bank of speakers with a good view of one of severa huge screens. Guess these guys having being doing this for decades and they know where to go. The Acura Stage can be daunting with a big crowd and this is a real fine spot. The band were awesome. The weather if starting to close in and I got an idea that rain was coming when the Iggy’s crew started to pull out umbrellas
I decided to head to the shelter of the blues tent and found the girls front row (so proud of them) with a seat also for me. Caught the last few songs and got a photo taken with Kenny Neal.

I was real keen to see Jimmy Vaughan and his band do their thing. We did have a stage announcement that there was some real bad weather bearing down and that we should make sure we stayed safe. Jimmy was kicking arse and he launched into his brother’s Stevie Ray’s ‘Texas flood’ just as the heavens opened up. The rain is something that can be handled but the lightening is a another thing, not just for the musicians but also the punters out in the weather. Many of then with long flag poles. Another stage announcement came over ‘this is very dangerous weather, seek shelter.’ Just as Jimmy was about to start his next tune the stage announcer grabbed his mic and said, ‘ we gotta close all shows down, your safety is our priority.’ A few boos as Jimmy looked on very dejectedly.  Oh well nothing to do but get wet and head for our shuttle. We saw WOW regular Bernie as we left.

Big Dave was waiting at the pick up spot. The traffic is hectic but it only took about 15 minutes for the bus to arrive, although that was enough time to get a soaking. Back at Iggy’s for a quick drink then the walk home. The rain has let up but more storms predicted for tomorrow.

Rob Rowe

Day Twenty Eight – Jazz Fest Eve

Day Twenty Seven – Jazz Fest Eve

Blues Idiom – Hambone – In blues songs a hambone is typically a euphemism for a penis although some female blues singers have used it to refer to their own genitals. In ‘Southern Woman’s Blues’ Ida Cox announced that she’d had it with northern men.

‘I’m goin back south where I can get my hambone boiled,
These northern men about to let my poor hambone spoil.’

Breakfast is getting later and later. We did not eat until 12:15 at the Magnolia Grill. I stuck with my favourite, the seafood omelet. Kate is getting adventurous as she has ordered a blackened chicken sandwich. Jazz Fest is starting tomorrow and we are getting excited. Let’s hope the weather holds as the prediction is for thunder storms. Brian Wise has made contact and he has very kindly invited us to the welcome dinner for his tour party starting at 6:30 at the Maison (hotel) Dupuy.

Went down to ‘wicked orleans’ for a t shirt run and came back with 4 new t shirts to add to the collection back home.

We hit the Louisiana Music Factory at 3 o’clock to catch two in store performances. Jimmy Carpenter and his band played some tunes off his latest album ‘walk away’ and then Johnny Sansone did the same for his just released album, ‘lady on the levee.’ It was a great way to fill in the afternoon. How civilized is New Orleans, awesome music shop with a live band playing and you can have a beer as well. I now have two new signed c.d.’s. Jimmy Carpenter spotted me before I even saw him and came over to say hello.

We caught up with the Brian Wise’s ‘off the record’ tour for their welcome dinner at the Maison Dupuy. Great food as always with the oyster shooters a stand out. There is a large number of newbies on the tour as well as some regular WOW faces. A few beers and a full stomach then back to the apartment for a reasonably early night. Jazz Fest tomorrow and we need to be rested for what will be a long day. Let’s hope the weather holds but it is not looking good.

Rob Rowe

Day Twenty Seven – Lafayette Square

Day Twenty Seven – Lafayette Square

Blues Idiom – Gutbucket – On plantations down south during slavery, the hogs were slaughtered in December. The ham and chops went to the main house and the hog guts, ears and feet and other leftovers were given to the slaves. The gut bucket was the bucket the slaves took to the slaughterhouse to collect the hog parts. Slaves improvised dishes with the kitchen cast offs, which became ‘soul food,’ such as chitlins, ham hocks and cracklins. Gutbucket also referred to the bucket placed underneath whisky barrels in dive bars to catch any leaking liquor. Soon anything low was called Gutbucket i.e. gutbucket blues.

Another late morning. Lunch/Breakfast at the I Hop diner on Canal Street. Open 24 hours but clean and good food. Kate has seen (unlike most menus we look at) many dishes she can eat. I had a turkey melt sandwich which came with the biggest fried onion rings I have every seen.

We crossed over Canal street and walked for 10 minutes or so to get to the World War Two Museum I have visited the museum before. There is a new building to explore. The girls have tickets and I am just going to laze about. I have a copy of the latest Off Beat Magazine (Jazz Fest Bible) and I need to research and lock in some artists as ‘must sees.’ Included in the tickets for entry to the sprawling museum is a couple of interactive movies. We have planned to meet up at 4:30 and then walk across the street to have a look at the much smaller Confederate War Museum. When we did rendezvous Wendy said that they have hardly scratched the surface of what is on view. She asked at the ticket counter if they could come back tomorrow. All good as the tickets are good for one week.

My main aim was to be up and about for the free music at Lafayette Square. Every Wednesday throughout spring there is a two band show from 5PM to 8PM. New Orleans finest are showcased to a mainly local audience. The two bands tonight are Sweet Crude followed by Flow Tribe. Kate was surprised by how young the first band where and she really enjoyed the band. Stew is sending out free beer to me from the artist area. A recognised a few faces from previous years. The guy  with the bright green handle bar moustache stands out as usual. It really is a great park for live music. Food is available and everyone is out for a good time. Flow Tribe are sensational, a mix of New Orleans R’n’B, reggae and hip-hop. They are real energetic as well as being excellent musicians. I got talking to a local (Cheryl) who is the step mother of one of the band members from Sweet Crude. She has had a few to drink and is very talkative. She spotted Kate’s ‘crikey’ tattoo and got into a conversation with Kate on how much she loved the late Steve Irwin. Kate told her about her course she completed at R.M.I.T and Cheryl has offered to get her a job with Sweet Crude. Kate has now two job offers here in New Orleans, stripper and sound engineer! While Flow Tribe are doing their thing a guy left of stage has set up an artists easel and is painting the band in action. The end result is amazing.

As we left the park after the music has finished we were offered some free pizza from one of the stalls.

We headed over to the casino for a few drinks and had no luck with the slots. Walked back down Bourbon so as Kate could witness the street later at night. We picked up a couple of pieces of pie at the local corner market for a late night snack. Our friend Cheryl McEvoy is back in the apartment next door and we spent some time catching up.

Rob Rowe

Day Twenty Six – On The Bayou

Day Twenty Six – Down On The Bayou

Blues Idiom – Gris-Gris is a French adaptation of the Sengalese word ‘grigri. Used as a noun, ‘grigri’ means charm or amulet. The verb, ‘grigri’ means to bewitch. Simply put a Gris Gris is an amulet or charm used to protect the wearer from curses. It may also be used to cast a curse.

We have a big day ahead of us. Yesterday we booked tickets for a ‘Cajun Encounter Tour.’ This will be my third visit to the swamps, Wendy’s second and of course Kate’s first. I have a feeling that this trip is what Kate has been looking forward to the most.

As usual I am thirty minutes early for our pick-up on Decatur Street. While the girls go in search of some bottled water I went over to (on the suggestion of the tour operator) to a little funky Creperie on Dumaine Street called De Ville. I ordered a cafe au lait & the ‘Lucy.’ A sweet crepe of fresh strawberries, powdered sugar and ameretto custard. Real tasty. Strawberry season is now in full swing down here in Louisiana.

The driver over to West Pearl River takes us around 35 minutes. The driver is very knowledgable and points out many interesting facts. We crossed Lake Pontchatrain and noted that this is a new causeway. The old causeway was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. This causeway has three lanes plus two emergency stopping lanes. If the city every needs to be evacuated again then there will be 5 lanes plus another five lanes inwards that will be used to escape. When the Gulf of Mexico storm surge pushed back the lake was some 18 feet higher than the norm. An unbelievable amount of water.

Captain Troy is our tour guide. I always learn something new on this tour. We all had to introduce ourselves and where we were from. Behind us is a guy from Sydney and his mate from Brunswick. Turtles up resting on logs. Captain Troy said there are 25 different species of turtle around here. The river itself turns from fresh water to brackish which in turn has an influence on the type of tree and plant life. Also to note is that swamps are fresh water and marsh is brackish. Bayou are in turn inlets off the river system. The alligators don’t mind either type of water. The weather is perfect, warm but not oppressive For every mile and a half of river there is one dominate male alligator with anywhere between 10 to 35 females. The dominant male will defend his territory. It is not long before we have sight of the reptiles Kate has came to see. Captain Troy coaxed a couple over by skipping some marshmallows close by. The alligators mistake them for turtle eggs. The gut of the alligator is so acidic that the sugar of the marshmallow has no detrimental effect. It was cool watching the smaller alligator leap out of the water to take a piece of hot dog off a stick.

We headed back up river (after Katrina the river was 25 feet higher) to a nature reserve ‘Honey Island Swamp.’ Many more ‘gators lazing on logs, a snake and bird life. The Cypress tree is much favoured for building in Louisiana. Termites are a big problem in this humid climate however they cannot harm the Cyprus. The wood is so enduring that it can lay under water for three hundred years and still by usable. Trees cannot be cut down here as they are protected. One tree we pull up alongside is anywhere from 800 to 1000 years old.
We pulled into the swamp and just took in it’s beauty. No mosquitoes to worry about as they can only breed in still water and this river and swamp is tidal. Next we heard the grunting of wild boars. I had heard there loud grunts on previous trips but never seen any. We were literally surrounded by as may as 30 wild pigs of all ages. They are not shy and have also taken a liking to marshmallows. In fact one huge boar had it’s feet up on the boats railing.

Ater we got back to town we were all a little hungry. We don’t want a big feed (3P.M.) as we are going out to dinner tonight with Pat. We called into the French Marker for a small snack.

I have always wanted to go to a seafood restaurant called Drago’s. It is reputed to have the best oysters in town. The restaurant is over in Metarie and without a car is not easy to get to. We were talking with Gentilly Jnr and Pat last Friday and I mentioned Drago’s. Pat has been there many times and she very kindly offered us a lift there after she finished her day’s work.
We were not disappointed with the charred grilled oysters. We shared two dozen (don’t include Kate here) and then followed up with a lobster cheesy mac, a real tasty dish of squid and a side of Collard Greens (like Kale). I had to get Wendy to taste the Collard for the first time. Very strong taste that you need to get used to. Don’t think she will give them another go. Kate had a chicken parma (again) Another great day and night in New Orleans. Our thanks once again to the lovely Pat for going out of her way to make our trip even more special.

Rob Rowe

Day Twenty Five – Audobon Aquarium

Day Twenty Five – Audobon Aquarium

Blues Idiom – Gig – Musicians use ‘gig’ to refer to a performance for which they expect to get paid – the question is how much? Musicians picked up ‘gig’ from the illegal lottery business, which is where they also got axe and bag. The lottery terminology in turn, was borrowed from horse racing. The three number combo (the most popular play) was called a ‘gig.’

Bugger, my cold has come back. The weather is looking fine.

Around noon we took a walk down to the Aquarium. We already have our tickets which came as a discounted double with the entry to Audobon Zoo. The stroll down the river walk on the Mississippi is one I  always enjoy especially on a fine (read not to hot and humid) day.
I have been to the Aquarium before and noticed that a lot of work has been done with the displays. It really is a fine Aquarium to visit.

Lunch was a seafood gumbo with hot sauce. I have been eating a lot of seafood (shell-fish) over the last few days and most remember to pump in some gout pills when I get back to the apartment. Just got to figure out the ration of medicine to the number of crawfish eaten?

The Louisiana Music Factory is well known for it’s vast collection of music. There is a second music shop on Decatur St called Peaches. Whilst the price of a c.d. is a little dearer I must say that I find the service more friendly. I picked up a six c.d. box set and booklet titled ‘The History of New Orleans Rhythm & Blues 1955-1962.’

Our mission was then to find me some new light pants. Wearing heavy jeans to Jazz Fest when it is hot and steamy is not a good idea. I did bring over one pair of my old hemp pants but they have had a blow out in the rear. Nothing to do with the food Ihave eaten to date I should add, just that I have been wearing them for three years. We hunted down the perfect pants but unfortunately they only had one pair in my size ( and no I am not telling you my size.)

Back at the apartment and it is real pleasant sitting out on the balcony, late afternoon and into dusk. William and Mickey have been out for dinner at Frank’s (our restaurant last night.) With it being Monday it is traditional ‘red beans and rice.’ We sat and chatted with William and Mickey for a good while and caught up on all the gossip for our block of Bourbon Street. People walking by say hello more often than not. I took a quick walk to Verti Mart for a dinner of meat loaf, mashed potato and baked beans. Only one serve is required to feed Wendy and I. Thankfully the meat loaf tasted a lot better than it looked.

Rob Rowe

Day Twenty Four – Quiet One

Day Twenty Four – Quiet One

Blues Idiom – Dust My Broom – Sweeping the house after dark is still considered impolite in some African American families. The tradition comes from the West African belief that one should be careful not to accidently sweep out of the house any benevolent gods or ancestral spirits who have come in for the night to watch over a sleeping family and protect it from spirits. On the other hand, when you have evil spirits in the house sweeping them out can be very effective. According to hoodoo riddance rituals, dusting one’s broom first with magic powder will sweep a house free of unwanted super natural (and embodied!) house guests.

The girls slept in late. When they were up and about they decided to have a shopping day. Me I am going to stay in doors and catch up on some rest and the blog. I would not have let Wendy out by herself but I am confident that Kate will be able to keep them from getting lost. New Orleans weather has finally arrived. Clear blue sky, no rain and temperature on the rise.
Our neighbours have given us a heap of food, left over from their daughter’s wedding, which was nice of them.

I headed out for a very late breakfast at Envies. Roast beef panini and potato salad washed down with an iced mocha.

Pretty much for the rest of the day I just lazed about.

The girls were back around 5 and to my surprise they were not over burdened with shopping bags. Kate’s very good friend and fellow bar manager at the R.S.L. Helen, has a nice surprise coming.

Kate found a restaurant down on Decatur. Frank’s Italian which has a chicken parma on the menu. Frank’s is a second generation family business and although I have never eaten there it has a good reputation. We were shown to a second balcony dining area that afforded us a great view of Decatur’s passing foot and vehicle traffic. Very pleasant it was with a nice breeze and the music of a jazz band reaching our ears. Kate’s parma hit the spot, a huge chicken breast smothered in marinara (not seafood) sauce and nestled on a bed of angel hair pasta. I was not overly hungry and had the crab and corn bisque. Of course I did have a bit of room for a delicious desert of home-made cannoli

Rob Rowe

Day Twenty Three- Crawfish Boil

Day Twenty Three – Crawfish Boil

Blues Idiom – Dig – To dig something is to ‘get’ it. Linguist David Dalby traced this usage of ‘dig’ to the Wolof word deg of degu, which means ‘to understand, to call attention too, or to appreciate.

I was up at 10, a little dusty to say the least. The girls are still sleeping when I slipped out to Envy’s for a late breakfast. The line at Envy’s was to long so I scooted around to the Magnolia Grill. I ordered the seafood omelette (crawfish and shrimp), hash browns and hot sauce. Mental note made to come back as the omelette is delectable.

We have arranged to go back to Iggy’s at 3 for a lift to the crawfish boil. I am dogged tired but this is too good an opportunity to let go. A true neighbourhood bar crawfish boil. We got to the bar just after 3 and Big Dave came over to say hello. He even remembered our names. I went for a piss and walked down the length of the bar counter to the restroom. There is maybe 9 locals propt at the bar and all of them said ‘how are you doin.’ I said to Big Dave, ‘we can walk to the bar if you have a full car.’ ‘No,’ he replied ‘it much to far to walk and you would also have to walk through some areas that you may not want to.’

We left at 4 o’clock for the drive down. Kate is amazed that my  drink is poured it to a take out cup as is Big Dave so we can still enjoy a drink for the drive. Only in New Orleans do you drive with one hand on the wheel and one hand holding your beer. Big Dave is right about some of the areas we drove through as they did look a little rough. He pulled off the main road for a look at Fats Domino’s home.

We arrived at Mark’s bar in Saint Bernard’s Parish. The bar is called Perino’s. We had a look at the boil in progress. Kate was gobsmacked when she saw a huge sack of live crawfish which will be part of the second of three boils. Kate remarked that it is lucky that Cara is not with us. Into the mixture is also thrown potato and corn cobs. We met Mark and although he has lived in New Orleans for 20 years there is no mistaking his accent. He was rapt when we gave him a tube of vegemite. We met some of the locals are all were very welcoming. Beer in hand and it wasn’t long before a four foot by two foot metal table was covered with crawfish ready for eating. We were given our own  very large tray, piled high with crawfish and potato, corn and sausage a mountain of napkins and told to go for it. Ed came over. He is mid sixty with a long grey ponytail and he gave us lessons in ‘suckin de head and eating the tail.’ Ed, no matter how he tried, could not get Kate to give them a try. Oh so good they were, spicy and hot. At one stage I had to get Kate to clean my glasses as I was spraying crawfish juices everywhere. Oh I forgot to tell you this was a free crawfish boil. Also on offer was a huge pot of Jambalaya. The juke box was rockin’ and the beer was cold.

Wendy has been outside at the boil and has come back with a great oyster recipe as well as how to do the boil. We could do it at home and just substitute prawns. The T.V. has been showing the first Pelicans playoff game and although they got beat they did come back from a 24 point deficit to get within 5 points.

Around 6:30 Big Dave offered us a ride back to Iggy’s. His car holds five people but we had six onboard. He drives a smallish hatch back and there is a passenger (Mike) in the trunk. What a hoot the trip back was, singing and joke telling. We had a drink at Iggy’s as it would have been rude to just leave. Mike came over and chatted and gave us a few more ideas on where to grab some good food.

Kate is hungry so we called into Buffa’s (one of Mike’s suggestions)on Esplanade for a bite to eat. The back room as an acoustic guitarist and trumpet player in session. I just ordered a small bowl of red beans and rice with a side of sausage. Kate ordered the chicken breast sandwich but was surprised on how big her meal was once it came out.
We walked back (yes in the rain) to out apartment

What  a great day with locals who was again showed us that Southern hospitality.

Rob Rowe

Day Twenty Two – Party Time

Day Twenty Two – As Kermit Ruffins Says ‘we partying’

Blues Idiom: Coffee Grinding – is a metaphor for sexual intercourse. In ‘Coffee Grinding Blues’, Lucille Bogan sang, ‘Ain’t nobody in town can grind a coffee like mine.’

Stew and Carol are picking us up at 11 for a tour of the 9th. Ward so as Kate can get an idea of the destruction that occurred nearly 10 years ago (Hurricane Katrina.) It is going to be a big day and night as we also have plans to met up with Gentilly Jnr and Pat for some bar hopping. The rain has cleared however last night it bucketed down. I was sitting out on the porch waiting for Carol and Stew when a couple stopped and asked for directions. They were from Canberra!

We drove through the lower ninth ward where there is still many vacant and overgrown blocks where homes once stood. Stairways to nowhere still abound. Stew likes to bring visitors down so he can see first hand how the rebirth of the 9th Ward is tracking. We stopped at an area that has photographs of the flooded ninth ward. Here Kate can get a true perspective of the flooding. Where we are now standing there was 20 feet of water. Stew is very conscious of not stopping and staring as people live here, this is still their home and they are not zoo exhibits.
We had lunch at Mona’s on Frenchman. Lebanese food and Kate can eat lamb which is not a New Orleans staple food .

Next we went down West End Boulevard an area of wealth, to the shores of Lake Pontchartrain . After Katrina the wide neutral ground ( wide grassed middle section of road)of the boulevard was used to dump housing rubble. Mile after mile of rubble three stories high. The lake stretches way past the horizon. The causeway (low lying bridge) goes on for 24 miles. We are looking at the rebuilt Lighthouse. Very picturesque. We crossed the 17th Street Canal which was breached during the storm. Stew has an ariel photo showing the breached side of the canal under water to rooftops while on the other side is a guy mowing his lawn with cigar in  mouth. Stew told us that he came down here after the water had subsided and he saw a car resting on the second story verandah of one house. We then drove over to a wide grassy verge of the Mississippi know as the Fly. College students throwing frisbees and footballs and just chilling out. No tourists here. It was nice to just relax and watch the Mississippi flow by. When I say flow that is at 15 knots. Wendy gave a jump as she has stood on an ants nest and they can be nasty bites.

We had a rest at Stew and Carols lovely home and I now has some new memorabilia and a couple of signed posters to add to my own collection.

At 5:30 we called into McAllisters Deli a franchisee that specialises in spuds and toppings. I am still full from lunch but that did not stop me ordering the chilli spud – chilli, cheddar jack and jalapeno I eat the lot. A drive then down to Cafe Du Mond for a beignet. A walk down on the river walk. The Mississippi sure looks pretty as dusk. It is now getting close to 8, the time we are to meet up with Gentilly Jnr and Pat at local neighbour hood bar, Iggy’s.
Stew very kindly drove us to the Marìgny district where Iggy’s is located. I know the bar well as whenever I have been in New Orleans it is our meeting place. There is a lot of road works going on. The streets can be tricky as most are one way and what makes it even more  confusing is that we drove down the one way Bourbon St and then crossed Esplanade (end of French Quarter) to continue down Bourbon but on this side of the street the one way is the other way (if that makes sense.) Kate had to use her app to help a New Orleanien local negotiate the streets.

Gentilly Jnr and Pat were already at the bar and we said our hellos and introduced them to Stew and Carol. Carol has a big day tomorrow and has to be up early so they decided to call it a night. We settled in for a big night. The small bar is jumping and the juke box is blasting. The owner of the bar (Big Dave) is good friends with Gentilly Jnr and Pat and we get introduced to Big Dave. Big Dave has had a few and he is in mighty fine form. He has a good friend by the name of Mark Jackson who is an expat Aussie. Mark has lived in New Orleans for 20 years and has just recently become a U.S. citizen. Mark is also good mates with Gentilly Jnr. Big Dave asked ‘is Wodonga a real place?’ ‘Mark keeps telling me he grew up in Wodonga, and he said it was Aboriginal for boring place.’ I assured him that Wodonga was indeed a place but I was not so sure of the name meaning. We had a ball at Iggy’s. Big Dave has invited us to a legit crawfish boil tomorrow at Mark’s bar. He also told us that we can take advantage of the shuttle bus that leaves the bar for Jazz Fest each morning as well as using the shuttle to get back at night. How good is that.

We dropped Kate off at midnight. These youngins don’t know how to party and we went on to Johnny White’s bar in the Quarter. I remembered that the barman at this time of night was Keith. Gentilly told me that Keith had moved to Honolulu after Mardi Gras and the new barman’s name is Evil Bob. Yep that was his name and he is a very big man but oh so friendly. Wendy and Pat are drinking a shot of cinnamon whisky and Bob and I stick to the amber. What a fantastic fun night.

We decided to call it a night at 2A.M. Our friends Stew and Carol, Gentilly Jnr and Pat have been so generous and kind to us once again. Southern people just love to show off the city and make you feel so welcome. I just hope that one day we can reciprocate their kindness if they come to Melbourne.
Mr Smith before I sign off I think I have found you the perfect cocktail. It covers the 3 major food groups.

Twist & Shout:
2 oz Guinness Draught
1 oz Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum
.05 oz Dark Creme de Cacao
.05 oz chocolate syrup
.05 oz Monin Salted Caramel Syrup
2 scoops vanilla ice cream
Blend all the ingredients together and garnish with whipped cream, caramel syrup, chocolate syrup and a spoonful of extra-crispy bacon crumbles.

Rob Rowe