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

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