Day Thirty Four – Rock ‘n’ Bowl

Blues Idiom – Shimmy is a dance that was popular in the Cotton Club of Harlem in the 1920’s although it was performed in Juke Joints as early as the mid-to-late 1800’s. It was named after the silky chemises that women often wore out in the evenings.

We are up early (early for New Orleans) at 8:30 for the walk down to the Mississippi to watch the Navy ships depart. Today marks the end of Fleet Week here in the U.S. Kate has decided to stay in bed as she is not feeling well. It is a lovely morning morning, warm, no clouds with the hint of a breeze.
The U.S. ship Colorado is due out of port at 9:30. Already the ship is lined with crew and deck hands. In the distance we can see another ship has left it’s mooring and is steaming towards us. It turns out it was a Canadian vessel. Two gigantic tugs are heading our way with a harbour patrol gun ship overseeing proceedings. It was a sight to see as the tugs worked their magic in pushing and pulling the Colorado out into the fifteen knot current of the mighty Mississippi.

We met up with Pat at the local (Esplanade) legendary hamburger joint ‘Port of Call’ for lunch. Every year I have come to New Orleans I had wanted to grab a burger here. Every year there has been a line waiting to get in. That’s what happens when you get a goof review in Lonely Planet. Today we have arranged to get to the Port of Call at 11:30. Kate is still feeling ill so it is just the three of us. Pat has eaten here many a time and it was a no brainer to order the same meal as she did. A cheese burger with a side of a jacket potato. I was glad I finally made it to the Port of Call the food was great. We didn’t completely abandon Kate as we took back a jacket potato for her.

Back at the apartment and our landlord William Wigins invited me for a ‘pint’ at his local haunt the gay bar known as Lafayette in Exile. William is a real nice gentleman and I have no problems with the gay bar thingy. As we walked past one of our neighbours I remarked that he seemed a nice guy as he always said hello and had time for a chat. William told me he was a grave robber who spent two years in the infamous Angola prison. Seems he comes from a rich creole family and he deals in relics. Trouble is he was caught by the police rifling old graves. Never know who your neighbours are in New Orleans!

Ian and Jan are coming into town this afternoon and we went over to the Maison Dupuy to see if they had arrived. They have not hit town yet but we did run into Brian Wise and it was good to have a chat and drink and to swap notes of what we have been up to. In fact after a few beers with William early in the arvo and now a few more I am gearing up for a big one. I am not sure what we were chatting about but Brian came up with a great quote that I just had to copy down. ‘In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king.’

Headed down to Lafayette Park for the Wednesday free music series. Marcia Ball is the headliner. Meet up with Stew and Carol . Stew has a couple of things for me. The November 2013 Offbeat Magazine has a featured article about Glen David Andrews titled ‘Get Behind Me’, how he fought his demons and won. The cover has a cool photo of Glen holding back a couple of vampires and he has signed the cover. The other collectible item is a first edition stamped envelope (Jimi Hendrix stamp.) The envelope celebrates the legendary New Orleans funk band the Meters. All four of the band have signed next to their portrait.

Stew has let us into the artist area and Wendy was able to get some good shots of Marcia while I availed myself to free beer. Wish Kate was with us but she is still ill. What bad parents we are leaving her at home. We hung around to 7:30 and then caught a cab to the Rock ‘n’ Bowl.
Wendy has never been to the ‘bowl.’ It is what it says. A ten lane bowling alley with a stage area for bands. Tonight is swing night and we have come over to see the Creole String Beans plus main act Roddie Romero & the Hub City Allstars. The crowd are dancing from the outset. We also caught up with Ross and Anika. Snack of Boudin Balls and hot mayo. Real good.

We did not stop until the end of the Roddie Romero set as Jazz Fest starts again tomorrow and we have four days of music, heat and crowds ahead of us. When we got home Wendy was in a very talkative mood and Kate said the next morning that she was well over the limit (and that’s saying something for New Orleans.)

Rob Rowe

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