Day Twenty Two

Day 22 – April 27

La voodoo veau
She’ll put a spell on you

La voodoo veau
She’ll put a spell on you

La voodoo veau
She’s the witch-queen oh
Of New Orleans, of New Orleans

I’m gonna tell you a story
Strange as it now seems
Of zombie voodoo gris
And the witch-queen of New Orleans – Redbone – witch Queen of New Orleans

San Francisco Plantation

We are off on another adventure today as Stew and Carol are picking us up around 10 for the 45 minute drive over to the San Francisco Sugar Plantation. Kate had wanted to see a Plantation during this visit. I have been twice before to the Laura Planation and also to Oak Alley. It will be good to see a different one this time.
We headed down Highway 61 and it was not long before the heavens opened and it rained just as heavy as only New Orleans can.
We got to the Plantation around 1 and off we went for the tour. San Francisco is a beautiful building with a lot of history to go with it. Our tour guide was a little strange. It seemed liked she had learned here spiel by rote and she rattled off information at a rate of knots without taking a breath. No time for questions as she turned and walked to the next room and we (the tourists) assumed that was the signal to follow. Still it was most enjoyable glimpsing the life of a Plantation Owner and his extended family and the poor Slaves whose toil made the owners rich. Check out the photos of this magnificent building here
None of us had eaten and it was close to 3 o’clock. We pulled into a Popeye’s for a big old bucket of chicken, red beans and rice, Cajun fries and biscuits (biscuits could be described as a sort of scone.) I know we also had Popeye’s Chicken yesterday but no matter as it is so superior to KFC you could eat it every day.
We got back to the apartment around 5 and immediately went down to Walmart’s for some supplies. The music at Lafayette Square is on tonight and I tossed up going. Tomorrow is the start of the second week of Jazz Fest so I decided to take it easy instead. We watched the first double episode of Season One of NCIS New Orleans. We now where the NCIS headquarters is located on St. Anne Street in the Quarter and will go and take a picture for Cara. Kate yelled out when she saw a couple of the characters having lunch in one scene at Mother’s. She recognised the restaurant from our own visit last week.
Also don’t forget if you go to Wendy’s Facebook page you can have a look at some of the excellent photos she has been taking.

Day Twenty-One

Day 21 – April 26

This time I’m walkin’ to New Orleans
I’m walkin’ to New Orleans
I’m gonna need two pair-a shoes
When I get through walkin’ these blues
When I get back to New Orleans – Walkin’ To New Orleans – Fats Domino

Chinese Lanterns

Talking to one of the local neighbours while waiting for the girls. I was saying that it must be tough during the summer months with such high humidity. He agreed, but also added, ‘Ya gotta pay the price, for living in paradise.’
We ran into Ken and Lisa on our way down to breakfast this morning and caught up with what they have been up to.
We tried another new diner for breakfast, the Cafe Fleur De Lis. Good food and my coffee came in a cup the size of a soup bowl. No refills needed this morning. Oh, I also spotted a couple of new Bloody Mary’s for Mr. Smith. The Shrimp Bloody Mary and the fresh Green Tomato Bloody Mary.

Thinking of Cara back home as our washing machine broke down as soon as we left for the trip.

We had a look at the nearby ‘Pepper Palace’ and purchased a heap of rubs and spices plus a rather nifty hamburger maker thingy.

Pat has arranged to pick us up at 6 as we have tickets to go and see the Chinese Lantern display up at City Park. Firstly though Pat has picked up supplies so as we can have a picnic. Popeye’s Chicken, Cold Slaw, Biscuits and Cheesecakes with Chardonnay for Wendy and for me a large bottle of Abita’s Purple Haze. Vey civilised indeed. Pat is so organised having also bought along a table and chairs. I wonder what could possibly be better than a real nice picnic in New Orleans with Wendy, Kate and Pat. The only other thing would be if Cara, Melanie and Zac was with us. Cara will travel in 2018 when she reaches 21 (remember ya’ll, gotta be 21 to drink in the City of anything goes.)

The Chinese Lanterns were spectacular. Another highlight of the trip to date. The exhibition tours the world constantly and is in New Orleans for the month of April. If ever you get a chance to attend then jump at it. Check out the details here

Pat droves us back home after a very pleasant evening. We will be thinking of Pat tomorrow morning as she is going in for some surgery on her foot. We hope it all goes well and that the accompanying pain killers are of the highest quality. Also will be thinking of Pat’s other half, Gentilly Jnr. As he has to be up at 5 in the morning to take Pat to hospital. Seeing as Gentilly normally goes to bed at 4:30 A.M. he ain’t gunna have much sleep!

Day Twenty

Day 20 – April 25

Goin’ back home, fe nan e’
To the land of the beautiful queen
Goin back to home of my baby
Goin’ back to New Orleans

On the double, here comes the Neville Brothers!

Seeing na-na, my parin,
Couzine and my ma and pa
Want to plant my feet on Rampart Street
Be there for the Mardi Gras

Goin’ back home, fe nan e’
And never more will I roam
Goin get me fill of that etoufee
Cus New Orleans is my home – Goin’ Back to New Orleans – Dr John

NOLA Brewing Crawfish Festival

Breakfast today is at the greasy Clover Grill diner. When in N.O you need to visit the Clover at least once. Besides Kate likes the toasted chicken breast sandwich. The menu speaks for itself noting ‘If you are not served in five minutes, relax, it may be another five minutes. This is not New York. Also ‘Our chilli speaks for itself. Sooner or later.’

Got back to the apartment and sat out on the stoop with Mickey and caught up on all our block’s gossip.

Well we have got through 3 days of Jazz fest but are still up for some more music and partyin’. I booked tickets from home for the inaugural NOLA Brewing Co. Crawfish Festival The festival runs for three days from 3 P.M. to 11 P.M. each day. I have booked for the first day only and went for the V.I.P. pass which gets us seats plus three beers each and 3 pound of crawfish. A cunning plan you may say as the girls don’t drink beer! The music for the day (in order) will be Johnny Sansone, Colin Lake, Mike Zito and the Wheel and then the Honey Island Swamp band. How is that for a great day. Also for ye beer groupies back home, Terry, Phoebe, Rob, Ang, Ted Bear and Jo you can check put the brews here

Kate got us a Uber for 2:30 for the 20 minute drive over to the Irish Channel where the brewery is located. V.I.P pass collected and we are in. Very big complex. Two stage areas and four different bars and an outdoor setting. The warehouse stage has a seated balcony area where us VIPS are allowed. Great viewing area for Johnny Sansone. My first beer of the day was the ‘No Doze Off’, a blonde beer with orange, lemon and ginger. It is noted as being an easy drinking beer for a hot day. Johnny puts on a good set as usual and the day is off and running. I mentioned that this is the inaugural NOLA brewing Crawfish Fest but I am sure it will build into a must do between the two weekends of Jazz Fest.

We moved over to the next stage for the Colin Lake band. I went and got two serves of freshly boiled Crawfish which comes with a corn cob and whole potato. I got stuck into mine with gusto. They are pretty spicy and to be honest very fiddly for the amount of tail meat you get. I like them but Wendy gave up after ten minutes as she said it was not worth the effort. At one stage when I ripped the head off a Crawfish I sent juices flying all over Kate and she was not impressed. Any way I managed to eat the lot although it took me nearly the whole of Colin’s set to do so. I gave Kate’s Crawfish ticket to Johnny Sansone and he was appreciative.

We went back to the first stage and our seats. Mike Zito and the Wheel are up nest. Mighty fine effort for the band as they flew in from a European tour only last night. Mike’s band includes N.O. saxophonist Jimmy Carpenter who is one of the best in the business. I met Jimmy on my first N.O. trip and he hooked up with me on Facebook a few months back. Mike’s set was scintillating. Texas blues with a N.O. feel. Oh how I wish this band would tour downunder. I am trying a different brew, the Tea Birth which is a Rebirth Pale Ale – dry hopped with citrus hops and Earl Grey Tea. Not bad. Johnny Sansone got up to play the harp for a few songs. Sure was a lot of fun to catch Mike again. We hung around for a while and had a chat with Jimmy. I bought a copy of the Wheel’s new C.D which Mike signed and we got a group photo taken.

Back to the alternate stage for the Honey Island Swamp Band with accompanying ale being the Irish Chanel Stout (how am I going with the beer choices, Terry?) The music is great but the vocals are real bad. Where are Tony Bishop and Dave Padroth to sort this sound issue out. Took them ages but finally the vocals are acceptable.

Kate called us a Uber and we were home by nine. If I get over this way again I will make sure I go to this festival again.

Day Nineteen

Day 19 – April 24

On the front stoop
of my house
Watchin’ folks go by
Lazy Days
Chewin’ on ice
We all just waiting on July
And ‘OZ plays Irma
We all know what it means
Rag-a-tag-a rain
City so low
Summertime in New Orleans – Anders Osborne

Michael Jerome

Jazz Fest – Day 3

We get to Iggy’s earlier than normal as Mike has made Crawfish Monica and it is help yourself to as much as you want. The news has just come through that Jonny Lang who was due to close out the Blues Tent today has had to cancel due to personal reasons. The replacement act will be JOHN MAYALL. How awesome is that. I had pencilled in Jonny Lang as my close out for today but to get the chance to see JOHN MAYALL again will be a blast.

We are straight to the WWOZ hospitality tent for fresh fruit. I have eaten more fruit in the last three days than I have all year. Who said New Orleans was fattening.

We got to the Blues Tent half way through the opening act. Deak Harp is from Clarksdale Mississippi. Wish I had of got to the start of the set as he and his accompanying drummer are awesome. He sounds like he is straight from Red’s Juke Joint. Kate was pretty impressed. Standing ovation. The stage announcer summed it up when he said this was Deak’s first Jazz Fest but it surely will not be his last. I must try and get a C.D. I got to speak to Deak and I asked him if he knew Fiona Boyes as Fiona is a regular in Clarksdale. He said he knew her well

We settled in for Little Freddie King. Freddy is dressed to the nines as usual and I never tire of listening to his infectious grooves. As he sings ‘Ya gotta walk with Freddie, Ya gotta walk with the King’ and we all do.
Got me my first beer and it tasted so good that I get a feeling that today may be an imbibing day. Kate has been hinting to us both that we should go and get her some beignets and we have been ignoring those hints. Well she finally weakened herself and has gone out to buy her own beignets and I am pretty sure that they will not be shared.

Meet up with my friend Gary who I see every year in the Blues Tent.

We then went over to the Acura Stage to catch Better Than Ezra whom my friend Michael Jerome plays with. Remember yesterday I kept missing Michael to say hello. I think Kate thinks I may not really know him at all. Better Than Ezra recently released a 25 year anniversary disc. They are a local New Orleans alternative  rock band and are real popular in this part of the country. Great set. Even more so when they invited four young boys on stage to sing with them. The boys all come from the same Metairie school and they kicked arse as they sang, did a bit of rap and danced like seasoned professionals. These are four rock stars in the making for sure. One of the Iggy’s crew gave us all a home-made jello shot which got us in the mood (so to speak). I think Kate likes the band as they are more to her style.

There is a family standing next to us and the husband asks us if we are Australian. He then introduced us to his wife who is from Wantirna but has lived in N.O. for seventeen years. They have a one year old daughter who was born on Australia Day!

The girls are going to stay at the Acura for Voices of the Wetlands. I decided to try another stage. Not that Voices of the Wetlands are not worth seeing, far from it. I have decided that I need to try and see more bands that I have not seen before otherwise you may be missing out on a new band to add to your list.

I went over to Gentilly for Royal Teeth. A young band with lots of rhythm and enthusiasm. I hung in for a few songs. A young crowd that is in a dancing mood.

I then walked over to the Fais Do Do stage for the Grammy award winning BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet. The front of stage is pretty packed ,so I had to sit a fair way back, and as the band are not loud rockers they were a little hard to hear mainly due to a lot of bleed from the nearby Congo Stage. Still I found a shaded spot to sit and finish my margarita.

Had a look over the C.D. outlet and believe it or not I didn’t buy a thing. I did however weaken at the nearby book outlet and got a copy of Southern Cocktails. Look out for the next party at Muir Street. Grabbed me some crawfish bread and then headed over to WWOZ tent for a clean pee. If you have been to Jazz Fest you know what I mean. I held the door open for the next guy in line and he said ‘thanks mate’. Now there is a give away. He lives in Yarraville!

I nearly made a big mistake as I left WWOZ. I guy ran after me and had my diary in hand. That was lucky as if you recall in my previous writings I am a member of the CRAFT Club. I Can’t Remember A Fuckin Thing’. If I loose my diary I will have no way of doing the daily blog.

I went back to the Fais Do Do Stage to wait for the Taj Mahal Trio. The girls are going to meet up with me here before they then head over to the Acura Stage for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. I sit to the side of the stage and a young guy looks down at me and said, ‘How ya’ll doin old fella,’ OLD FELLA, do you mind, sir. He was a nice guy and he asked a lot of questions about Australia. The girls finally found me and listened to the start of Taj’s set before moving on. I stayed put. Just after the girls left, who do you think walked toward me but Michael Jerome (Better than Ezra and the Richard Thompson band.) He was real glad that we finally caught up and he hung around for half an hour and chatted. I told him that I think the girls really think that I have made up our friendship. He said. ‘I can fix that’, and he took a selfie of us and emailed it to me. I left Taj after he finished singing a favourite of mine, ‘Lovin In My Babies Arms.’

Met up with the girls at the Blues Tent for John Mayall. John was born 29.11.1933 making him 82 years of age.  John Mayall & the  Bluesbreakers had some of the up and coming great guitarists go though his band in the 60’s. Guitarists such as Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, Mark Almond, Walter Trout and Harvey Mandel cut their teeth in John’s band. We got seats in the third row. Guess who is playing guitar, no other than the legendary Walter Trout. John was magnificent.
Everyone in attendance was blowin’ away by John and his band. He swapped piano for guitar and then harp and vice versa. The extended jam of Parchman Farm drew a standing ovation. For a man of 82 years of age (although looking his age) he played like a man half his age. What a highlight.

We had a real long wait at our pick-up spot for the shuttle back to Iggy’s. The road is in gridlocked going both ways. We did not get back until after nine P.M. but who cares as the day was sensational and one thing you need to have in this city is patience.

Day Eighteen

Day 18 – April 23

Saturday night and I just got paid
Gonna fool about ain’t gonna save
Some people gonna rock some people gonna roll
Gonna have a party to save my soul
Hard headed woman and a soft hearted man
They been causing trouble since it all began
Take a little rice take a little beans
Gonna rock and roll down to New Orleans – Speed King – Deep Purple

Jazz Fest – Day Two

Finally got the washing done. It is going to be a hot one today. Sad news (yet again) as I just read that Lonny Mack has passed. Still remember seeing Lonnie a long time ago with Mr. Smith. Who is ‘Going to  Satisfy Susie’, now that Lonnie is gone?

We got to Iggy’s right on time for the shuttle. The first order of the day once inside the fairgrounds is some food for me. The girls loaded up on vegemite toast before we left. Two Natchitoulis Meat Pies for me and then some fresh fruit at WWOZ and I am ready to go into battle. There is not a cloud in the sky and a hat and sunblock are going to be mandatory as well as staying hydrated.

We went over to the Gentilly Stage for Bobby Cure & the Classic R’n’B Revue. Guest vocalists are  the legends of 50’s N.O. music. Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry, Robert Parker, Al ‘Carnival Time’ Johnson, Sammy Ridgley and Jo ‘Cool’ Davis. All are in the late 70’s or older and age has wearied then but they are all up to each sing two of their classic songs. Another good start to the day.

We stayed at Gentilly for Big Sam’s Funky Nation. It is around 1:15 and the crowd is building up. You can feel the sun torching any bare skin and I must remember to keep applying sun screen.
1:50 and the girls go off for some food and I chill in the Grandstand where you can escape the sun and do some serious people watching. I am pretty sure there would be no better city in the world to people watch when there is a gigantic party in play.

We are back to the Gentilly for Wendy to watch her hunk perform. The Cajun heart throb Tab Benoit. Just so happens he is an incredible musician and I always enjoy seeing him play.

Overhead a small plane has just drawn a big smilie face which is most appropriate as there are not many here that ain’t smiling.

Back to the Blues Tent for John Hammond. Very surreal to see him up on stage in front of thousands and to think back a little in time to when we were privileged at WOW to have the very same blues legend on our small and humble stage. John put on a passionate set and the crowd lapped it up.

Wendy is staying in the Blues Tent for Boz Scaggs while Kate and I head back to the Gentilly for Van ‘the man’ Morrison. The crowd is as big as I have ever seen on this the second largest of the Jazz Fest stages. The race track is also packed but we managed to get a vantage spot. Van was terrific and his band was spot on. He eased his way into the set and then brought the crowd to a frenzy as the the first strains of ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ rang out which segued into ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’ then into Parchman Farm and finishing back with ‘Brown Eyed Girl’.

Another great day at Jazz Fest. We didn’t stay at Iggy’s when we got back as it is starting to get a little dark and we wanted to get back to the apartment for a much needed shower.

Day Seventeen

Now if you’ve ever been down to New Orleans
Then you can understand just what I mean
All through the week, it’s quiet as a mouse
But on Saturday night, they go from house to house

You don’t have to pay the usual admission
If you’re a cook, a waiter or a good musician
So if you happen to be just passin’ by
Stop in at the Saturday Night Fish Fry – Louis Jordan – Saturday Night Fish Fry

Jazz Fest Yeah

Up at 8:30 to do some washing before heading off for the first day of Jazz Fest. Gotta have clean underwear. Bugger, the laundry is not opening until 3 P.M. today. Guess it is getting close to Anzac Day back home so I may have to go commando today. Sorry to all if I have made you ill at breakfast with that thought.

We walked around to Iggy’s at 10. We have been invited to avail ourselves of the Iggy’s shuttle bus again this year which makes getting to the fairgrounds a much easier task. I am wearing my Iggy’s t-shirt (it’s Jazz Fest every day at Iggy’s) and Mike was happy to see me so dressed. Told him I am wearing it with pride, dignity and grace. He told me that we would have to turn that thought around.

Yes, Mr. Smith we arrived early (before the gates opened). Once we were in I headed straight for my favourite food outlet to get me a serve of Ya Ka Mein. Can proudly say I purchased the first Ya Ka Mein for the 2016 Jazz Fest. If you are interested I can make ya’ll some Ya Ka Mein when we return as I do make a good version if I do say so myself.
We headed over to the Gentilly Stage for the opening act. Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes. Real good N.O. rock. It did take the sound guys a little time to get Johnny’s voice and guitar right but that is understandable. A great start to the next 7 days of music.

Back over to the Fais Do Do for the Deslondes, they are a little too country for the girls but I very much like what they are doing. Kate agrees that the harmonies are excellent.

Need more food and grabbed another favourite of mine the sausage and jalapeno fried bread.

Then over to the Blues Tent for Eric Lindell. When we got there we heard that Eric has had to pull out as his baby son is very ill and is having major surgery. We wish him and his family all the best and hope his son pulls through o.k. So we then decided to
take advantage of our Brass Passes and headed to the WWOZ hospitality tent for some fresh fruit and an iced coffee.
Back to the blues tent for Alvin Youngblood Hart and he did not disappoint. Playing in a trio he really powered through some blues rock. We nearly had Alvin at WOW a little while back but the tour was cancelled due to the falling Australian dollar. Hope we pick him up when he does tour next as he will bring the house down.
We are staying in the blues tent for the N.O. legends the Subdudes I caught up with some of the security staff that we have become friends with from previous years and gave then a small Australian souvenir each. They were all very thankful. The girls have the first strawberry daiquiri at 2:30.

The Subdudes are a N.O. institution and they receive a standing ovation as they come on stage. Fantastic set of original music, towards the end of the set I said to Kate that I hope they sing my favourite song. They did indeed finishing up the set with ‘All The Time In The World’. I got me a cooling Coors Beer and it is appropriate that I am using my B.B.King coozie (stubbie holder) as the Blues Tent is the last place that I got to see the King perform. Kate has called for an umbrella, it is not raining in the Blues Tent but they do have the mister working overtime and we are getting pretty wet.

We went over to the Acura Stage to catch up with the Iggy’s crew and listen to a bit of Michael McDonald (Doobie Brothers). He sure has aged (like I ain’t) and with his white hair and beard he looks a little like Kenny Rodgers. He is O.K. but a little to smooth for me. Kate spotted the Aboriginal Flag flying just behind us. I went over to see where in Australia they are from. They ain’t from Australia but are locals who worked for Continental Airlines in the 80’s and spent a lot of time in Sydney where they got the flag. They have been flying the same flag at the last 20 Jazz Fest and told me that this is the first time an Australian has come over to say hello. They wanted to take my picture! The lady gave me her business card. She owns/operates Johnny White’s bar in the Quarter, the same bar we went to catch up with Pat and Gentilly Jnr. the other Friday.

The girls stayed at the Acura to catch some of Steely Dan and I headed over to the Gentilly Stage for Gov’t Mule. Saw Geoff walking the same way and we sat up shop on the racetrack to listen to the guitar maestro Warren Haynes. Great version of the Fleetwood Mac song ‘Does She Make You Cry’ with guest vocals from Grace Potter. Also did a version of Prince’s ‘When Doves Fly’ with some nice Weather Report riffs added in.

I just realised it is 6:20 and I have only had one pee all day. Must be the weather.

It has been a great day and it is only day one of Jazz Fest. Wendy bought me a back pack that also doubles as a cooler and a seat. Best $15 she has ever spent as it has really made it more enjoyable for me at the outdoor stages where I can sit and not have to stand in the heat which zaps my energy pretty quick. Not to mention my poor old aching knees.
I meet up with the girls at 6:30 at our rendezvous point at the Gospel Tent and we walked around to get the shuttle bus back to Iggy’s. We had a cleansing ale with the crew and debriefed the days events.

Day 16

Day 16 – April 21

I’m on my way to New Orleans this mornin’,
Leaving out of Nashville, Tennessee,
They’re always having a good time down on the bayou, Lord
Them Delta women think the world of me. – Allman Brothers- Ramblin’ Man

Rain, rain go away

Kate is finally off to Electric Ladyland for her tattoo and Wendy is going to keep her company. They are then going to head on down to the River Walk Mall for some nail work of the finger variety.

Good chance for me  to catch up on 3 days of blog. Rather than sit in at the apartment and write I head down to Belle’s Diner for some food as well. If only I could touch type I would have the job done in a quarter of the time. As it is my fingers are so fat from arthritis that my two finger typing more often than not hits multiple keys.

I got to the diner around noon and as the girls are not with me I decided to have the most disgusting thing on the menu. Some things just have to be done once in your life. I ordered the Fried (yes fried) Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich. Seeing as this is a 50’s themed diner and the King (Elvis) is blasting out of the juke-box I think it most appropriate. A wicked sandwich for a wicked person and it tasted delicious although I did sense a hardening of my arteries on the second bite. Long live the King – that is if he was still alive. Also just found out that Prince has passed on which is sad. I might not have been a big fan but I do acknowledge his creativity. Way to many musicians have passed this year already.

After my indulgence and with only one blog to catch up on I strolled over to the French Market for a Tropical Smoothie which I hope will unclog my arteries. Real pleasant sitting at the market and typing away. I sort of felt like Hemingway but without the talent. The sun is out and it is looking good for the start of Jazz Fest tomorrow. People are starting to come on from all over the U.S.A. and the four quarters of the globe for the start of 7 days of music heaven.

I was back at the apartment by 2:45. You know how I said the day was looking fine, well now a storm is brewing and by 3:10 it is raining. Not overly heavy rain but enough to annoy you. Although the locals take the rain in their stride having been used to the weather down here.

I am waiting for the girls to get back when Wendy sent me a message to say they are still at the Mall. Time for a snack and I went to the Quarter Master for a small bag of Zapp’s Potato Chips – flavour being Drago’s Roast Garlic. Drago’s is a local restaurant famous for its Charbroiled Ersters (now you should know  what ersters are if you read yesterdays blog)

Very heavy rain most of the afternoon which is not what we want as once the infield at Jazz Fest gets muddy it never recovers.

Day Fifteen

Day 15 – April 20

Straight off, I bought me a through train ticket,
Ridin’ cross Mississippi clean
And I was on that midnight flyer out of Birmingham
Smoking into New Orleans. – Promised Land – Chuck Berry

Blue Nile

Mickey has gone off for another NCIS shoot. William is getting ready to walk his dogs. He has left me with the key for the apartment next door in case the new tenants arrive while he is away.

We walked around to Frenchman to the Louisiana Music Factory where WWOZ has an information counter. I want to pick up our Brass Passes for Jazz Fest. The Brass Pass gets you into each of the seven days of the Fest plus gets you access to the WWOZ hospitality tent where you can relax and avail yourself of the free iced coffee and fruit salad. Opps I forgot you have to pick up the passes at the radio station itself.

Kate and Wendy have gone over to the nearby Electric Ladyland where Kate wants to get a tattoo. Bad luck for Kate as the tattoo artist has up and left for Texas without telling anyone he was going. They have taken our cell number and will call when another artist is available.

We have missed breakfast again so I decide we should go and eat at the Praline Connection which I know from the past is a fine soul food restaurant. The girls have gone for a serve of ribs with sides of potato salad and cheesy mac. Guess who is having the cheesy mac. I am pretty sure that neither of them will be able to eat all their ribs. I went for two starters instead of an entree (don’t get confused as an entree is the main meal). I ordered BBQ oysters (that is pronounced ersters) and spicy chicken wings. The ersetrs came out swimming in a very tasty sauce with four pieces of bread for dipping. I got six pieces of chicken. Kate asked me after the first bite of chicken if it was hot. ‘No’, i said. I spoke a little to quickly on that as after the second bite I was on fire. The chicken was fanatasticly finger lickin’ good. I went through 6 paper napkins for my hands and two root beers to help put out the fire. I was real proud of Kate, after yesterday weakening and going to Maccas, today she has eaten corn bread and liked it. I was right the girls only managed to eat half the ribs and we have to get another doggie bag.

Williams came in to have a chat. When we went into the Microsoft store yesterday he was looking at a new HP tablet. He bought in his old Nexus Tablet as I told him I would have a look at the specs for him to see if he really needed to upgrade. Of course we had a couple of ciders to help the process. W chatted for an hour about all sorts of things and I tried to explain our political process. He was very surprised when I told him that the Queen of England had the power to dismiss our government. It sounded ridiculous when explaining it to William and it looks ridiculous when I am writing this down. Bring on our Republic I say. Long may the King reign (Elvis that is – for more on Elvis see tomorrows blog).

Cheryl and her crew from California have arrived and it is good catching up with them all. They have been coming down for Jazz Fest for over 10 years and always stay in the apartment next to us.

We left at 4:30 for the walk down to Lafayette Park for the free music in the park. We will meet up with Carol and Stew. We got there just after the music started with the support act being Alexis & the Samurai. Caught up with Carol and Stew and spotted a few Aussies that are in town as part of the Brian Wise tour group including Ann who comes to our Way Out West gigs.

The main act for the night is the Honey Island Swamp Band a real favourite of Ian Fraser and me for that matter Great set as always. I spoke to the singer from the first band as I noticed he had a tattoo of the world wrapped around his bicep. Asked him if Australia was part of the tattoo and he said yep and showed me, even had Tassie and New Zealand featured,
I got a beer and was walking back to where the girls where when I heard a voice call out Rob (in a southern accent). Turned around and it was the actor Rob (forgot his last name) who was in the Treme series and the film 12 Year a Slave. He wanted to welcome me back to N.O. and came over to say hello to Wendy and Kate. Kate went over to one of the artists stalls and bought a collar for our pup Gumbo. He will look resplendent in his Fleur Dis Lis collar. The free Wednesday night concert series which is held during Spring is always a lot of fun. Lots of locals, families, eccentrics, dogs and party goers in general. Blankets and picnics and just a hint of the herb in the air. The Honey Island Swamp Band rocked and Ivan Neville also jumped up for a couple of songs on the Hammond.

We also ran into Ken Gilmore and Lisa and a few newbies to N.O. who are also with the Brain Wise tour.
We left with Carol and Stew just as the band were finishing up to go over to Mona’s on Frenchman for a gyro. Always good Lebanese food here.

After our meal Stew said we should check in for a beer at the nearby Blue Nile. Stew knows the bouncer and we get let in and then notice that we have gate crashed a private wedding. Well this is New Orleans and everyone is welcome. The groom is dressed in a sparkling top-hat with feathers and the bride in in white in a New Orleans styled outfit. We even finished up with some wedding guest to go cups. Got to see the bride though out her bouquet. Stew then took us upstairs to another room which also hosts bands and then we spent a very pleasant half hour or so out on the balcony watching the goings and comings of the very popular Frenchman Street and its music clubs and eating houses. There is a brass band playing down on the next corner with a large crowd spilling out on to the road. What a hoot this was, watching New Orleans and its visitors out and about. Stew told me that a lot of the people are all members of the same Craft Club.  I must have looked a little confused. He said yeah, ‘Can’t Remember A Fucking Thing’. I had to write that down as I think I may be an honouree member of that very same Craft Club.

P.S. To all you grammar Nazis I  am using a U.S. spell checker ya’ll

Day Fourteen

Day 14 – April  19

Don’t remember much about my baby days,
But I been told
We used to live on Willow near the Garden District
Next to the Sugar Bowl
Momma used to wheel me past an ice cream wagon
One side for White and one side for Colored
I remember trash cans floatin’ down Canal Street
It rained every day one summer
Momma used to take me to Audubon Park
Show me the ways of the world
She said, “here comes a white boy, there goes a black one,
that one’s an octoroon
This little cookie here’s a macaroon, that big round thing’s
a red balloon
And the paper down here’s called the Picayune
And here’s a New Orleans tune – New Orleans wins the War – Randy Newman

Shop ‘til ya’ll drop

We meet William out front at 9 for the drive over to Metairie and more particularly the shopping mall. We got there around 9:30 but as most of the shops don’t open until 10 we sat down and had a coffee. The girls went off to do girlie shopping and William and I wandered around. Seen one mall seen them all I guess but never the less this one is impressive. Not as big as say Highpoint but vey clean and tastefully set out. William and I only ventured into one shop that being the Microsoft outlet. I have a Samsung Tablet which I am very happy with but I most confess that I would love to be able to afford one of the top notch Microsoft Tablets. Oh well, dream away.

After meeting up with the girls we then drove a short distance to Barnes and Noble’s. A very large bookshop of the highest quality and the section of Louisianan and New Orleans books is first class. I now have even more books to add to my library. I have an insatiable thirst for learning as much as I can about this unique city. The more I learn confirms my love of this place. Although as always it can be bad assed. There have been a number of armed robberies in recent days in the Marigney, not far from where we stayed for the first four days of our trip. You just need to be vigilant. As a tourist walking at night you gotta stay on the main streets. Don’t go walking in dark neighbourhood areas as you are courting danger. The perpetrators will get caught shortly and be locked away. Justice is swift here.

Williams needed to make groceries so we drove down to the Win Dixie (think Coles Supermarket). In fact there was very similar signage to Coles plus the staff were dressed in similar colours. It was shortly after that I noticed advertising with Curtis Stone’s face ‘meals under $10’. Even had notices saying ‘prices are down’. Even giving that our dollar is well short of the US$ the price of food and groceries is a lot less than we pay back at home.

We got back home after 2 and are very thankful to William for taking us out to see a different part of New Orleans.
Tonight we are staying in as Mickey should be on the NCIS N.O. episode. It is cool being able to recognise so many of the locations in the show. We didn’t see Mickey but we tried real hard. It was weird trying to look at characters in the background and not concentrate on the main actors.

I went down to the local Verti Mart and got me a Creole Chicken and Cheesy Chilli Fries. Another great day in New Orleans.

I have said it before and I will say it again. When you make friends with locals they absolutely go out of their way to make you feel welcome and are proud to show off their city. We have some real good friends here. Pat and Gentilly Jnr., Stew and Carol, William and Mickey and the crew at Iggy’s, Big Dave, Little Dave, Ed, Mike and many more whose names I can’t remember. All the unknown people that just greet you with a good morning, a how ya’ll doing or a simple nod of the head.

Thanks to you all for making us feel so welcome.

Day Thirteen

Day 13 – April 18

I met him in a cell in New Orleans I was down and out.
He looked at me to be the eyes of age as he spoke right out.
He talked of life, talked of life, laughed slapped his leg a step. Mr Bojangles – Jerry Jeff Walker

The Rowe’s Get Cultured

Up early for a change and it looks like a nice day with the sun breaking through the clouds at long last.

Mickey has had a call from the casting company for NCIS N.O. and he will be a hostage in an episode to be filmed tomorrow. Mickey has had bit parts in 10 episodes of series two. William has very kindly made a time for tomorrow morning to drive us over to Metairie so the girls can go shopping at the mall.

Lunch today is to be at Mother’s on Poydras Street which is a good half hour walk through the Quarter then over Canal Street and down into the Warehouse District. I have eaten at Mother’s before and they are world renown for their Po Boys. I wanted to get there before noon as it is very popular with the local business people. We got in around 11:45 and the girls were a little confused with the ordering system. As soon as you walk in you are handed a menu at the door and then directed to line up for the cashier. The idea is you select what you want as you get closer to the cashier. It was easy for me as I knew I wanted a Roast Beef Debris Po Boy but the girls felt rushed. Being a Monday Wendy has gone for Red Beans & Rice and Kate just wants a drink. Once you have paid for the meals you sit at a table with your receipt. A waitress then comes by and fills your order. The walls are adorned with photos of locals and celebrities who have dines at Mothers. Bit of a fluke that we sat at a table where Kate spied a signed photo of Steve and Terri Irwin, the establishment has now been given her stamp of approval.. I was more impressed with the signed B.B.King and Dr. John photos. I am glad I only order the small Po Boy as I could manage to eat half only’

We continued walking away from the Quarter as I want to go to the Civil War Museum which is across from the very impressive World War Two Museum. I should have known better that on Mondays many of the smaller museums are closed. Bugger, but all is not lost as a few doors down it the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. I have always wanted to visit this place but it took some convincing of Kate. Of particular interest to me was the photos of Louisiana for the period 1865 – 1945. I thought I heard Kate mutter that she was back on a school excursion! Then she got confused, thinking a normal table was a piece of art. The exhibition that really took my fancy was the surreal sculptures of New Orleans native Arthur Kern. His work is worth checking out.
I also picked up a fantastic book at the gift shop entitled ‘Unfathomable City – A New Orleans Atlas’ to add to my (if I do say so myself) impressive library of Louisiana/New Orleans books back home.

We got back to Canal Street around 2 and Kate has decided that she needs a Maccas fix. Oh well she has been trying different foods over the last couple of weeks so I guess I can let here fall off the wagon just this once.
We walked past Cafe Beignet (after Maccas) on Royal Street and just had to call in to see if their beignets are as good as Cafe Du Monde. They were!

Wendy is leaving Kate and I to our own devices tonight as Pat is picking Wendy up just before six for a girls night out. I am sure my ears will be burring at some stage later in the night. Pat being a local knows all the great spots to dine out and Wendy told us that she had a great time at the classy Bacchanal Fine Wine and Spirits. By the way Bacchanal means ‘an occasion of wild & drunken revelry. I can see why a puritan like me was not invited. Wendy was very impressed. You select from the refrigerators a bottle of wine, salami and your cheese of choice. Then hand over you supplies to the staff who then bring them back to your table on a wooden board with added goodies such as olives and dips. Plus there is live music. Very civilised indeed.