Day 2 – April 7
French Quarter Fest
Now, won’t you batter down by Baton Rouge, River Queen, roll it on.
Take that woman on down to New Orleans, New Orleans.
Go on, I’ve had enough; dump my blues down in the gulf.
She loves you, Big River, more than me. – Big River Johnny Cash
Slept ok and woke at 8:45. The house we are staying in is not bad. Feels a bit like a frat house as there are another 3 guests in another room. They are 3 young girls from New York on their first visit to New Orleans. We finally met the owner Devin and he is very friendly and ready to help in any way he can.
We are about a five minute walk from the Quarter. In fact our street turns into Bourbon once we cross Esplanade. We walked past 1123 Bourbon where we will be staying from next Monday. This is my normal place of residence when in New Orleans. Mickey is hanging out the front with some current guests who I happen to know from past visits. We all caught up like old friends. Mickey does bit part acting and he was keen to tell Kate about some of the NCIS New Orleans episodes he has been in. In fact today he is heading off to another shoot.
The weather is fine and hot. Late breakfast at the Coffee Place. Croissant, eggs and bacon and iced coffee. Picked up the latest Offbeat street mag and started planning which bands to see today.
We got down toward the GE Stage and we ran into Joey a New Orleans police officer who we met last year. We took time to have a chat and Joey welcomed us back to town and then introduced to his Lieutenant
Carol and Stew normally work at the Abita Stage but this year they are at the GE Stage. We got there in time to catch some of the Charlie Wooten Project. Charlie is the bass player with Royal Southern Brotherhood. He is one mighty fine funky player. Enjoyed my first Abita Amber at 1:10. Kate is ahead of me as she hit the Daiquiri stand at 1:10! Wendy is already off taking band photos. Got to speak to Charlie after his set. He told me that James Southwell will be coming to N.O. (New Orleans) mid year to record with him. Charlie will then tour Oz in January with James. I gave Charlie a WOW Business card (please note Mr Taxman that this is a business trip)
Next up is the Tin Men (trio) with Washboard Chaz. Good old timey blues.
Lunch time – 12 hour roast beef po-boy with horse radish cream and pickled red onions. Finger drippin’ and lickin’ good.
We went to Harrah’s Casino for a sit down and a cool down. Kate got a baked potato last year from one of the in-house cafes and she recalled that it was good and very filling.
We got back in time for the Mardi Gras Indians Cha Wa. Mighty fine funky grooves. Said it before and say it again – if you want an education in friendliness and fun then you come to N.O. Right here we have a music stage next to the mighty Mississippi, watching ships, paddle steamers, ferries and barges either fighting the river or letting the river propel them along.
Wendy and Kate are talking to a guy making elaborate balloon hats. Turns out he spent some time at Latrobe Uni and he played a bit of Aussie Rules. Cara, Kate looks fetching in her balloon hat.
At five we headed to the Abita Stage to catch Fred LeBlanc and Cowboy Mouth. Never a dull moment with this band. Fred always gets the crowd yelling and screaming as he implores the crowd.. he screams ‘and the name of the band is?’ and we scream back COWBOY MOUTH. As he said we are in the greatest city in the world listening to the greatest music in the world. We are alive at the greatest moment in time and god damn we are gunna enjoy ourselves, ya’ll. Oh and I just ate a Cajun meat pie which also fired me up.
At the front of each stage there is a fenced off area for the sponsors. Very nice space with table and chairs and waiter service. Well the people sitting for Cowboy Mouth are in for a surprise. Think our own Chris Wilson and what he says to people who sit at one of his shows but treble that recollection. Fred came off-stage with mic in hand and proceeded to make everyone of them stand up. He told them ‘this ain’t no recording of American Voice, this is a COWBOY MOUTH show. You will dance and scream. He then added that don’t think you are gunna sit back down when I get back up on stage. To prove that point he tipped over all the tables and chairs. He does this with good humour and for the rest of the show those sponsors and guests did indeed perform.
The band finished at 6:45 and we are all dog tired. Not to tired of course to call into Cafe DuMonde for some beignets.
I guess we wanted to pretty much hit bed when we got back but Devin and the three girl guests all came out for a chat which was good. I gave them my recommendations for tomorrow’s must see bands and I think they were impressed with my knowledge of local bands (some may call it showing off). What was really good for us was Devin giving us the heads up on local eating places. Devin himself is an interesting person. Maybe late 20’s? He was in sales but is now renovating a property not far from where we are. He bought the place a few years back as part of a forced possession auction. What happens here is that if you don’t pay your land taxes and keep your place habitable then you rack up stacks of fines. After a period of time the city will compulsory auction the property. The lady that owned the property had 37k in fines. She accepted a 40k offer from Devin to clear her debt. He has ben renovating and showed us some impressive before and after shots. The property in now valued close to 600K.