Day Five – April 10

Last Day of French Quarter Fest

I’m a country boy down in New Orleans
I’m a country boy down in New Orleans
Can’t find nowhere to get no greasy greens

Creole girl, turn your damper down
Creole girl, turn your damper down
The pots is boiling, spilling on the ground – (I’m a) Country Boy Down In New Orleans- Snooks Eaglin

I am up early (that is for N.O. time) at 10 AM. Feeling good and rested and fired up for the last day of the French Quarter Fest. It is another fine day but a little bit more breezy. Devin is off sailing this morning on Lake Pontchatrain. He told us that he couldn’t get the engine started yesterday so today he is going to just try and use sail power to get away from his mooring. We could have went along with him if we had wanted.
We headed a short distance to Ruby’s Slipper for breakfast. There are three of these fine diners in New Orleans and they are very popular. So popular this morning that there is a line waiting to get in. Change of plan and we steered our way to Frenchman Street. Now that I am semi-local I know that there is a nice little cafe called Cafe Rosa Nicaud that serves an excellent breakfast. We got a seat without any worries and I ordered breakfast (scrambled eggs, cheddar, pico de gallo and sour cream in a flour tortilla). Great food as can be observed by the number of locals eating. Pretty easey to spot those damn tourists!
A short distance to walk to one of two stages at the Old Mint. We are going to see the Creole String Beans which I make sure I see each time I am in town. Good old swamp pop/rock. The stage is set in a nice little grassed area and is crowded but not uncomfortably so. I gave an Aussie souvenir pin to the bass player Rob and he was most grateful.
First Abita at 1:05 and I tried out the IPA – see you beer snobs back home I am trying to broaden my horizons. The couple sitting next to me introduced themselves. They are locals and they welcomed us to New Orleans. The lady is a Realtor (Real Estate Agent) and when she heard that I dream of living here maybe six months of the year she gave me her business card and said she could find me a nice apartment in the Warehouse district. Hmm….
We got down the Abita (main) Stage for the Raw Oyster Cult. Saw Dave (one of the stage crew) who I have promised a tube of vegemite. He too was rapt when I gave him a souvenir pin. He was so pleased with this small act of kindness that he has given us musician passes for front of stage. I told him we didn’t want to impose but he said ‘ya’ll ain’t imposing and you are welcome back stage anytime ya’ll want), How nice. Also gave a pin to the main stage supervisor and MC. He also knew me from past years and was very welcoming.
Next performer up is the legendary Zydeco man Buckwheat Zydeco. I am really looking forward to this set. In my first blog a wrote about a movie I watched on the plane and Buckwheat feature heavily in it.
Buckwheat looks a little sore and slow when he came on stage. He explained that he has broken ribs and had collapsed lungs two weeks ago. His Doctor had warned him not to perform at the festival. ‘Hell no’ was his reply. I ain’t missing the show for nothin’. You can see he is in pain but that did not stop him from ripping the place apart. When he needed a rest from standing and playing his piano accordion he just took himself over to the Hammond and cut loose there. A couple of luxury cruise ships sailed past and they were a sight to behold as they navigated the bend in the Mississippi. It was a terrific set from Buckwheat and his awesome band and I am real glad that I have finally got to see him play.
We then headed to the House of Blues Voodoo Lounge to catch the end of Kent Burnside’s set. As could be expected of anyone with the name Burnside he knows how to play North Mississippi Hills style blues.
Next on the bill is Kent’s cousin Cedric Burnside (Project) This small Lounge is now chockers but we haver a good viewing position. Cedric started with 3 acoustic numbers then went back to his drums and introduced his guitarist. Right from the first note the blues and boogies had the crowd in a dancing frenzy. Real good set of music ably assisted by the Founders IPA I have been drinking.
We called into Cafe Maspero on our way home for a bite to eat. I went for the hot sausage sandwich Wendy had the roast beef sandwich and Kate wasn’t hungry after devouring her cheesy mac at the House of Blues.
We continued on down Decatur heading for home. Sometimes I tend to portray New Orleans in an overly rosy way. I know that it has its bad side and tonight unfortunately we witnessed a real bad thing. As we got close to a cross street where there appeared to be a fight in play. Looked like a couple of rough looking dudes. One of the guys was already on his knees (sitting up) having already been knocked down. Then all of a sudden the second party to the fight took a running start and full on kicked this poor guy right under the jaw. You know when you are at the football and one of the players gets on to a mighty torpedo and you hear that kicking sound. Well that is what it sounded like. The guy was immediately knocked cold onto his back and concerned passers by rushed to his aid. I really thought that he may have been killed instantly. The cowardly kicker was a big scary looking guy and in the hyped up state he was in people stayed away from him. I know the girls felt sickened as did I.
At the next block there was a guy dressed in a beaded g-string dancing to his boom box. When I mean dancing he was skipping 5 metres in each direction then bending over to bare his buttocks in a most provocative (if you are that way inclined) manner. Kate said after we had passed him ‘that was the most insane five minutes I have ever see’. It did put a damper on a most enjoyable day. Yes you need to be careful but in the six times I have been over here that is the first time I have witnessed violence like that and I am 100% sure that the two involved in the fight were not locals at all.
Anyway we got back home safely and are looking forwarded to moving house tomorrow although our stay here has been very nice.

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