Tuesday 31/05/2016

And now for something completely different……….

Well it has been almost two weeks since I lost my job of 21 years. I was a bit stunned at first but now I have come to realise I am more relieved than bitter.

Banking has changed dramatically since I joined the State Bank of Victoria way back on the 7th February 1972. Change is always a given but is it always for the best?

I did not plan to leave work on such terms as I only have a few years to go until I reach 65 years of age. Banking used to be about trust and to some extent ‘gut feeling.’ Now it is about sales, sales and more sales. I was always a bit  ‘left of center’ for a banker. In fact, the best thing someone once said to me was, ‘you don’t look like a banker.’ Nearly all my business came from word of mouth. Something I can be proud of. I had got into trouble with Head Office on a number of occasions for backing people in and not strictly adhering to the rules. I was once told by my Regional Manager a few years back, ‘Rob, you have to stop trying to help people!’ It is now required that you gather 4000 pieces of supporting documentation and write a short novel to justify why you have approved a loan facility. For dinosaurs like me this was a never ending battle to conform.

I came back from annual leave early May and was told that I had done something incorrectly with one of my loan files. I swore black and blue that I had indeed done the right thing but unfortunately for me a record of the approval was not on-file. So I am no longer employed. It is going to be tough financially wise but the upshot is I will now be able to work on my ‘Soul Food’ cooking skills.

I would like to think that over my long banking career I have helped many different people from all walks of life get into their home.

I am not an over confident type of person (I have been diagnosed as a severe introvert) and I am finding it a bit hard to get out amongst my friends which is due to my embarrassment more than anything. Hopefully by letting everyone know that I have left work in these circumstances then I can get back into the swing of things.

I will leave you with this thought that I read recently. Corporations – a mind without a memory, a body without a soul.

Back Home

Thursday – 11th May

Well we have been back in Melbourne for just on a week and it has been hard going. Not only being back at work but having a cold is a bummer. I am listening to the four CD Box Set ‘Big Ol’ Box of New Orleans’ to try and keep a little bit of New Orleans in my day.

The Melbourne newspapers have been crying out about the number of homeless sleeping rough and begging in the C.B.D. Every City has it’s share of the homeless. San Francisco, Miami, New York, Memphis and New Orleans, seen them all in my travels. The big difference that I have noted through my own experiences with many of Melbourne’s beggars is that they are very aggressive and you are often reluctant to make eye contact. It is fact that even if you do throw a few coins to some beggars (not all) then you are abused for not giving more. Now in New Orleans (not always) it is more often the case that if you say, ‘no I can’t assist’ you get a response of ‘thank you anyway, and God Bless.’

I am looking forward to catching up with the Way Out West crew this coming Sunday. Chris Stockley is an incredible musician and he is sure to put on a great show.

It was sad to hear that Candye Kane had lost her long battle with cancer. I saw her perform at the Byron Bay Festival many years back and then again at the Narooma Blues Festival. She sure knew how to put on a show. I still remember her keyboard player banging the 88’s with her massive fun-bags.

Day 29 – May 6

Day 29 – April 4


Standin’ in the corner
Of Toulouse and Dauphine
Waitin’ on Marie-Ondine
I’m tryin’ to place a tune
Under a Louisiana moonbeam
On the planet of New Orleans
In a bar they call the Saturn
And in her eyes of green
And somethin’ that she said in a dream
Inside of my suit I got my mojo root
And a true love figurine
For the planet of New Orleans – Dire Straits – The Planet of New Orleans


Long Haul Flight


I have been putting off completing the last day’s blog as if not writing it means that I am still in New Orleans.

We are up at 4A.M. for a quick shower before departing for the airport. While the girls were getting ready I went down a few doors to the Quarter Master for a take-out coffee. Bourbon Street is quiet with just a few stragglers heading home and a couple of locals out walking their dogs. Although I did disturb a rather large rat!

Kate ordered us an Uber and I waited outside with our suitcases. A couple of late night punters on their way home stopped across the way from me and proceeded to get into an argument. They are not bums and the guy is pretty well dressed. Both are drunk but not falling over drunk. Our Uber rolled up and then I noticed the drunk guy come over in my direction. Now I wondered what mischief was he up to? He said, ‘Sir, let me help you with those suitcases and he proceeded to load the boot for me.’ Only in New Orleans I guess. He said New Orleans is a great city but he was from Miami and that was a better city. He is obviously more drunk than appears.

We are pretty sure that the three main suitcases will be over the weight limit. Our assumptions are correct. The girls blamed me for the problem as they have shared the books I have purchased in the 3 cases. Can’t figure out why we are overweight as all the books I have purchased could be deemed as ‘light reading.’

There is another long line to get through the security check and we would miss our flight if we lined up. Went and saw one of the officials and they bumped us to the priority line and so we were O.K.

The flight to L.A. was uneventful and I wiled away the time by playing the on-board Trivia Game, recording the two highest points score for the game, do you mind. I played under Kate’s name. She headed the leaders board not long before landing. Most be a lot of dumb-arses on this flight!

Now comes the tricky part of this trip. A 12 – hour stop-over in L.A. We have planned to book in our bags and then do a tour of downtown L.A. Kate tried to use the check-in consul for our Delta flight to Sydney and unfortunately we have had our carrier changed to Virgin Australia. We made it to another terminal to the V.A. desk and found out that it would not be manned/womaned (I know that is not a word, just being politically correct) until 3P.M. The time now is 9 A.M. There is also nowhere to store all our cases. It is no use the three of us babysitting our cases for another 6 hours so I volunteered to stay at the airport while the girls went to Hollywood. Ain’t I nice, but they better bring me back a present.

Surprisingly the time went by quickly and they got back to the airport around 5ish. We went and got a meal and sat around for our flight to leave at 10 P.M. For the first time I can remember I fell asleep. I must have slept for some-time as I remember looking at the time to destination countdown and it was some ten hours. When I awoke it was 4 hours 30? We did have one lot of bad turbulence which Kate said made her leave her seat. It was pretty bad but thankfully did not last long.

We got into Sydney, Friday the 6th at 6:20 A.M. having left New Orleans, Wednesday 4th at 6:30 A.M. time zone differences taken into account we have still been on the road for a long time. Problem is now we have another 10 – hour stop-over in Sydney. When I booked the flights O did not realise that it was 10 at night not 10 in the morning for our connection to Melbourne. We had tried to change the time through the Webjet portal however they wanted $200 extra per person. Maybe V.A. themselves would be more reasonable and understanding. Of course not. Silly me, they want $203 per person. What to do as we are all exhausted. Wendy suggested we book into a nearby hotel for the day. Good idea and we got a day room at the Airport Hotel for around $80. Check in at 10 and checkout at 5. We could have a shower and rest.

Back at Sydney airport at 6 P.M. for a feed and another longish wait for the flight. At long last we are heading back to Melbourne. We landed at 11:15 P.M. I will let ya’ll do the math as to how long we have been travelling. We used the new passport recognition consul to get through the otherwise long line to see a Border Protection Officer. Well that is Wendy and I did. When Kate used the face recognition – system she had no luck. She only had her Passport issued last year and the system cannot recognise her face. No I am not making any comments for fear of death.

We are safely home by 1 A.M. Another N.O. trip under the belt. The trip did not go as smooth as other years what with Kate’s banking issues, my new phone being drowned and now useless, the worst storms in living memory for Jazz Fest. I must see to getting a new Gris Gris to ensure more – smoother travels next time around. All in all though it was another great trip. Many thanks to all our wonderful friends in N.O. who always go out of their way to make us feel welcome. Pat and Gentilly Jnr., Stew and Carol, the Iggy’s crew, William and Mickey and the extra friendly citizens of N.O. themselves. See ya’ll next time around.

P.S. Pat said I should keep up with a daily blog. Not sure why as I am a pretty boring guy but I may just do that so as I can have a rant about the things that peeve me and the things that please me.

Day Twenty Eight

Day 28 – May 3
This city won’t wash away
This city won’t ever drown
Blood in the water and hell to pay
Sky tear open and pain rain down
Doesn’t matter ‘cause come what may
I ain’t ever gonna leave this town
This city won’t wash away
This city won’t ever drown
Ain’t the river or the wind to blame
Everybody around here knows that
Nothin’ holdin’ back Pontchatrain
Except for a prayer and a promises’s ghost
We just carryon diggin’ our graves
In solid marble above the ground
Maybe our bones’ll wash away
But this city won’t ever drown
This city won’t ever die
Just as long as her heart beats strong
Like a second line steppin’ high
Raisin’ hell as we roll along
Gentilly, to the Vieux Carre
Lower nine, Central City, Uptown
Singin’ Jacomo fee-nah-nay
This city won’t ever drown
Doesn’t matter cause there ain’t no way
I’m ever gonna leave this town
This city won’t wash away
This city won’t ever drown – This City – Steve Earle

Our Last Day

Another overcast and muggy day as we walk down to the French Market for the last time this trip. I have bribed Kate by offering her $20 to pack my cases. Haven’t told her that it will be $20 Australian. We have to be at the airport by 5:15 A.M. tomorrow so there will be no time to dally.

Kate doesn’t want to eat to much as tonight we will be going out with Pat for our last N.O. meal. It is noon already and I am hungry so I ordered a serve of Cajun Dirty Rice. If you don’t like fried chicken livers then this may not be the meal for you but I have eaten it before and really like it. Wendy went for the ‘gator on a stick.

It is always a sad time for me knowing that a trip to N.O. is ending but it will be good to get back and see the family and friends. Speaking of friends we are all very concerned about hearing of the disappearance of Way Out West member and MBAS committee person, Diane Forster. Di loves her Blues music and is a strong advocate of Melbourne Music and Women in Blues. We just hope for her family and many, many friends that a good outcome occurs.

I just wiled away the afternoon sitting out on the veranda watching the world go by. I girl on a bike rode past me and then came back and asked if she could take my photo. She said she was riding around the Quarter taking photos of interesting people. I told her I was not a local but she said that didn’t matter. Who knows where that photo may end up. You never know I may make a tourist book or something?

Pat picked us up around 5 as she knows we can’t have too late a night. We drove over to mid-city to a local neighbourhood restaurant called Katie’s. Yes I know, how ironic the name is, seeing we all know of Kate’s cooking prowess. Even at the early hour the restaurant was humming along with many early diners. The food was fantastic and the two strawberry Abita’s quenched the thirst. If you ever find you way to Katie’s then I strongly recommend the stuffed seafood beignet. We shared some stories with Pat and it was a great way to finish off our trip to N.O.

Pat dropped us off just in time for N.C.I.S. New Orleans. The guest musician on the episode was Gary Clarke Jnr who I just saw perform at Jazz Fest. We were able again to recognise many of the N.O. backdrops. Mickey had told us he was definitely in this episode but we missed his scene.

Bed for all of us is an early one as we have to be up at 4 A.M. Just hope I can drop off to sleep quickly as the next day and a half of travel will be mind numbing.

Day Twenty Seven

Day 27 – May 2

From the shakey city
down to New Orleans
The Golden Gate
to the Bronx and Queens
Everybody’s rockin’,
yeah, everybody’s rockin’,
Well, everybody’s rockin’,
rockin’ to the dancin’ beat. – Everybody Rockin’ – Neil Young

Rest Day (Sort of)

Bit of a slow awakening for all of us. We went over to Ruby Slippers for a very late breakfast (Noon). The building on Burgundy is an old Bank and is purported to have been robbed by Bonnie and Clyde.

Not too many chances left to have a decadent breakfast so I went for the daily special of a cinnamon bun lodged between two buttermilk pancakes covered with raisins and syrup. Wendy had a similar pancake breakfast but between her two pancakes was some cheese cake. Kate had two little pork sausages with a side of fries.

We are not far from Iggy’s and made our way there to return a backpack that Little Dave had lent to Wendy. We got there around 1and Little Dave and Mike were about to leave to do some banking. But before they left Dave bought us all a farewell cocktail.

The girls want to go down to the Riverwalk Mall for some last minute shopping and I also need to buy some new runners as my Nikes are a mess from the Festival. I also picked up a few souvenirs.

Stew and Carol are picking us up at 6:30 for a farewell dinner and we ended up at The Louisiana Pizza restaurant. Fine pizza and a strawberry Abita was the order of the day

We then took a stroll for a final time over to Frenchman Street. Jazz Fest stayers are lining up for the music clubs. We went over to an artists market just as a termite swarm hit. Kate is freaking out! I for some reason I decided to buy a suit-jacket. It is something to behold in a N.O. sort of way. Can’t wait to wear it at the next opportune time. Maybe the Winter Blues Festival at Echuca?

Day Twenty – Six

Day 26 – May 1

Say child have you seen the Bourbon Street queen
She’s feeling it revealing it down in New Orleans that
Cajun Stripper queen
Dance, dance, dance little stripper dance while the music’s hot
Dance, dance, dance little Queenie do give it all you’ve got
Doug Kershaw – Cajun Stripper

Jazz Fest – Last Day

Up and ready for the last day of Jazz Fest. Kate has looked at the weather forecast and there is another thunderstorm due at 10 A.M. which is the time we normally leave to get to Iggy’s. I decided to delay our departure until 11ish to see what the weather is like. The Thunderstorm did not eventuate as predicted and come elven o’clock I am getting itchy to go. The girls gave decided that they do not want another wet and muddy day and they will stay indoors today. I set off at 11 for the walk around to the Transit Bus. Not sure if the Iggy’s shuttle will still be running at this time. Gotta admit that the weather is starting to close in but I can’t wimp out on seeing Neil Young today. I walked quickly down the street as a few heavy spots of rain are falling. The street lights are on and the bright lights of Bourbon St can be seen in the distance. It is very dark and fells more like dusk than late morning.

I got on the bus and the heavens opened once again. The Transit Bus would normally be chockers this time of day with Festival goers but today there are just three others. I am not even sure the gates will be open. After yesterdays rain and now with the rain starting again there is no way the grounds could have dried out.

I got to the drop off site for the festival and the rain is again torrential. Thunder and lightning and only a few punters are making their way towards the entry gates. I got under some shelter and waited for the worst of the squall to pass and then wandered over to the entrance. I had to wade through shin deep water to get inside the Fest but I can hear some music which is a good sign. Went and got some food. A Cuban Sandwich and found some shelter to eat.

I went and had a look at the Acura Stage where Neil will be performing from 3:15. Parts of the infield are no go zones with deep pools of water and the rest of the infield is one muddy mess. Some diehards are already staking out there positions.
Best bet is to head to the Blues Stage for Terrence Simian and some full-on Zydeco madness. Terrence finished up with ‘When the Saints.’ Yes. I have heard it many times but I still get Goosebumps when listening to 5,000 singing along. I listened to the full set for two reasons. 1. The music is great and 2. The rain is settling in again.

I made a dash for the WWOZ tent and just as I went passed the Gospel Tent they also burst into ‘When the Saints.’ I decided to wait it out at WWOZ for the hour until Neil Young is on. The rain is now very heavy again. Derek Guile came in and we sat and talked about music. It got close to 3 and I said to Derek that even though it is still raining that I would never be able to face Brian Wise again if I missed out on a Neil Young show just because of a monsoon and a little electric light show.

Derek and I made it o the Acura and waded through the water and mud to get a good viewing spot. I have never been this close to the main stage for a headliner like Neil before. The man came on stage right on time and blew the place away from the first song. It did not matter that the rain was still coming down and that we were both standing in ankle deep mud. He sure is a cantankerous old rocker is our Neil and an angry one at that. He has a very young band with him which includes on guitar the son of Willie Nelson. There will be no playing of ‘Heart of Gold’ today. Each guitar and sonic distortion intro took at least five minutes and then proceeded into extended jams. I really enjoyed the show. 40 minutes into the set and we had heard two songs. The crowd lapped it up. I read later that Brian Wise had stated that the 15 minute intro to Cortez the Killer was worth the plane ticket price alone. I made a move just as Neil was blasting out ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’, which finished the two hour set. What is that saying? ‘Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.’ Today I could change it to ‘Only alligators and music nuts go out in the pouring rain.’

I really did want to stay for the closing act in the Blues Tent. Arlo Guthrie was celebrating the 50 year anniversary of “Alice’s Restaurant. But I am just to wet, from the waist down, and I am starting to feel a little cold. Yes even in N.O. you sometimes get to feel a little cold. I jumped on a waiting bus and was back home in no time for a warm shower.

Another Jazz Fest under the belt. The second week sure was a wet one. Some say the worst weather in memory but I would not have missed it for the world.

Day Twenty Three

Day 23 – April 28

Seen the arrow on the doorpost
Saying, “This land is condemned
All the way from New Orleans
To Jerusalem.”
I travelled through East Texas
Where many martyrs fell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell – Bob Dylan – Blind Willie McTell

Jazz Fest – Week Two

We were walking down Burgundy towards Iggy’s and an ambulance pulled up to ask us if we had seen anyone lying on the sidewalk. There is normally someone lying on the sidewalk on nearly every block but I hadn’t seen anyone today. One of the ambulance guys said to Kate, ‘nice ink.’ She gets a lot of those comments.

We got to Jazz Fest without any drama but the weather if looking iffy. Thunderstorms and heavy rain has been predicted. Thursday of the second week of Jazz Fest is always a little easier to get around crowd wise. Wendy got me a cool Jazz Fest t-shirt featuring guitars and an alligator on the back. I told Kate that I knew which way the weather was coming from and we will not get any rain soon. The rain started five minutes later.

Started the day food wise with Creole Chicken and Tasso (Ham) over Creole Rice. While I eat the girls have gone over to the bookstore to get a N.O. colouring book. The wind is starting to pick up and the rain getting a little heavier. Wendy told me to pack my rain coat but as usual I ignored the advice. Glad they were giving out free ponchos near the entrance.
I thought it best that we head over to the WWOZ tent, not just for the fresh fruit and iced coffee but also for the shelter. We got there just as another downpour started. I know we get heavy rain back in Melbourne but when I write downpour here just think like standing under a waterfall. Kate tapped into the free Wi-Fi to put on our footy tips. Who the hell do you pick, Carlton V’s Essendon. I have gone for the Blues to continue their winning streak of one.

We went to the photo displays under the Grandstand. There is also a magnificent  St. Joseph’s Day Voodoo Shrine dedicated to Allen Toussaint. Also at the shrine you can grab yourself a lucky Fava Bean which is meant to be kept in your wallet.

The fava bean plays a role on the feast of St. Joseph and the tradition of the Altar or Table for March 19. Here is a short explanation.

Fava bean (vicia fava) —Fava beans play a large role in the Sicilian tradition of the St. Joseph Table or St. Joseph Altar. They may be served in a frittata or in garlic sauce. When dried, roasted and blessed, it becomes the very popular “lucky bean.” Legend has it that you will never be broke as long as you carry one. Some people believe that if you keep one in the pantry, there will always be food in the kitchen.

The myth of the fava bean began during the famine in Sicily, where the bean was used as fodder for cattle. To survive, the farmers prepared them for the table. Hence, they considered themselves lucky to have them. The bean is also a symbol of fertility since it grows well even in poor, rocky soil. Italians would carry a bean from a good crop to ensure a good crop the following year.

The blessed dried beans are distributed on the altars along with a piece of blessed bread.

The rain has finally stopped for the moment but we know there is more on the way. We walked over to the Gentilly Stage and saw the last couple of songs from Mia Borders.

The girls bailed out at 1:15 as they know a storm is a coming. I am going to stay for the duration as the closing act of the day is one I want to see. I got my first beer and stood in another downpour while watching the slide maestro Sonny Landreth. I had to keep my thumb over the beer can opening otherwise I will be drinking a very diluted brew. Now there is thunder and lightening to add to the rain. One thunder clap was so loud that I jumped out of my skin. I made my way over to what was left of the Iggy’s crew . Just as Sonny Landreth finished his set the sun broke out. It was like watching 20,000 bears all come out of hibernation at once. People coming out from sitting under umbrellas and ponchos. Within 5 minutes I was roasting. It was like the rain had just basted my skin and now I was back in the oven.

Gary Clarke Jnr. got the crowd up and going again and the two jelly shots that Aaron gave me also assisted. Many people have left the Fest early as to be honest the rain was real bad. But Mike did point out that it was a perfect Jazz Fest as there is not a line any where for food, booze or the loos.

I made it to the closing act. The Tedeschi Trucks Band. Sensational and even more when two special guests came on stage to join in the guitar show. The two guests in question being Jimmy Vaughan and Billy Gibbons (ZZTop). Somehow the four guitar heroes, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Jimmy and Billy all gave each other room and had the chance to show off four very different playing styles. One of the guys from the float we rode earlier in the month passed me his flask of moonshine which warmed the cockles of my heart. They are a very sharing lot! The band played a moving tribute to Mr. B.B.King

I left with the last of the Iggy’s crew to get the shuttle home. Very proud of the fact that I have been given the Iggy’s flag to carry back to our pick-up spot. As Wendy later said, ‘you know that you have made it if you get to carry the flag.’ I am writing in my dairy under duress as it has got soaked and all the pages are stuck together. I can only write on half pages as the outer part of the pages tear if you write there. My diary is looking a little like the Dead Sea Scrolls – all wet papyrus and words of wisdom.

We got back to Iggy’s very sodden but happy. What is Jazz Fest without rain. As long as the music is playing the people are staying. I had a couple of beers and then took off for home. Should have relieved the bladder first as I only got two blocks and I had to call into the Royal Street Hotel Tap Bar for relief. I guess you can’t just use a rest room without having a beer as well and so I did.

Another fine day of music and adventure.

Day Twenty Four

Day 24 – April 29

There’s a crack in the mirror
And a bloodstain on the bed
There’s a crack in the mirror
And a bloodstain on the bed

Oh, you were a vampire
And baby, I’m the walking dead
Oh, you were a vampire
And baby, I’m the walking dead

I got the ways and means
To New Orleans
I’m going down by the river
Where it’s warm and green
I’m gonna have a drink and walk around
I got a lot to think about – Bloodletting – Concrete Blond

Jazz Fest

At last it looks like the rain has cleared. When we got to the Fest the infield looks ok, not to much mud around. Morning feed today is a Grilled Lamb Sausage Po Boy and a frozen iced-coffee.

We went over to the Fais Do Do to say hello to Stew and Carol and watch a little of Jeffrey Broussard & the Creole Cowboys. At 1:30 I had a look at a cooking demonstration – Pork Belly & Shrimp pot stickers. It was more Chinese style cooking so I didn’t stay to the end but I did learn the best way to peel fresh ginger (my secret).

Not sure what to go and see so we decided on the Lagniappe Stage for Quiana Lynell. Sophisticated late night Jazz and not sure that Kate would enjoy. The band are very good and Quiana’s voice is amazing. She sang a tribute to Porgy & Bess, Summertime and Motherless Child which was spine tingling and her scatting amazing. Kate clapped enthusiastically at the end and said she enjoyed her singing.

Over to the Raw Oyster Cult at the Gentilly. The Raw Oyster Cult grew from the legendary N.O. rock band the Radiators. Sort of like a Grateful Dead jam band. The special guests included all past members of the Radiators which was pretty cool. The girls went back over to Fais Do Do for the Honey Island Swamp Band. I have been sitting on the track but toward an exit. Have on my NOLA to you die t-shirt and I must look like an official as people keep coming over to me to ask me questions.

It started to get hot again so I grabbed me a lemon and lime sno cone. I felt like a kid again spooning the flavoured ice into my gob. To think yesterday I was standing in torrential rain! Caught a few songs of the Revivalists who I enjoy. Then over to the Fais Do Do for Los Lobos who are going to perform La Pistola Y El Corazon. The stage area out front is packed and I sat over to the side. I could hear the band OK but could not see them.

Then went over to the Acura for Paul Simon. I listened to a few songs but he is a bit wishy – washy for me and so decided to finish the day with a little of Elvin Bishop at the Blues Tent. Elvin played great but looks like age is catching up with him as well as he played sitting down.

Ran into the girls around 6:30. As we were heading out an older hippie looking guy came over to say to Kate, ‘I like seeing you wearing your Sea Shepherd cap. Turns out he is a staunch supporter of anti- whaling and is a member of the Sea Shepherd family even though he is an American. Said he is boycotting all things made in Japan.

Day Twenty Five

Day 25 – April 30

I was sittin’ on a stump
Down in New Orleans,
I was feelin’ kinda low down,
Dirty and mean.
Along came a fella
And he didn’t even ask.
He says, “I know of a woman.
That can fix you up fast.”
I didn’t think twice,
I said like I should,
“Let’s go find this lady
That can do me some good.”
We walked across the river
On a sailin’ spree
And we came to a door
Called one-oh-three. – Bob Dylan – New Orleans Rag

Jazz Fest – and the heavens opened

Overcast with thunderstorms predicted mid afternoon. Today I have on my Mambo shirt which my good friend Greg Keyes gave me. Already had some comments re ‘cool shirt.’

It is another Ya Ka Mein morning to fuel me for the day ahead. If I had known what was going to happen later in the afternoon I would have had another three or four serves.

I went over to the Gentilly for some Sweet Crude. Heard the singer quip that we in N.O. don’t have mosh pits, here they are march pits.

The girls have saved me a seat in the Blues Tent for Cyril Neville’s Royal Southern Brotherhood. The band has had a number of changes since I last saw them here in N.O. The set just kept building and building and I now have changed my mind and upgraded the show to the highlight of the Fest.

We all know the storm is coming but I decided to go out of the tent and listen to some of Roy Rogers & the Rhythm Kings from outside the tent. The girls chose to stay inside which turns out to be a wise decision. As soon as the band started I had to reach in for my poncho.

I wanted to catch Dr. John over at Acura and the rain ain’t gonna stop me. The Doctor is in the house and he cured all who braved the rain. No now it is not rain it is a monsoon. Thunder and lightning. Even heavier rain than the Thursday. I think the Doctor knew something as he just finished singing ‘Goodnight Irene’ when the lightning got even closer and the show had to be stopped.

Parts of the Acura crowd area are flooding and people are scrambling to get over onto the track. I walked around to the Blues Tent and have never felt rain so heavy before and the wind is howling, only saving grace is it is not cold. There is no way to get into the tent even though the music has been stopped. People are huddled under a truck. The only music still going is from the Gospel Tent, I guess they have you know who on their side. My phone is wet and I can’t text the girls although I did get a text to say they will make their own way home. I assumed they had set off earlier

I know the Iggy’s shuttle will not be able to get through to our pick up point and the transit bus line goes on forever. No let up to the storm so I bite the bullet and decide on the walk home down Esplanade. About a 45 minute walk through at times ankle deep water. Now don’t’ think I am exaggerating as when I finally did make it home I read a text from Brian Wise saying it is the worst storm he has seen at Jazz Fest and he has been coming for decades.
When I did get indoors I found out that my back pack had water in it and my new phone and wallet were floating. Looks like the phone is cactus as it will not charge.

The girls got a message through to say they were walking back with some of the Iggy’s crew. They got home about 45 minutes after me. Kate has video footage of inside the Blues Tent were the water was at some points mid – shin deep. She even can be heard saying on the video, ‘mum there is a rubbish bin floating down the aisle’. Oh Jazz Fest you never stop surprising us. It is all part of the adventure.

We learned that all the closing head line acts had to be cancelled. No Stevie Wonder, Beck or Snoop Dog. Stevie’s show was transferred to a venue in the Quarter and was due to start at 8:30 but by 8 there was already a line snaking down the street.

Just to confirm how heavy the rain was. In todays Times Picayune there is a quote from an official saying. ‘ Jazz Fest has had its rainy days, but this is the worst weather I have ever seen.’ Good to know I was not imaging the ferocity of the storm.