New Orleans




Samatha Fish @ Jazz Fest

Day 19 – April 27


The first day of Jazz Fest and the weather is fine. In fact, the forecast for the three days is looking good.

We went over to North Rampart to get the bus to the festival. A cool dude on a push-bike is riding around with a cooler bag strapped to the front of his bike. He is selling iced cold water and Bud Lite. Jazz Fest brings out the entrepreneur in so many locals.

As Brian Wise has always told me the bus ride is a cheap way to get to the festival at $1.25 but the offside is that there is no such thing as a timetable. Well, that is not truly correct as you can look up a timetable it is that the driver of the bus does not know there is one. Once we got onboard a bus a guy from Houston struck up a conversation. He will shortly take a cruise ship on the East Coast of Australia and then over to New Zealand. He knew a bit about our country. He is a tennis fan and always watches the Australian Open. He even asked us for our opinion of Nick Kyrios. You can guess what we said!

The bus driver pulled over unexpectedly and got out and had a verbal with an Arab taxi driver that was taking a shortcut down a designated bike area where he nearly cleaned up some cyclists. Never a dull moment in New Orleans.

At 11:15 we are at the festival and I am eating my first Yaka Mein while Cara is having a Gyro Chicken Po-Boy with her mum going for Red Beans and Rice.

At 12:30 we are at the Gentilly Stage (2nd. biggest stage) for Eric Lindell. Wendy is hoping to get a photo signed of Eric that she took a few years back. Ian is upfront somewhere. Alan set up a NOLA group on WhatsApp which is a great way to keep in touch.

I went over to the Acura Stage (the biggest) to see if I could find Iggy’s Crew but I could not spot their flag. I had a listen to the Givers, but I was not overly impressed.

Time to hit the Blues Tent and catch up with old friends in the audience and the security staff. I had a few Australian road signs to give to the friends I see every year in the Blues Tent. You know the ones that depict a Kangaroo or Koala next 5 kilometres. They were all very appreciative.

I sat in for most of Sidi Touré of Mali. Fantastic African Blues. Very impressed indeed.

I mentioned a few posts ago that Jeff was working the Lagniappe Stage (under the Grandstand). It is a stage to cool down and there are always some interesting acts on. A much smaller stage and even though most of the artists are unknown to me there is always someone that plays who takes my fancy. Jeff gave us all a back-stage Artists Pass which was very nice.

We headed back to see Luther Kent and Trick Bag (Mojo Bag) at the Blues Tent. I have recommended Luther to the WOW crew. He did not disappoint. Real New Orleans R’n’B with a large horn section. Luther toured with Blood Sweat and Tears in the 70’s but never recorded with them. He got a great second line going. Even Bernie got out his hankie to wave over his head like a local.

I hung around for the next artist Samantha Fish. I like here but Wendy is not that impressed. Way Out West was asked to consider her on her upcoming November tour to Australia. We are still in negotiations.

Next, I headed back to the Lagniappe Stage for some of the band Ten Strings and a Goat Skin. That must be one of the best band names ever. They are from Canada but are playing some really good Irish fiddle music. The crowd is up and dancing.

The girls are going to finish the day at Acura where Sting is playing. I am not so keen on seeing Sting so head to Gentilly for Sturgill Simpson. Sturgill plays a jam like country rock set and he is damn good. Wendy had a portable seat mailed to our New Orleans address and although I was reluctant to take it with me I am sure glad I did. It has made the festival experience much better for me on the open outdoor stages where permeant seating is not available.

Now I am not sure I should admit this as it may get me impeached and removed as the President of WOW. I decided that seeing as I had never seen Sting (and never have wanted too) it would be silly to not give him a look. WOW, he is sensational. The sound, his voice and stage persona are all first class. He sure won me over and for me, it was the highlight of the day’s music.

We caught a bus to Esplanade and then a Street Car to Elysian Fields and walked a few blocks to the Artisan Bar which is co-owned by our fried Big Dave. Unlucky for us that Dave left a little before we got there but we did manage to catch up with Mike who is the head Chef. I had a very good Turkey Burger.

I got word on the WhatsApp from Bernie that we all have to vote 3,2 and 1 for our favourite artist of each day of Jazzfest. Here are the results:

  • 11 votes Eric Lindell
  • 8 votes Luther Kent (the love child of Alan Hart and Alan Maltman)
  • 4 votes Sting


New Orleans

Day 18 – April 26th

It will be a rest day today. We have had a few big days and tomorrow being the first day of Jazz Fest we want to be ready.

Well, it is going to be a rest day for me but not the girls they have gone out shopping (again)!

Wendy had brought her eyeglass prescription with her and was advised to try a place on Decatur called Krewe. She found a style she liked, and her prescription has now been filled for a less price than possible back home.

I went on down to the Market for a favourite beverage (and non-alcoholic). A Tropical Smoothie and muffin was nearly a healthy breakfast.

Cheryl has officially made us members of her Dac and Crowe Krewe. Cheryl and her friends have been coming down to New Orleans for Jazz Fest for over twenty years. A t-shirt is commissioned for each year. We are now members of a select Krewe of friends.

The WOW Crew have been out exploring City Park and will not be down in the Quarter tonight.

We decided on an early dinner at a little restaurant a few minutes from us. It is called Mona Lisa and you could safely assume from the name that it is Italian. The place is decorated with all styles of Mona Lisa pictures from a copy of the original to a dope smoking Mona. Very interesting. Wendy and Kate came here a few years back. The food is good and at a reasonable price. I had Spaghetti Alfredo with Veal. Check out the website to see what I mean about the Mona Lisa drawings/paintings


New Orleans


Big Sam Williams @ Lafayette Square

Day 17 – April 25th

Got word via Facebook that the ANZAC Dawn Service went well. Big congratulations to all involved especially Bob Pearman and Ernie Poole.

We were all awake early. I am talking 7 AM here. There is a team of guys right out front digging up the Street to lay fibre-optic cables. The work will be ongoing all day.

Word through from the WOW travellers, they are up and about. I gave them the address of Ruby Slipper’s on Burgundy Street in the Marigny.

We had a nice breakfast and have decided to have a walk around the Quarter. I showed the guys Frenchman Street and the Louisiana Music Factory and then on to the French Market.

We then took a walk along the Mississippi. The time was getting close to beer o’clock, so I directed the crew over to the Voodoo Garden at the House of Blues.

After a couple of rehydrating ales, we headed back to Decatur so as Ian and Jan could buy a U.S. SIM card. The rest of us went to the Crescent City Brew House also on Decatur where a Jazz Trio is playing. All the beer available is brewed right here on the premises

Al got a little adventurous and he ordered a dozen freshly shucked oysters with horseradish and ketchup on the side for me and him to share. I should have warned Al that the ersters (that’s local speak for Oysters) in these here parts are twice the size of those back home. He sure struggled to eat his share, me I could have eaten them all by myself.

Tonight, being Wednesday and free music night at Lafayette Square was the obvious place to take the crew. Two bands being the Deslondes and then Big Sam’s Funky Nation. Pat came over after work. Ross Bardin (another WOW member) caught up with us. Wendy came back from getting some food and said she ran into Brian Wise (RRR). I went over and had a chat with Brian. The music is great, but the newly arrived WOW crew are looking worn. We parted ways with plans to catch up again.

New Orleans

Day 16 – April 24th

Another lovely day in the ‘City That Care Forgot’.

The house across the road from us sold recently for 1.9 Mil. The new owner is having a new roof put on. It is interesting to watch the Honduras tradies throwing old tiles off the roof into the dumpster below. The roof itself in very steep. Only one of the guys is wearing a harness and there is no scaffolding.

The WOW crew fly in tonight. Al, Trish, Ian, Jan and Bernie, we will be catching up tomorrow for breakfast.

Cheryl and Peter arrived at 4 and we had a good time catching up.

Down to Dat dog on Frenchman for lunch. Cara has gone over to the Tattoo Parlour (Electric Ladyland) to make a booking for a new tatt, a Fleur Dis Li which is now the Rowe family emblem.

Tonight, we have been invited by Jeff and his wife Pat to visit their home in Marrero (West Bank) and we will then go on to dinner. Jeff is going to make a reservation at a local Cajun diner. We grabbed an Uber for the 20-minute drive which takes us over the Crescent City Connection. The driver is a young guy and he has on a Van der Graaf Generator t-shirt. Well, that t-shirt was a conversation starter and I think he was surprised when I told him I was a fan. We talked Prog Rock for the rest of the journey.

Jeff and Pat live in a newish estate that backs onto a natural wooded area. They have a lovely home and it was special to be invited in as friends. We talked for maybe half an hour. They told us of all the different critters that wander into their backyard. Snakes, deer and pesky armadillos that dig up the garden.

Jeff drove us about 15 minutes to a local diner Lil’ G’s Kajun Restaurant. I ordered (a half) seafood muffuletta and ate for half an hour and still could not finish it. Not sure how anyone could possibly eat a full one. I also had a couple of deep-fried frog legs. They tasted good.

Jeff drove us home around 10. It was a lovely night with very nice people. Jeff said he will be working the Lagniappe (lan-yap) Stage at Jazz Fest and he said to come and say hi.

We also got news that the WOW crew have hit NOLA.

New Orleans

Day 15 – April 23rd


Cara has arrived from Orlando this morning. Tired and hungry. The girls went down to the Clover Grill for Bacon and Eggs. I am going to wait to eat. We have an early lunch lined up with William and Mickey.

Mr B’s is an upscale restaurant on Royal Street, part of the Brennan Group of fine eating houses around New Orleans. I have been here before with William and Mickey, but it will be the first time for the girls. Mr B’s is famous for its BBQ Shrimp. No need for me to look at the menu as that will be my lunch today. It is a messy meal. Fingers required. So messy in fact that the waiter puts a bib around your neck before you dig in. Cara had a cup of Gumbo and Wendy some deep-fried Catfish. I did not make as big a mess as the last time I tackled the BBQ Shrimp. I recall having to clean my glasses that year.  The Brennan Family’s food legacy can be read here, as well as a little bit of history on the family feud.

Wendy and Cara decided to go off shopping and I went back to the apartment.

I got a message from Johnny Sansone late in the afternoon. He said that he was playing a gig in Austin, Texas last night. He ran into some Australians who are heading to N.O. for Jazz Fest. Apparently, they know me, and Johnny told them to look me up. Small world indeed.

The girls return after some six hours, Mickey and I were just about to send out a search party.


New Orleans

Day 14 – April 22nd.


I have been buccaneered!

It has been raining most of the night and continues to do so this morning. Not looking good for today’s Pinch a Palooza Festival over at Deanie’s in Bucktown. Deanie’s is a Seafood Restaurant and has a fine food selection.

Stew phoned around 10:30 and said that he and Carol would be over around noon. We are going to drive over to Bucktown regardless of the weather to see if the music is on.

We have time to go to Envies’ for a quick bite to eat. The rain is just starting to ease off. No lines at Evie’s today. We both ordered Pan Perdu (Lost Bread/French Toast). That is better, the sun is trying to break through.

Just read that the New Orleans Pelicans had a clean sweep against the Portland Trail Blazers and will now advance to the next stage of the NBA playoffs (Basketball). I remember a few years back that Kate told me the Pelicans was a hopeless basketball franchise. Not anymore, the result will surely make the locals’ party even harder.

We got over to Bucktown at 12:45. The rain has cleared, and the music is on. Yeah. Pinch a Palooza is a free music afternoon and the beer is only $3. Plenty of Crawfish to be eaten and there is also a kids and adult’s crawfish eating contest. The Bucktown Allstars played a great set (as always). The kid’s Crawfish eating contest put me to shame. I am still coming to grips with eating these little crawdaddies. There were two heats for the adults with the winner of each going through to the final. The heats consist of eating three-pound of Crawfish as fast as you can. The final sees you having to eat at least ten-pound of Crawfish in ten minutes. I got to talk to last years winner and he told me that he consumed 11.7 pounds of Crawfish in the allotted time. That many would take me three hours to eat.

Stew pointed out a local legend by the name of Vince Vance. He has the most amazing hairstyle. Sort of Donald Trump but straight up. Have a read here for a fun story about a local music eccentric

We headed back to the French Quarter so that Stew and Carol could have a look at the Tall Ships. It was worth a second view for us. The ships head out tomorrow. We are all getting a little hungry. We are close to Harrah’s Casino and end up at one of the food places inside the Casino for a baked potato (humongous), mine with Angus Beef.

Another great day thanks to another couple of New Orleans friends.


New Orleans

Day 13 – April 21st.


home with the neighbours – Scott, Sherree and Mickey

I woke up this morning (Is that a song?), barely at 11:50!

We decided to get an Uber over to Freret St. Freret stretches eight blocks from Downtown to Uptown, New Orleans. It is an area on the up and has transformed itself since Katrina into a thriving local and proud community. There a many hip eating houses. When suffering from a (slight) hangover the best cure is a hamburger. We called into the popular Company Burger. Wendy went for a Lamb Burger – Feta, Basil Mayo, Red Onion and a Chilli Mint Glaze. She is getting brave with her Chilli. About time, all that training at home when I cook (I have been upping the heat on our meals for months now) is finally paying off. I went for the house special with a Dr Pepper chaser. Wendy had a milkshake with a warning on the menu that milkshakes may contain traces of peanuts?

We walked from Freret St and took a left at the major thoroughfare, Napoleon Avenue. Beautiful big well-kept homes on a delightful wide oak-lined street. Took us about 15 minutes to reach St Charles to catch a Street Car back to Canal.

We started walking down Bourbon but even at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the place is chockers full of tourists. After a few blocks of dodging revellers, we opted to finish the walk back to the apartment by crossing over to the more sedate Royal. Street.

We had only just settled back in when we heard a second line pass our front door. It was a wedding party with Police escorts front and back. Only in New Orleans.

William had invited us out for a Crawfish Boil at 5 PM but we are still so full from the late lunch that we had to take a raincheck.

It wasn’t until 8 PM that the stomach wanted some food and I snuck out for a take-out of fish tacos.

New Orleans

Day 12 – April 20th


deep fried oyster sushi 

The first thing to do today is to go to the WWOZ radio office/studio and pick up our Brass Passes for Jazz Fest. Mission accomplished and so we headed down to the mighty Mississippi to have a look at the Tall Ships that sailed in yesterday for the tri-centennial celebrations of New Orleans. What a view it is to see lined up along the wharves (in order) the Steam Paddler Natchez about to leave the dock for a tourist run. Then the U.S. Coast Guard Ship the Cypress followed by the Tall Ships, Oosterschelda, Oliver Hazard Perry, Elissa and the Picton Castle. Not too far from these moorings is a U.S. Aircraft Carrier. It is also the start of Navy Week in New Orleans.

As you can imagine there are a lot of people out to view these magnificent vessels. A photographers dream. The area where the Coast Guard ship and the Tall Ships are moored has been fenced off however at Noon (about now) the area will be open to the public and you will be allowed to board the vessels for a look see. The lines at both entrances is very long and me not being the patient type decided not to line up yet. We have not eaten at all today, so we head over to the Food Hall at River Walk. Long lines here as well.

Once we had finished eating I had a ‘brain wave’ (that is what happens when you have one day off the booze). I decided we should catch the Ferry over to Algiers (the West Point) as it should be ideal to get some photos of all the ships lined up along the wharf. Good thinking Batman!

The mighty Mississippi fights the Ferry as we take the short trip across. Great photos both from the Ferry and Algiers Point. The river is very high, and several trees and telegraph poles are under water. I must remember to bring over the WOW crew when they get to town as this is the ideal spot to view the New Orleans skyline from the CBD to the French Quarter with a magnificent view of the cathedral.

When we got back over to city side the lines for viewing the ships up close has dropped significantly. We had a good look around and I meet a couple of pirates.

At 3:30 we are back at the apartment to rest up for tonight debauchery. We are due to meet Pat and Bob around 9 PM at Johnny White’s. I know from previous years that it is going to be a late one.

We went out at 7:30 for a bite to eat. Finished up at the Corner Oyster House, I have never eaten here before. We don’t want a big meal, but the stomach must be lined. We shared a dozen charbroiled oysters and Wendy had a small cup of Gumbo and I had a Crawfish Pie. It is a little chilly tonight.

We passed a classy meat restaurant called Dori’s. All the meat is aged between 21 to 31 days and is on display. Very impressive as are the prices. Thirty Four-ounce Porterhouse $85, Japanese Wagyu Tenderloin $185. No, we will not be eating there.

We got to Jimmy White’s and Pat and Bob were already at the bar. Another great night of laughs and stories. Evil Bob kept the drinks coming. 12:30 AM Bob said to me that ‘I was looking a little puffed’. He had been reading my blog and likes the term ‘puffed’. I think we got home about 1:30!

New Orleans

Day 11 –  April 19th


hanging with an Indian @ FQF

Well, it has caught up with me, the having a good time that is. Today is a rest day. The mind is willing, but the body is saying take a day off, you old bastard.

Wendy is going out to dinner with Pat tonight together with a couple of her friends. Me I just settled in for a Jurassic Park movie marathon.

The only time I went out was to get something for tea from the Verti Mart. In bed by 8:30. Tomorrow night is going to be a big one, so I must be ready to party way after midnight.

New Orleans

Day 10 – April 18th


with Al ‘Carnival Time’ Johnson @ FQF


We are up late again. Sort of becoming a habit, this getting up late.

Found a place we had not been to before for a late breakfast. Petite Amelie on Royal Street. Reminds me a little of Envies, the staff are very friendly. I went for a smoked salmon BLT bagel. An interesting combination but believe me it works.

We sort of just hung around for most of the day and then headed out at 4:30 for the free music at Lafayette Square. Couldn’t ask for a better night weather wise. I grabbed a Creole Cream Ale and we settled in for the first band – Darcy Malone and the Tangle – Darcy is the daughter/niece of New Orleans music greats Dave Malone and Tommy Malone.

This paragraph is for Melanie, Kate, Cara, Zac, Madden and Gumbo. Your mum/granny has just come back to me from buying herself a spicy pulled port po-boy!

The main act tonight is the legendary Wayne Toups. Wayne has been melding Zydeco and Rock for decades. I have not seen him perform live before, but I am sure glad I have now. Real entertaining, a fantastic band of highly talented musicians.

I love coming down to Lafayette Square on a Wednesday evening. It is pretty much all locals out to enjoy Louisiana music in all its myriad forms. I know this is a local crowd and there ain’t anyone here wearing beads. Such a great community/family feel. People greeting friends, walking dogs, little kids, plenty of food and cold beverages. New Orleanians enjoying their city in all its glory. I spotted a guy I have been seeing for years at gigs and concerts. We just sort of nodded to each other. He would be older than me with a grey beard and long grey hair tied back. He came back our way after five or so minutes and stopped for a chat. Introduced himself as John and asked where we were from. He picked up on our accent and knew we were Australian. Turns out he is English (Muswell Hill), not that I could pick his U.K accent. He told us he came to New Orleans in 1977 for Mardi Gras and never went home! Of all things, he wanted to talk cricket. He knew all about the Steve Smith, Warner and Bancroft ball tampering debacle. He wasn’t being smart about it though, in fact, he thought they had been hard done by. He gets all his cricket information online.

A guy just went past with a trolley ‘the roving anti-trump bandwagon’. I’m onboard that one.

Wednesday night after the music is my traditional casino night. We lost $40 but it took a long time and Wendy took advantage of the free Margaritas. I think she is getting a little tipsy. We decided to bar hop home (as you do in New Orleans) We called into a Mexican bar (Felipe’s) and walked into Kermit Ruffins as he was coming out with his take-out. I told him we were Facebook friends and he was cool to talk to. Hopefully, we will get to his bar next Monday. Wendy got talking to a guy from Boston who works for the Brewer Samuel Adams. He is in town for a convention. Nice guy, he gave us his email address and if we are ever in Boston he wants to show us around the Brewery.

Time to move on and we called into Johnny White’s. A favourite drinking hole of Pat and Bobs. Out friend the barman (Evil Bob not to be confused as Pat’s Bob) greeted us like long lost friends. Wendy had a Fireball to end the night and we headed home.