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.