Three Muses

Day 27 – April 29th

Is All You Need

On the other hand, you have different fingers. Steven Wright

It has taken me hours to catch up with my blog. I have nothing much planned for today. Recovery from 4 days of music is the priority.

I am meeting Stew and Carol at Three Muses on Frenchman. Stew has a couple of Offbeat magazines that feature Luke Winslow-King on the cover and he hopes to get them autographed.

I went over to the Louisiana Music Factory (also on Frenchman), looking to pick up a couple of CD’s of Mr Sipp. I forgot that there are live in-house performances on during the Jazz fest weekends and when I got there Anders Osborne was about to perform. The store is packed so I have put off looking for the CD’s until next week.

Stew and Carol saw me going into the market on Frenchman and caught up with me. They have two friends with them that came down from Michigan, for Stew’s party.

We had a nice meal at the Lebanese cafe, Mona’s. Truth be known I was craving some lamb, a meat that is not readily available around town.

Stew thought that Luke was due to start playing at 7 however the start time is 8. He got his magazines signed and as the other couple were flying out early the next morning they all left for an early night.

Although I also should have an early night, I decided to go and get a spot at the bar of Three Muses and await the show. Three Muses is one of the smaller restaurant/bars on Frenchman. The stage is tiny and if the band has more than four members someone always ends up playing from the floor.

Luke started on time. He has Roberto Luti (Tuscany) on guitar, a fiddle player and upright bass. I was standing next to a young couple. They introduced them selves as husband and wife and local New Orleans residents. They are both Academics. The guy specializes in the Muslim population of China and more particularly their persecution. He has been to China a number of times for research but has been warned that if he ever went to China again he would be arrested. The young lady, Laura, gave me her Business Card. She is as Assistant Professor at LOYOLA University in the English Department, in the capacity of Director, Modern Slavery Research Project. Both of then are obviously very intelligent. They told me they lived in the Marigny near Iggy’s Bar. They had come to Three Muses for Luke’s performance as they are big fans.

I got to talk to both Roberto and Luke during their first break. Roberto told me that he had lived in New Orleans for a number of years but was kicked out for overstaying his Visa. This is his first trip back to NOLA. Guess where he flew in from? Brisbane! He had just finished playing at the Byron Bay Blues Festival. He told me the name of the band he was with but stupid me forgot to write it down. Also he has a very thick Italian accent.

Luke gave me his contact details. He is trying to get a tour of Australia together for next year, including Byron Bay. He told me he played at the Spotted Mallard in Melbourne not that long ago. I never heard of that tour as I would have went to see him. I really dig his music. WOW members. Keep your fingers crossed that we can get him to our club.

I stayed for all three sets. Finished the night with a nice margarita. So much for an early night. I got back to my crib at 11:30. Peter was out front and he asked me how my night had been. I said, I’m a little pissed’. He showed concern and asked me what I was upset about. I had to explain to him the Johnny Sansone definition of ‘good pissed’ as opposed to ‘bad pissed’ being angry/upset.

Jazz Fest

April 25th through 28th

A fool and his money are soon elected. Will Rogers

Stew’s 80th

Day One

First day of of the 50th anniversary of Jazz Fest and ANZAC Day back home.

Well, well, well, the weather people are spot on. It is hissing down today including thunder and lightning. A check of the web and the opening of Jazz Fest has been delayed until further notice. That is sad on many(weather) fronts, not least for the opening acts who now miss out on their gig at the major milestone of Jazz Fest. I am determined to go out to the Fest and await a break in the weather.

I got out to the Fairgrounds at 1 PM, two hours after the scheduled opening. There are not a lot of people about. Mainly due to another major weather front due at 3 pm. I am a little nervous as I make my way through security. This is the first year that I have not purchased a Brass Pass, due to the fact they sold out so quickly. I purchased my tickets online and downloaded them to my phone. I am thinking, what if my phone conks out, what if I can’t find them on the phone. I am pleased to say that I have mastered the technology and got in quickly. No lines at all, the sky is black as.

As is my first day tradition, I headed to Miss Linda’s food concession and got a Yaka Mein. I had just slurped the last of this wonderful soup and the heavems opened. I made a dash (slowly) to the closest music tent. The Economy Hall Tent is the place to listen to the more traditional type of old style Jazz. It is 1:45 and I am going to be here for a considerable time as the rain is now torrential. I am prepared with my rain jacket and waterproof booties.

I am doubly disappointed in the weather as I wanted to be at the Gentilly Stage to see Amy Helm perform, Amy is the daughter of the legendary Levon. It is just to damn wet.

Not to matter, as the *New Orleans Swamp Donkeys are playing some great Dixieland Jazz. Locals always make the best of any weather situation in NOLA. If you live here it is a fact of life that you are going to get wet on a regular basis. James Williams, the Louis Armstrong sounding front-man, sang ‘Up A Lazy River adding that flows through Jazz Fest.’

*A Swamp Donkey is a member of a New-Orleans based traditional jazz band that plays old style jazz from the 1900s – 1930s. Founded in October 2012, they’ve already sold out major venues and rocked stages for thousands, in the United States and abroad.

The rain had dropped down to a ‘light shower’ as I headed over to the blues tent. Water lays heavily on the ground.

I got there in time to see the last few songs of Meschiya Lake and The Little Big Horns. Meschiya always puts on a great show. As could be expected the tent is packed with people.

My main aim today has been to see the Doobie Brothers. A band I last saw perform at Festival Hall back in the seventies. The rain has stopped. The Dobbies are on the main Acura Stage and because of the rain and mud the usually full viewing area is sparsely populated. It looks like a lot of punters have totally abandoned the day.

I got myself a good spot and listened to some great music. I even got to hear the Doobie Brothers sing the classic Little Feat song ‘Dixie Chicken.’ I then realized that the keyboard player is Bill Payne who played with Little Feat. Strange indeed, Little Feat will be performing next weekend, I wonder what Doobie song they will sing!

The band broke into ‘Jesus is Just Alright,’ just as the sun broke-out for the first time today. The crowd gave a huge cheer as they looked and bowed to the sun. The Times-Picayune were not glowing in the review of the set but I myself thought it excellent. The last half-hour certainly rocked with hit after hit.

I then made my way back to see the final few songs from *Toronzo Cannon. I saw Geoff Proctor and got a seat next to him to catch up on the gossip. I have a couple of Toronzo’s albums, he sure can play. *‘Singer songwriter and blues guitarist Toronzo Cannon grew up on the South side of Chicago. His influences include B.B.King, Albert Collins, Buddy Guy and Jimi Hendrix.’ – Offbeat Jazz Fest Bible

The last act for today is Taj Mahal and the Phantom Blues Band. The last time I saw Taj (here at Jazz Fest), he looked tired, and his voice was a little thin. Not today however, he was rockin’ like a twenty year old and his band were right behind him in enthusiasm and talent. Jon Cleary and Ivan Neville were both on keyboards. A great set of classic blues as only Taj can deliver.

Despite the inclement weather it was a fantastic start to the 50th Jazz Fest.

Day Two

Weather for day two could not be more different than yesterday. Bright and sunny.

There was a short wait for the bus, which in itself is different for New Orleans Public Transport.

I know the saying ‘it’s a small world,’ gets bandied around a lot. However I seem to run into so many people I know, when in New Orleans. When I got off the bus, I heard someone say. ‘is that Rob Rowe?’ I was able to answer in the affirmative. Bugger me, it is ‘Big Boy Lemonade,’ aka Andy Ogden. A fantastic keyboard player from Melbourne who has been to Way Out West many times. I asked Andy what he was up to as I had not seen him around our music scene for sometime. He told me that he has been living in Rhode Island for theses last 3 years and is married to an American lady.

For the first time ever, I thought I would try and get a wrist band, that would allow me to take advantage of the special seating arrangements at the different stages. I showed them my MS card and got a wristband for the weekend. I went over to the Gentilly stage to catch *Bonerama. A New Orleans favourite. They were excellent. The singers sixteen year old son came out and played the trombone and sang liked a seasoned veteran.

* A multi trombone band playing jazz, funk and classic rock. – Offbeat Jazz Fest Bible

I then went over to the Fais Do Do stage to see my friends Stew and Carol who always set up their deck-chairs under a shady tree at Fais Do Do. Tomorrow, I have the honor of being invited to Stew’s 80th Birthday Party.

Back to the Gentilly Stage for another New Orleans staple, ‘*the Subdudes.’ I sat with Brian Wise, he also has a wrist band for special seating. He is limping as bad as I am and he told me he is having a knee operation as soon as he returns home. I know most of the Subdudes tunes as they have been a favourite of mine for years.

*Tommy Malone – fronted roots rock outfit draws on a mix of New Orleans music styles along with plenty of groove. – Offbeat Jazz Fest Bible

By 3 pm I am at the Lagniappe stage for *Luke Winslow King. A young blues slide guitarist with a real good voice. I love his style and the way he treats his audience. Better than some people who are near me and just want to talk among themselves. I HATE THAT.

*A Michigan native who studied music at UNO, Winslow-King is both a performer and musicologist combining the sound of early 20th century New Orleans with the smarts of a modern songwriter. – Off Beat Jazz Fest Bible

Back to the Gentilly stage for a band that I know nothing about. The Heads and The Hearts. Not bad and a band that Kate and Cara may like.

My mission today has always been to go and see Santana. I trekked the outside race tack to the Acura Stage. I went in at entry seventeen. Another ‘small world’ moment. The Fess Security guy for that area

said ‘hey, I was wondering if you were over this year?’ He is an African American who normally works the Abita stage at FQF. Told me that he did work FQF but at a different stage this year. I said,’good to see you again.’ as he gave me one of those cool fist pumps. ‘Boy it is crowded in here,’ ‘I may have to try somewhere else to get a viewing spot. ‘No man,’ he said, ‘you put your seat right there in front of me!’

Just before Santana was due on stage the big screens started showing the Santana performance at Woodstock with the famous ‘rain chant’ blaring from the huge bank of speakers. All of a sudden the band (Santana) started playing the chant live. It was pure magic. Lots of hits including a masterful playing of my favourite instrumental ‘Europa.’ I can also state categorically that to hear ‘Black Magic Woman.’ being played in New Orleans is nothing short of surreal.

I decided to finish off the day at the Blues tent with the Robert Cray band. I know Mr Smith is not a fan, he just wants Cray to cut loose on the guitar. I like what he plays, cool funky blues with the most soulful of voices. I guess we all have slightly different tastes as Blues fans.

Day Three

Another perfect weather day. It is back to normal with the bus frequency, that is no bus for half an hour. I got shitty and hailed a cab.

I got a hot-tamale from a Mexican street vendor and a home made lemonade.

I am comfortably settled in the Blues tent for Johnny Sansone at 11.15. Killer set with some extraordinary guitar work from John Fohl. Johnny introduced his set with,’ good morning you morning people.’

By 12: I was at the Lagniappe stage for *Marshland. Really enjoyed the show. They had a special guest come on (Robyn Barnes), who sang ‘Amazing Grace’ seguing into ‘I’ll Fly Away,’ spine tingling. *Formally called Nola Country, Marshland performs self-described ‘Louisiana Americana,’ blending American roots music with Louisiana culture and New Orleans improvisation.’ – Offbeat Jazz Fest Bible

Back to the Blues tent at 1:40 for ‘the New Orleans Piano Professors: Celebrating Professor Longhair, James Booker, Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Domino Allen Toussaint and Dr. John featuring the current Piano Professors – John Cleary, Davell Crawford, Tom McDermott, Al ‘Lil Fats’ Jackson, David Torkanowsky and John ‘Papa’ Gros. Standing room only in the Blues Tent for an incredible rendition of fabulous music. Each artist performed a couple of songs from each legend. A note regrading Dr. John who is the only surviving older Professor. The good Doctor has not performed for over a year now. He must truly be very sick to not even make it to the 50th anniversary. Someone told me, and don’t take this as gospel, that he may have dementia?

At 2:55 *Mr Sipp (the Mississippi Blues Child) has the place jumping and dancing from the first song. I know that Wendy saw him perform last year and was very impressed. So am I now. Great energetic show.

* Singer songwriter and guitarist Castro Coleman, a.k.a. Mr Sipp, is from McComb, Mississippi. He started playing the guitar at age six. He has won several awards for his Malaco recordings and was featured in the James Brown movie ‘Get On Up’. – Offbeat Jazz Fest Bible

One show that I had earmarked before leaving home was Maria Muldaur’s (Midnight at the Oasis) tribute to the bawdy Blu Lu Barker. I still have visions of the 70’s self-titled album cover. I know we have all aged but gee my fantasy is now destroyed. I hung in for a few songs before heading back to my crib. I have to shower and shave and generally pretty myself up for Stew’s birthday bash which starts at 6:30 at Woodies @ MRB.

As is my want I got the early and had an Abita at the bar. The guests started arriving and we were direected to a hidden court-yard out back. It was very special to be invited to what is a family and close friends celebration. About thirty people all up. I was made to fell very welcome and many of the guests came over to introduce themselves and have a chat. I even got mentioned in Stew’s speech as his good cobber from down-under. Lots of New Orleans food including a Crawfish Boil. The spiciest Boil I have ever eaten in all my trips to New Orleans. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

I got back home around 10;30. Cheryl and her crew were sitting out on the balcony enjoying some night-caps and I was asked to join them. I did. Gunna be tired tomorrow. Cheryl told me that just before I got back, a couple of Aussies stopped after seeing the flag. Cheryl explained why it was flying and that she had been told to watch out for undesirables, apparently the Aussies thought that very funny.

Day Four

Very slow out of the block today. Another gorgeous day, as I headed to the bus-stop. Saw a cool t-shirt, ‘I am not arguing, I am just proving I am right.’ I ran into Brian and his wife Karen and we waited some ten minutes for the Number 91 that takes us to the Fairgrounds.

Today’s breakfast was a new taste sensation, Brazilian Cheese Bread with a fiery Chili Sauce.

By 12:30 I wasz settled at the Acura Stage for another tribute. The music of Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew. I have been abbreviating the name of the festival to Jazz Fest as everyone does. It is, however, ‘The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.’ The history of New Orleans music is very important to the festival, as it should be. The artists performing are Bonnie Raitt, Irma Thomas, Davell Crawford, Jon Cleary (he is everywhere), Al ‘Lil Fats’ Jackson and featuring the Fats Domino Orchestra. Great stuff.

Back to the Lagniappe stage for the *Driskill Mountain Boys. Think the Soggy Bottom Boys from the movie “Brother Where Ought Thou,’ and you have the picture. Loved it.

*The highest point in Louisiana isn’t much of a mountain, but the Boys can pick Bluegrass as well as any in Appalachia Classics, original and real country humor to boot. – Offbeat Jazz Fest Bible

Over to the Fais Do Do stage for *Roddie Romero and the Hub City Allstars. I found me a little shaded spot and listened to the music with my eyes closed. I may, if truth be told, have nodded off. Nothing to do with the music as it was first rate. Just tired.

*’Eclectic Cajun, zydeco, swamp pop and rock ‘n’ roll.’ – Offbeat Jazz Bible

Van ‘the Man’ Morrison is due on at the Acura stage at 5:35. I wonder if we are going to get ‘good Van or bad Van?’. As I made my way around the track I stopped at the Congo Square stage for a couple of songs for the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Famers, the O’Jays. A big mostly black crowd are jammed into the viewing area. The are very good, just not my style of listening music. Old school, smooth as silk R’n’B love songs.

I got to the Acura stage and caught the last 30 minutes of Bonnie Raitt, including the song ‘Angel of Montgomery.’ She then brought out Boz Scaggs to sing a tribute song to Allen Toussaint. Guess what, Jon Cleary has bobbed up again, the hardest working man at the festival

I got settled in for Van, as I said he is due on at 5:35. To my great surprise he started 5 minutes early. I think we got good Van, you never really know as he never talks. I very much enjoyed the show.

Come 6:20 and I walked around to hear a few songs from Louisiana legend Johnny Rivers on the Blues Stage. Johnny was added to the bill at late notice due to the illness of Jerry Lee Lewis. Johnny had many a hit song in the early 60’s. He is not a young man but looks fit and healthy and his voice is very strong. I got to hear his version of ‘The House Of The Rising Sun’, as well as the classic ‘Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu.

Next weekend I will take the camera with me to get some artists shots for y’all. It is time to go home and rest. So much great music and still another four days to go.

Artisan Bar

Day Twenty-Two – April 24th

Big Dave and Pat @ the Artisan

When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realized that the Lord doesn’t work that way so I stole one and asked Him To forgive me. Emo Phillips

Firstly my apologies for being five days behind with the blog. I always have good intentions to blog each morning but once Jazz Fest comes around I get so tired that I am always running late.

William called in this morning to say he needed to postpone our lunch date at Mr. B’s, he is coming down with a bad cold. That sort of worked out good as Pat also messaged me to say she is getting off work at 1 and will pick me up to go over to the Artisan Bar for lunch with Big Dave.

Betty and Steve came in late, from Kansas City last night, a thirteen hour drive. They will be staying with Cheryl next door. Both Betty and Steve have become good friends over the years.

It is an overcast day and the weather report for the first day of Jazz Fest (tomorrow) is looking sad.

Pat arrived about 1:15 and we were at the Artisan within 10 minutes. Big Dave was already eating a late breakfast. You do that here in New Orleans. Your meals are not dictated by any given time. Makes sense for a 24 hour city. Conner is our barman today, nice guy and very friendly. I ordered the Chicken Alfredo and Pasta. Very tasty, but oh so rich a sauce. We had a few Blue Moons (beer) but the meal has made me feel very bloated. I asked Conner for something to settle the stomach. He made me a Tonic and Bitters and it worked a treat.

Big Dave has been drinking a Margarita so I decided to try one as well, Conner asked, ‘do you want it the same as I make for Dave?’ ‘Sure do.’ It tasted divine, my new favourite Margarita that includes Grand Marnier floating on top. They may well be lethal.

At 4:30 we pulled up stumps and headed for the free music at Lafayette Square.

The first band were called Iceman Special, they are pretty good. Their music is described as Swamp Funk. They will also be playing in the second weekend of Jazz Fest.

The main band for the night is Marc Broussard. We sat in for half the set and then headed out. Big day tomorrow with it being the start of Jazz Fest.

Countdown to Jazz Fest

Days Twenty and Twenty-One

The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The People You Meet!

The next couple of days will definitely be rest days for me. I have to get myself ready for Jazz Fest.

Not sure if you call it breakfast, if your first meal of the day is 1:10 pm. Also the choice of meal (Pizza) may not be a breakfast meal. I sat outside at the Louisiana Pizza Kitchen, across from the Old Mint and the French Market. I ordered the Hangover Pizza and told my waiter that I was not really hungover. He gave me that New Orleans look to say ‘yeah sure, I believe ya.’ The pizza was delicious, 2 yard eggs, bell pepper, red onion, jalapenos, bacon and prosciutto, all on a super thin a crispy crust. If I did indeed have a hangover then I have been cured.

The newspaper is reporting good weather until Thursday (first day of Jazz Fest). Thunderstorms are predicted.

I have been getting updates from Al and Trish through What’s App detailing their trip down to Patagonia and then on to a road trip through Argentina. Fantastic photos and once in a life-time adventures are being had.


Took a walk down to St Louis St to get me a Po Boy at Johnny’s Po Boy. On the way over I heard a group of people trying to work out who wrote ‘A Street Car Named Desire?’ One of them commented to look it up on Google. As I passed I said. ‘it was Tennessee Williams.’ One of them said, thank you, do you live here?’ The were somewhat bemused when they recognized my accent was a long way from New Orleans, although they seemed impressed with my knowledge of Tennessee Williams.

There must be a Cruise Ship in town as Royal Street is chockers with groups of tourists wearing name tags.

Johnny’s Po Boys was established in 1950. I don’t think the decor has been changed since their opening. I have been trying a few Po Boy places as recommended by a New Orleans Survey of the best places to eat the said Po Boy. I really wanted to get to Parkways Bakery (nominated the best) but it is not open on a Tuesday. There was a line of people waiting to be served. I finally got to order a Veal Parmesan Po Boy. Took about 10 minutes to prepare. Lucky that I arrived when I did as one of the Cruise Ship groups just came in and the line to be served now stretches to the door.

I must now confess that I have weakened. No, not the alcohol backslide. I have visited the Louisiana Music Factory for the first time this trip. I now have a Blaze Foley CD, two Grayson Capps and another Andrew Duhon. I asked if the had the DVD Blaze but alas no.

I waited out on the stoop for the arrival of Cheryl and Peter who are coming in from L.A. for the two weeks of Jazz Fest. Wendy and I have become very good friends with them over the years. They arrived just after four.

I went out around 7 pm to go down to the Verti-Mart for a take-out. Cheryl and Peter had the same idea and we both opened our doors to leave at the same time. After getting our food they invited me into their apartment to share the meal. It was great to catch up with all the news. From previous blogs you may recall that Cheryl has worked in the music industry for all of her working life. She told me a great story of meeting Keith Richards when she was just 22 years old. Said he was real nice and down to earth.

Easter Sunday

Day Nineteen

The Big Bad Wolf – Chris Owen Parade

A man is a success if if gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to. Bob Dylan

Today is Parade Day in NOLA. Three parades in all, celebrating Easter.

What a mighty fine day and night I had yesterday. Will need a sleep-in. But alas that was not to be. Around 8:30 I was woken by a Brass Band playing some religious tunes right out front of my crib. Not sure if it was an intentional attempt to save my soul?

Back down to Envie for a breakfast sandwich accompanied with cheesy grits.

So many people wearing Easter Bonnets and that is just the guys! Read that the Bulldogs were beaten by the bottom side Carlton. After a promising start to the season all things are now back to normal.

The first Parade of the day is orientated toward the kids and is on early. I will go to the second Parade (Chris Owens) which kicks off at one.

Mickey and I sat out front and watched very smartly dressed people going about their Easter Sunday rituals. New Orleans is still very much a Catholic city.

A group of young party girls are out celebrating a Hen’s Party. They stopped because of the Australian flag flying from the roof. The bride to be is Australian as is another of the party.

The streets are already lined with people. The Parade will run down Bourbon and take a left on St Philip before turning right on Royal. There are marching bands, tricked up cars, floats, dancers and Elvis impersonators on mini-bikes. The Chris Owens float went by and she was smiling and waving but I am sure she is hurting from the loss of her long-term partner a few weeks ago. As with all Parades in New Orleans there are lots of beads and stuffed animals being thrown to the crowds. The serious collectors bring baskets to carry their booty. I scored a Zebra patterned hat and a large carrot! I have learned from previous trips to not collect dozens of beads as they way a ton when being carried back home in your suitcase.

The next Parade (Gay Easter Parade) starts at 4:30 and will go right past our place. As it is a beautiful day yet again, I got myself a six-pack of Bud’s from the Quarter Master, price $7.77 plus tax. People start lining the street from 4 o’clock. The Parade makes our place just after five. As you can imagine it is a most interesting spectacle. Lots of laughter. Wendy also got to watch the Parade from William’s security camera. Our L.A. friend Cheryl who will taking the apartment next door to me this Tuesday sent a link to access the street view.

I have taken a hundred photos of the participants. I will upload a few over the next few days and provide a link for enjoyment.

Ah, Easter in NOLA. If you want religion you can have it, if you want debauchery then that is available as well. One may get you to heaven but the other is a hell of a lot more fun.


Days Seventeen and Eighteen

Don’t do drugs because if you do drugs you’ll go to prison, and drugs are really expensive in prison. John Hardwick

Crawfish Boil

Good Friday

I am combining two days of blogging into one. Honestly, I did nothing much on Good Friday. I’m even too tired to go to church (just kidding.)

I was real slow getting moving, after a big night at Chickee Wah Wah.

Got me a Preston Patty Melt and Root Beer at Belle’s Diner. The Easter holiday weekend has brought a lot of visitors to town. The weather forecast for the three days is looking very good. Pretty much just hung out on the balcony and chilled the whole afternoon.

Easter Saturday

I am going to make up for yesterday’s lazy day with a full-on one today. Went down to Café Envie. I have now been informed after nine visits to New Orleans that I am pronouncing Envie incorrectly. Nothing new there for New Orleans. It should be OnVee, a French pronunciation.

I had a read of the newspaper while eating my Danish and drinking a Café Latte. It never ceases to amaze, that the same news can be reported with different outcomes. I am talking about the release of the Mueller report into Trump’s campaign win. The left shouts long and hard that he has not been exonerated while the right has a completely opposite view. We will have to wait until (if it happens) the report is released without being heavily redacted. I got talking to a couple of New Zealanders. Interesting, as one works in London and the other in Madrid. They must have had a big day, yesterday as they are both drinking a beer while eating breakfast. One of the guys made a common novice mistake. He order chips instead of fries and got a handful of potato chips with his omelet.

I also read one of the street press publications (Antigravity.) There is an extensive review on the 20th anniversary of the incredible Lucinda Williams album ‘Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.’ One of my favorite songs on the album is ‘Drunken Angel.’ A song written in dedication to Blaze Foley. Funny how things happen. Here I was two days ago watching Ben Dickey who played Blaze in a movie. I did not know (my ignorance) that ‘Drunken Angel’ was about Blaze. ‘Why’d you have to let go of your guitar?’ ‘Why’d you have to let it go that far?’ Blaze was tragically shot dead at the age of 38.

The Aussie neighbor I have told you about (Nerolie) has invited me to a Crawfish Boil over in Broodmoor. A fifteen minute drive. One of her work colleagues has invited her and extended the invitation to me. The house is on Sth. Prieur. Sue and Pat (the owners) welcomed me with open arms. The first boil is underway. Neighbors, friends and family are dropping in. Most houses in New Orleans do not have front fences which lends to a more welcoming scene. There is a long trestle table, covered with brown pap set up for the cooked mud-bugs. Seats are set up on the front lawn. I meet everyone that came to the boil. The first sitting was piled onto the table, together with the mud-bugs were whole red potatoes, corn cobs and whole garlic cloves.

I was again shown how to suck the head and slide out the tail meat with my teeth. The locals can eat ten to my one. The food was magnificent, very spicy. There was another two boils of food to eat. The second sitting included Brussel Sprouts. Best ever way I have eaten sprouts.

So privileged to have been invited.

I was back at my crib by 4:30 to rest and prepare for a 7 o’clock pick-up. Pat and Gentilly Jnr are coming to get me to go over to Big Dave’s Artisan bar and restaurant on St. Claude. Big Dave has become a good friend of Wendy and mine. I sat out on the stoop to await my good friends arrival. There are many people (somewhat inebriated) walking in both directions of Bourbon. A group of young African Americans waved at us and to my surprise one of the plump girls lifted up her top to flash her bra-less titty. A couple of pirates in full regalia sauntered past. Many of the strollers are drinking those damn awful, sickly handgrenades. Then a young guy with a well groomed beard and proudly standing breasts, t-shirt pulled up to reveal his/her ripped stomach. The inscription on the shirt ‘It’s None Of Your Business.’ Indeed it isn’t.

We got to the bar just after seven. Kevin the barman said g’day. Big Dave came in a short time later. He had a booth selling food and boozed at the inaugural 420 Festival over on Washington Square. I would have gone to that Festival if not for the invite to the Crawfish Boil. Now what you say is a 420 Festival. It is a marijuana festival (without the actual weed), music, food and speeches about the benefits of medical marijuana. Check it out here

You may also ask why 420?

In 1971, five high school students – Steve Capper, Dave Reddix, Jeffrey Noel, Larry Schwartz, and Mark Gravich – in San Rafael, California, calling themselves the Waldos because “their chosen hang-out spot was a wall outside the school”, used the term in connection with a 1971 plan to search for an abandoned cannabis crop that they had learned about, based on a treasure map made by the grower. The Waldos designated the Louis Pasteur statue on the grounds of San Rafael High School as their meeting place, and 4:20 pm. as their meeting time. The Waldos referred to this plan with the phrase “4:20 Louis”. After several failed attempts to find the crop, the group eventually shortened their phrase to simply “4:20”, which ultimately evolved into a code-word that the teens used to mean consuming cannabis.

Mike Edison says that Steven Hager of High Times was responsible for taking the story about the Waldos to “mind-boggling, cult-like extremes” and “suppressing” all other stories about the origin of the term. Hager wrote “Stoner Smart or Stoner Stupid?”, in which he attributed the early spread of the phrase to Grateful Dead followers – after Reddix became a roadie for the Dead’s bassist, Phil Lesh – and called for 4:20 pm. to be the socially accepted hour of the day to consume cannabis.Urban Dictionary

It was great catching up with Big Dave. A cool looking black dude came in and set-up his music player and started accompanying the recorded music with his brilliant trumpet playing. It took me a few minutes before I remembered where I had seen him before. He was a member of Cyril Neville’s band at the FQF. He played for half an hour or so.

Later in the night the smoke-alarm went off for a brief period in the kitchen, Dave said, ‘I hope the Fire Brigade don’t respond, it can be costly.’ As the words left his lips, we could hear a fire-siren and the truck pulled up out front. Bummer.

After many Blue Moon beers we called it a night. The next morning I saw in my journal that Pat had written the following: ‘Not my fault, I promised to get you home early – 12:52am.’ Oh well, what does early mean in New Orleans anyway?

PRIEUR: Denis Prieur became mayor of New Orleans in 1828 and served the city for ten years, elected nearly unanimously each term. During his mayoralty, he approved the taxing of gambling houses, prohibited the exhibition of slaves for sale in the more frequented parts of the city and battled deadly cholera outbreaks. But Prieur is better known for what occurred after he left office.

On March 28, 1843, Prieur fought a duel with Louisiana senator George A. Waggaman. The former senator and former mayor fought over a “family affair of long standing” that could not be “settled” any other way.324 Prieur shot Waggaman through “the front part of the legs of his pantaloons, between the knee and the ankle,” forcing Waggaman to have his leg amputated. One northern newspaper commented, “It is not the least of the ridiculous notions that make humanity to be laughed at, the wounds of the honor are only to be healed by wounds in the body.”325 Unfortunately, Waggaman died from his wounds a few days later. Prieur died in 1857, and less than twenty years later, the city named a street after the dueling mayor.

Asher, Sally. Hope & New Orleans: A History of Crescent City Street Names (Landmarks) . The History Press. Kindle Edition.


Blaze Foley

Day Sixteen

Why should we take any sex advice from the Pope? If he knows anything about it. He shouldn’t. George Bernard Shaw

St Louis Cathedral (rear view)

William is waiting for me on the stoop just after 8 am. Thursday is his shopping day. There is a Rouses’ Market here in the Quarter but it nothing like the size of the Supermarkets we are used to back home. We drove over to Mid-City to shop at a Win Dixie, which is similar to Coles New World or Safeway. Lots of fresh produce and many two for one items.

We were done and dusted just after 9 and back home at 9:20. The streets of the French Quarter are washed down each morning, firstly, by a sweeper truck and then another truck spraying a high pressured water spray and some sort of disinfectant that helps clean up the previous night’s excesses. This happens every morning on the left-hand side of the streets. Because of the narrow streets in the Quarter there is no parking allowed on the left-hand side of streets for either locals or tourists. However on Thursdays there is no parking allowed on the right hand side of the streets. Even the locals must not park on the street that morning. What a great pain in the butt this is for people with parking permits. They all keep an eye out for the cleaning trucks and quickly more their cars to another street. The parking officers are ruthless on Thursdays. I watched with amusement as a truck makes its way down the street and the driver spots an illegal parker. He stops, gets on the radio and a few minutes later a tow truck is on the scene. Within another few minutes the offending cart is off to the pound. The two cleaning vehicles follow and sweep and wash the right side of the street. Two cars were towed from our block this morning.

Kate has sent through a Facebook message warning me of the Tornado alert for this afternoon. I don’t think the family back home have any confidence in my ability to stay safe.

I headed out to Envie’s for a Cranberry Scone and Iced Latte. There are many familiar faces in the café. Envies’ is a hangout for aging gray-haired ponetailed hippies.

John, the delivery guy from the corner Quarter Master told me that he anticipates the storm coming in around 2:30-3 pm. Although he did say not to be surprised if the storm is not as bad as is being anticipated. Storms such as this often hit the North Shore and then miss New Orleans proper. We will wait and see.

By Noon it is a little dark with a few spots of rain. By 4 o’clock it is evident that John was correct in his assessment. The rain is heavy with a little distant thunder but it is nothing to write home about (even though I am, I guess!)

The Aussie neighbor I told you about earlier knocked on the door. She has invited me to an afternoon Easter Crawfish boil with her friends in Uptown this Saturday. I will have to take it easy as I am meeting up with Pat and Gentilly Jnr that same night. I though she told me her name was Narelle, however she gave me her Business Card and it is Nerolie. She works as an Annual Fund Manager with the University of New Orleans. She said she had won a ten year working Green Card in a lottery. Her dog even made the trip from Australia to call New Orleans home.

I am off to Chickie Wah Wah to meet up with Johnny Sansone and his partner Michelle. The music club opens at 5 with the support act staring at 6:30. I hailed a cab from my stoop at 5:15. I said to the cab driver, ‘what happened to the storm?’ He said, ‘you don’t never listen to the weather man in New Orleans.’ ‘ You gotta listen to the man that makes the weather!’

I got to Chickee Wah Wah’s just after 5:30. I am the only one in the bar. Even the support act (Phil DeGruy) is not in yet. The barman introduced himself (Murf), he has a show on WWOZ called the ‘New Orleans Music Show.’ The owner of the club, Dale Triguero, came over and sat and talked to me for ages. He knew Melbourne well as back in 1991 he did an East Coast motorbike tour of Australia. He was recently at the Americana Festival in Nashville ads showed me a photo on his phone of two Australian artists he liked. Suzannah Espie and C W Stoneking. Small world eh?

Phil came in to set-up for his support slot. At the moment I am the audience along with Murf and Dale. By the time Phil started the audience has swelled to four. Phil, to say the best thing I can, was interesting. On another planet, yes for sure, hilarious at times as well. He was funny but continually stuffed up his guitar work and forgot lines from his own songs. I want to like him but he it is hard work.

The main man tonight is the singer/songwriter/guitarist Ben Dickey. Ben starred in the Ethan Hawke biopic about the legendary Blaze Foley. The movie was well received at the Sundance Film Festival. Dale also told me a fair amount of the history of Ben. He is the man that was almost famous both as an actor and musician but life had been tough for him. Dale gave me the password for the WiFi. Here it is if you ever need to log in at Chickie Wah Wah. Fuckum0r0n. I kid you not. Check out Blaze Foley on a Google search and if you can, have a look at the movie. I guess that there was maybe forty people in the house for Ben’s set including (I was told) some of the actors from the Blaze Foley movie. He certainly deserved a much bigger crowd. And here I am worrying about the WOW gigs. Dale told me that unfortunately a lot of New Orleanians are a bit blasé about the music presented in their own town.

Ben is a mighty fine performer and I picked up his latest CD for fifteen bucks. As I was leaving for the night, Dale came over to thank me for coming in early and hanging out for both artists. He told me of some upcoming gigs at his club. Dan Penn is a must see. Dale said that the gig would be packed but he will guarantee me a bar-stool. That was nice.

Washing Day

Day Fifteen

It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. G. K. Chesterton

It’s the washing day blues for me today.

There are reports in the paper of a real bad storm coming in to annoy us tomorrow. Tornado warning included.

Being Wednesday, there is free music at Lafayette Square tonight. Pat messaged to say she might meet me there. Also, I have an invitation from Pat and Gentilly Jnr to meet up at Big Dave’s bar (the Artisan) on St. Claude this Saturday night.

Around mid-afternoon I was feeling so damn tired. I might be coming down with a cold. I messaged Pat to make my apologies as I have decided to stay in tonight. Pat messaged back, somewhat bemused, she had said she would be at the Square next Wednesday, not today. That’s good as now I don’t feel so guilty for standing her up.

I had a bit of a Nanna nap and woke up hungry. Off to the Verti Mart for a fried oyster Po Boy.

Not exciting reading for today, I am afraid. Sure don’t have the stamina of thirty years ago.

City Park

Day Fourteen

An economist is someone who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today. Lawrence J. Peter

Easter in the Quarter

I told you yesterday that I was determined to get out early and stroll the residential streets of New Orleans. I did just that. The residential area of the Vieux Carré (Old Square) is in direct contrast to the few blocks of the top end of Bourbon Street. Beautiful day here in New Orleans and I took an hour or so to wander around acting very much like a tourist, camera in hand. I thought there may have been more Easter decorations, but not to be.

After a quick visit back to my crib, I then took myself off to get the bus to City Park. The (91) bus runs all the was down Esplanade (EsplanAID), say it proper like a New Orleanian. It is the same bus-route that I use to go each day to Jazz Fest. Today’s trip is a lot more comfortable, not standing room only.

I got off at the wrong stop and had about a quarter mile walk to the park. City Park is a must visit for any new comer to the city. The old forest trees are hauntingly spectacular with their Irish Moss hanging like ancient dreadlocks. Kate, you would be scared here. Squirrels are out on the hunt.

Cafe DuMonde has a food truck selling their famous beingets. I sat down for three beingets and an iced Café Au Lait. Not sure what the guy next to me was trying to achieve as he washed down his heavily sugared, fried dough with a Diet Coke.

The Sculpture Park within City Park is excellent. I tool a good hour to walk around and take some photos of the sculptures. Check out a little history of City Park here:

I found my way out of the park around 12:30, a little disorientated as to where I was. I asked a young guy where the closest bus/street car was. By more luck than good management I was just a few minutes walk away from the stops. The (91) bus came along and on I went. We only drove a couple of blocks and I found out I was at the Cemeteries Transit stop. The bus driver was very helpful. He gave me a transit ticket and pointed me to the Street Car that would take me all the was down Canal and back to the Quarter.

I was back in the Quarter at 1:45 and for some reason was craving some red meat. The Turtle Bar is on Decatur and I have walked past it dozens of times over the years. Why not give it a try,’ I thought. I went for the 10oz Rib-eye served with a Creamy Stuffed Potato Skin and Garlic Bread. Medium Rare, of course. There are not many people at the bar. Very friendly barman and the cook also came out to have a chat. The cook picked my accent straight away and without prompting told me how he was only one of a handful of Americans that likes Vegemite. I will drop a tube of the said Vegemite around to him. I am very tired from all the walking. I was not going to have a drink until Little Dave from Iggy’s Bar came in. We chatted for a while and I asked him how all the local Iggy’s patrons were going. I decided to take a NOLA 7th Street Wheat Beer. Very tasty. So was the next couple as well.

I spotted a sign over the bar that would make a good slogan for Way Out West, with one little addition:

Friendship must be built on a foundation of alcohol, sarcasm, inappropriateness and shenanigans.’I would then add in, ‘live music.’

At around 3:45, I called into the Golden Lantern to see if the Aussie neighbour was there. She wasn’t. Must say the clientele are very interesting. There are two Xmas Trees on the bar decorated with Easter Bunnies. Do you believe it, Little Dave just walked in. I only stayed for one beer. A single guy (even an ugly one like me), drinking by himself may attract one of those interesting clientele. Another sign that took my fancy, ‘You Can’t Pee For Free.’

I had no intention of starting a bar-hopping session. However, in New Orleans, things just happen. I found myself at The American Sports Bar. The bar person (Michelle) recommended that I try a Canebrake beer. There are three guys and a lady having a jovial conversation in a foreign language. They are Dutch and they soon asked me to join them. One of the guys, Theo, is a world traveller and knows his music well. He asked me if I had ever been to the Espy in St. Kilda!

We chatted about bands, and he seemed impressed that I knew who Focus, Golden Earring and Cuby and the Blizzards were. Even more impressed, I think, when I raised a toast and said, ‘’Prost.’’ Theo recommended that I check out another older Dutch blues band by the name of ‘Living Blues.’

Michelle told me she was working an eleven hour shift today. ELEVEN HOURS. She gets a one off $30 bar shift allowance and then relies on tips to make her day worthwhile.

By six o’clock my internal battery was running flat and I headed home.

Rest Day

Day Thirteen

Andrew Duhon at FQF – my new favourite singer/songwriter

Actually, it only takes me one drink to get loaded. Trouble is, I can’t remember if it’s the thirteenth or fourteenth. George Burns

The reports in the paper details the Northern Front that hit New Orleans yesterday, and made it unseasonably cold. The state of Mississippi copped the brunt of the front, many tornadoes hit the area. Tragically two young children sitting with their parents in a car where killed when a tree hit them. Even the Aussie flag flying from my crib’s flag-pole and to be rescued.

It was back to Envies’ for me for breakfast. Eggs Envie: Brie and Ham Omelet style eggs inside a Croissant with Potato Hash. No need for me to eat now for another eight hours.

Johnny Sansone sent through a message. He will be at Chickee Wah Wahs this Thursday, opening for Ben Dickey. Should be an interesting gig going by the bio:

Musician who stars as singer Blaze Foley in Ethan Hawke’s biopic on how a lifetime of playing in bands helped him fill some larger-than-life boots.   He’s not widely known, but to a small but fervent group of followers, Ben Dickey is one of Arkansas’s great musical exports. He was a vocalist and guitarist in Shake Ray Turbine, a beloved post-hardcore band that had its heyday in the late ’90s, in the last days of Little Rock’s Towncraft era. A decade later, in Philadelphia, he co-starred in Blood Feathers, a rock ‘n’ roll band with a vintage sound and a knack for melody that released three albums and always seemed on the verge of breaking out, but never did….’

It was nice to have a bit of a rest today. Perfect weather again (for me, that is). It is comfortable sitting out on the porch watching the world go by. Another neighbor from the next block stopped for a chat. She moved to New Orleans over twenty year ago. I told you about the Aussie living in the next block, Narelle.

I decided to treat myself to dinner and went down to Landry’s Seafood House on Decatur. Had an appetizer of Shrimp and Corn Bisque. For the entrée I went for the snapper, creole green beans and dirty rice. For the Aussies, reading this, the appetiser is our entrée and the entrée is our main. Just to confuse y’all. The food was excellent but a little pricey.

So that’s it for my rest day. Tomorrow I am determined to get up early and go out and photograph some of the homes around the residential area of the Quarter.