Day Four

There is nothing wrong with sobriety in moderation. John Ciardi

Valerie Sassyfrass (Mandolin)

First off, two apologies for mistakes in yesterday’s blog. I was lying awake and had this flash of ‘how stupid am I?’ It should of course be Meerkats sticking their heads up not Marmosets. What would David Attenborough think of me for such a dumb analogy?

Also I got my Saints mixed up when talking about Johnny Whites’ location. The bar is on St. Peter’s not St. Philips. I will go to St Charles Cathedral to confess my sins. So many good damn Saints in this city.

Sure did wake up a little foggy headed after last night’s fun and games at Johnny Whites. Evil Bob is aptly named.

The Freret St neighborhood festival kicks off at noon. I can’t get my Uber app to work so I am out in the Quarter looking to pick up a cab. It didn’t take long as a cab pulled over for me. The cab driver wound down the window, he looked like he was from a 70’s rock band. ‘Where ya going man?’ ‘Freret St,’ ‘Well then hop in as ya ain’t gunna get there standing on the sidewalk.’

Overcast and humid, as I got dropped off at Napoleon and Freret. The festival runs down 7 blocks of the main street and each side of the road is lined with arts/craft stalls, food and of course booze vendors. My craft beer loving Nazis back home would be happy as I counted off four specialist brewing houses.

Got to satisfy the hunger pangs so I got a feed of pulled pork and cheesy mac. I wandered around for a while. By the look of it I am one of very few tourists. This is a true neighbor festival which is largely patronized by the locals. Freret St took a mighty hit during Hurricane Katrina and it is a true testament to the locals who banded together to breath new life into a troubled neighborhood.

I found myself a spot to sit at the Alder House Stage and settled in for the performance of Valerie Sassyfrass. The main lady is like nothing I have every seen. I must admit though that her two dancing ladies were very easy on the eye. The photo above really does paint a picture of a thousand words. I can’t even begin to describe what genre of music they were playing. She couldn’t sing or play her mandolin or squeeze box. They were so bad that they were good. So entertaining and the smiles on everyones face as they joined in with the choruses and followed the crazy dance moves were enough for me to hang in for the whole set.

Had my first Abita 2:20. Next up on stage were J & The Causeways. Enjoyable set of funky R ‘n’ B. I also caught a little of Where Y’acht!, who were channeling some great Doobie Brothers vibes.

I left around 5ish to walk the 8 blocks down Napoleon to St Charles for the Street Car back to the Quarter. All in all another good day.

Check out more photos from the festival :

FRERET: William Freret was a native New Orleanian who owned a two-block cotton press in the American Sector with his brother James.

He served as mayor of the city from 1840 to 1842 and again from 1843 to 1844. Freret was considered a very “hands-on” mayor and made surprise visits to public institutions for inspections.272 Freret is best known for 1841’s Ordinance No. 159, establishing and organizing public schools, considered the birth certificate for public education in the city.

Despite Freret’s general benevolence, he was met with scorn after supposedly attempting to thwart charivari in June 1843. Charivari, common during this time, was a cacophonous “serenade” (often with pots, pans and cowbells) directed at individuals or couples disapproved of by the community: a widow remarrying too quickly, a couple with a vast age (or class) difference, an unwed couple and so on. Allegedly, Freret interfered and “spoiled the sport,” and months later, the Times-Picayune ran reports on the “death blows” to charivari, claiming that it was a cherished custom and that if they were not careful, the next thing they knew, philanthropists would add orangutans to Parliament or, worse, teach women to be blacksmiths.

Freret died in 1864, and the city soon honored him with a street. Today, it is home to Freret Market, a food, art and flea market occurring on the first Saturday of every month (except July and August) and featuring musical acts of all sorts. Even those resembling charivari are welcome. – Sally Asher – Hope And New Orleans.

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