Spotted Cat

Day Seven

It might be a good idea if the various countries of the world would occasionally swap history books, just to see what other people are doing with the same set of facts. Bill Vaughan

Up at 8:15 today, While eating breakfast and reading the Picayune I spotted an interesting article for the inaugural Cannabis Festival (April 20th at Washington Square. Free entry, or $20 for a VIP pass, which allows you to join an express line for booze and you get a show-bag of goodies. Sounds interesting:

Today is my washing day, so down to Suds ‘dem Duds, Diana is still running the business and she welcomed me back to NOLA.

A quick walk down to Decatur to get some essential from CV Pharmacy. I like the idea of calling into a Chemist that has a couple of rows of things such as deodorant, shampoo, pain killers, you know, all the things a chemist sells back home. But being in New Orleans right next to the hair-products is an aisle of vodka, bourbon, liquor etc, you know all the essential alternative health products.

Jackson Square is a hive of activity with workmen putting up the scaffolding for the music stage for the French Quarter Festival (FQF).

DECATUR: Stephen Decatur was a commodore who helped establish the U.S. Navy as a rising global power. Decatur served in the First and Second Barbary Wars in North Africa, the Quasi-War with France and the War of 1812. In 1807, fellow commodore James Barron was acting commander of the frigate USS Chesapeake when it was pursued and captured by the British ship HMS Leopard. Barron surrendered after firing only one shot and was later court-martialed and suspended; he went abroad to enter the merchant service.

Decatur was a former subordinate of Barron’s and one of the judges at the trial. After the War of 1812, Barron sought reinstatement, but Decatur was one of his most outspoken opponents. The two men exchanged a series of letters, with Barron accusing Decatur of insulting him with impunity. Decatur denied making any specific insult but refused to hide his contemptuous feelings toward Barron in his often sarcastic letters. Instead of coming to an understanding, they agreed to a risky duel. The terms of the duel were pistols at eight paces, directed at each other and fired not before the word one and not after the word three.

Typically, duelists’ arms remained cocked or at their sides, but since they were already aimed, some argue that the odds were tilted in Barron’s favor because he was notoriously nearsighted. Both men were shot; Barron was crippled for life, while Decatur died in agony that night. Having survived multiple wars, he perished violently during a time of peace. Newspapers across the country mourned Decatur’s death, noting that he was the one who gave that “additional lustre to the star-spangled banner.” He was buried with the highest military honors. Still, rumors swirled about what had occurred between the two commodores. So, shortly after Decatur’s death, his friends released their correspondence, and the letters were a sensation. Fifty years later, a newspaper stated that Decatur’s death provoked the same outcry and attention as President Lincoln’s assassination.
Asher, Sally. Hope & New Orleans: A History of Crescent City Street Names (Landmarks) . The History Press. Kindle Edition.

I was back at my crib by noon when there was another knock at the door. Two more Aussies, husband and wife who have just got into town. They both work for Qantas. They are from Sydney and picked my brain for places to visit together with any restaurants that I could recommend. Nice couple. They will be visiting the Mornington Peninsula in a few months and will call in to Way Out West.

I went out around 3:30, realizing that I had not eaten lunch. Just standing on the corner of Decatur Governor Nicholls when a tall white dude gave me a fist pump. I could see that in his clenched hand was a bag of green matter. ‘You need some weed man?’ ‘Nah, I’m OK.’ Not sure if he was an undercover cop or a freelance pharmaceutical vendor. In my old age, answer me this, do I look like an ex-banker or an old stoner?

Against better judgment I called into B.B.King’s for some food. The band is playing a mixture of classic blues numbers, competent without much enthusiasm. I order a meal of BBQ Chicken, Collard Greens and Potato Salad. The chicken was a little tough, the BBQ sauce very tasty.

I then wandered around to Frenchman St (no explanation needed for its naming) to the Spotted Cat. Andy J Frost and band are playing and I settled in with an Abita. Andy is a good story teller, singer and guitarist. He sang a song called ‘Motel New Orleans’, which I will try and find on CD. at the Louisiana Music Factory. I like the sign above the piano (which sits off stage). ‘No Drinks or Drunks on the Pianee’. All in all, an enjoyable set of country style blues.

Andy finished his set just on 6 and another band was up and playing by 6:20. Not sure of the band’s name but as would be expected in New Orleans, they were good. A different style of music from Andy. Various styles of South American jazzy classics. A very small and very old black lady came in, bent over with the aid of a walker. Now, she is a local and she made her way to the bar while telling off a tourist for putting her drink on the aforementioned ‘pianee’. She immediately started talking to a younger white woman at the end of the bar. She then moved off to sit side of stage and began accompanying the band with her tambourine. I heard the lady at the end of the bar order a shot of something, she laughed with the barman and pointed out the old black lady. I heard the barman saying with a big grin,’she ain’t never paid for a drink in here for 40 years!.

I left the club around 7:30 as I have arranged to meet up with William for a free Comedy Night at MRB.

William had not arrived when I got there so I ordered an Abita which at $5 was cheaper that the $6 charge at the Spotted Cat. Some dude at the bar, who I learned later also worked there offered me a sip of a drink he said was awesome. He had the bottle in a brown paper bag and poured me a taste. Said it was his favourite tipple, Tequila, Cucumber, Chili and Lime. Must admit it was very tasty. Sort of hot and cold all at once.

William arrived and the bar-lady, of course, knew him by name. I order another beer and a vodka and lime for William. Because I was now with a local and also treated as a local the cost of the drinks dropped sharply.

The comedy started around 8:25. Five different styles of comedians. Some good, some not so good. We headed home around 10ish. Just a mere ten minute walk from my crib. That’s what staying at the French Quarter is all about. You are always just a few minutes walk from food, drink. entertainment and debauchery