French Quarter Fest – Day Two

Day Ten

Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, ‘Where have I gone wrong?’ Then a voice says to me, ‘This is going to take more than one night.’ Charles M. Schultz

Little Freddie and Stalker

I had another sleep in and got out for the second day of FQF around eleven.

I stopped off at the Tropical Isle Stage to listen to ‘The Nation of Gumbollia,’ who are one of the newer Indian Mardi Gras tribes. I was only going to stay for a song or two, however, they were so good that I stayed for the whole set. I even contemplated buying a CD (first for this trip), until the singer mentioned that it was their first live performance and they had not recorded yet.

Weather wise, it is perfect for me, overcast with a cooling breeze. There is a lot of traffic on the Mississippi today. Cargo ship after Oil tanker and the usual long barges being pushed by tugs.

Over to the Jack Daniels’ stage to see Stew and Carol and watch the Lena Prima band. Lena is the daughter of the legendary New Orleanian, Louis Prima. Fantastic swinging jazz with a hot band backing her up. She sang hit after hit of her famous father’s recorded legacy as well as some of her own

recordings. What an enjoyable show it was. I have a large collection of Louis Prima’s recorded output and I will have to revisit it again when I get back home. Louis’ was held in such high esteem in New Orleans that after Hurricane Katrina, the first song that radio WWOZ played was Louis’

I walked down to the Abita stage to wait for Little Freddie King to grace the stage. On the way I had a feed of Fried Chicken Strips, Potato Salad and Iced Coffee. Jeff gave me my artist’s pass and I went up

On the stage to watch the performance. I just love listening to Freddie’s unique take of the blues. Age is not slowing this immaculate trouper down one bit.

I got to say hello to Freddie after his set and have a phone photo taken. He and his Manager (also his drummer), ‘Wacko’ Wade are keen to get to Australia. ‘Wacko’ told me that he has applied to our Byron Bay Blues Festival a number of times with no success. He does not like Peter Noble (Promoter) at all. I told him he is not alone there as many Aussie musicians have told me that he is not a nice guy. I haven’t been to the Byron Fest for a number of years now, and have no intention of ever going again. In my opinion it is a bloated behemoth of a production.

It’s still overcast with a cooling breeze coming off the river, the locals may not be happy about the lack of sun but I sure am. I haven’t been taking out the big camera as it is heavy to carry around all day. Not sure how Wendy manages to do it. I am planning to get out next week and walk around the French Quarter’s residential area and take some snaps of the Easter decorations.

I stayed at the Abita stage for a few songs from Iguana’s set and then left for the GE Stage to hear Tricia Boutté and Nordic Swing. I am pretty proud of myself, I just learned how to insert that little mark above the ‘e’ in Boutté. The Boutté family are music royalty in this town.

I headed off around 5:30 today. I walked back via Royal St to avoid the crowds on Decatur and Bourbon streets. Also proud to report in that it was another alcohol free day.

ROYAL: Of all the streets in the French Quarter, the name of ROYAL STREET is most befitting. The street was originally called Royalle-Bourbon to honor the royal family and dynasty, but Governor Bienville ordered it changed to Rue Royale, which it remains to this day. Although Royal parallels Bourbon, the two streets could not be more different. While Bourbon is known for its bars with three-for-one drink specials, strip clubs and T-shirt shops, Royal is known for its art galleries, posh hotels and antique stores. Rock music, jazz and the sounds of off-key karaoke enthusiasts blare out from clubs on Bourbon, while Royal hosts street musicians such as Dixieland jazz bands, bluegrass pickers or the odd solo songstress armed with a banjo and sleeping hound dog that occasionally adds his baritone backup vocals. A section of Royal closes to vehicular traffic daily from 11:00 am. until late afternoon, transforming it into a pedestrian mall to allow people to leisurely cross the street back and forth to peer in the windows of their favorite stores. Bourbon, meanwhile, takes the opposite approach, closing to cars nightly at 7:00 pm. to allow people to match their gait with Bourbon’s neon pulse. Bourbon and Royal are the quintessential alter egos of New Orleans, prompting Walt Disney to once remark of the two streets, “Where else can you find iniquity and antiquity so close together?”

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

French Quarter Fest (FQF)

Day Nine

We are living in a world today where lemonade is made of artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons. Alfred E. Neuman

Bit of a struggle getting out of bed today. I gotta get myself moving as it is the first day of the French Quarter Fest (FQF).

As I walked down to the FQF it is hot, overcast and windy.

First stop is the Tropical Isle Stage, it is good to see that ‘Big’ Al Carson is well again and singing as good as ever. Breakfast this morning is two Crawfish pies. My hands are stuffed with inflammation and I had to ask a random guy to take the top off my Pepsi.

At 12.30, I hit the main stage at FQF, the Abita stage. Kermit Ruffins and the BBQ Swingers are doing their stuff. My good friend David Jefferson (Jeff) one of the Stage Managers spotted me and waved me over. He gave me a big hug and let me have an artist’s wrist band for side of stage. Jeff’s, Stage Manager partner Laura Jean (L.J.) also came over to catch up. She told me that she visited Australia nine months ago and fell in love with an Australian (from Melbourne) and they have since been married. He is now living in New Orleans having never been here before. L.J. said that they are planning a visit back to Melbourne around Christmas. We may be able to catch up.

I have been wanting to see a newish band on the New Orleans scene (Cha Wa) for some time now. Cha Wa have just returned from a tour of New Zealand. They sure were worth the wait. Fantastic band. I spoke to one of the band members who told me that they are keen to tour Australia. If that happens, I recommend that you go and see them. Check out some info here:

I guy tapped me on the shoulder, Chris is his name. Said he saw me at the Johnny Sansone gig last night. We worked out that we are neighbours. He lives in the 1200 block of Bourbon, one street over from me.

I stayed for a few songs from the exceptional Galactic. The heat and lack of sleep last night have got the better of me and so I headed back home around five.

Big news for today, it was alcohol free.

Apologies for the lack of photos. I can’t transfer them to my tablet from my phone. I have however finally been able to work out why photos taken on my Canon won’t upload to WordPress. Mr Goggle told me the maximum size allowed. You might see a few more photos going forward.

Lafayette Square & Chickee Wah Wah

Day Eight

Honesty may be the best policy, but it’s important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy. George Carlin

John Fohl and Johnny Sansone at Chickee Wah Wah

My apologies for being a few days late with the blog. One thing I have learned here in New Orleans is that things get done, when they get done. You just can’t hurry.

Before I start on today’s ramblings I need to finish off yesterday’ blog. I forgot to let y’all know what I was eating at 10:30 last night. The Verti Mart, as you know, is a frequented place I go to for food. Last night, instead of getting a main with a couple of sides I went for a sandwich. ‘OK’, I hear you say, what’s so special about a sandwich? You be the judge. I went for ‘Ernie’s Power House’ Grilled Shredded Pork, Grilled Shrimp, Bacon, Provolone Cheese, Pepper Cheese, Grilled Mushrooms, Olive Salad, and original WOW sauce. The guy serving, said ‘going for the big boy sandwich.’ The bread roll was a feed by itself. Suffice to say I only ate half of it, and even that was a struggle.

Reading the Picayune this morning and there is a prediction of Thunder Storms for French Quarter Fest. Nothing new in that news! The Festival will go on rain or shine, unless there is lightning about. I am prepared with my poncho and waterproof-booties.

Marsha Owen sent me a message from Virginia. I meet Martha and her husband Ton and their friend (Stacey)last year at Lafayette Square. We had some good times and have become Facebook friends. Marsha is not coming down this year however Tom and Stacey are on their way and we will meet up tonight for the free music in the park series (every Weds through Spring from 5 pm). Could be another musical night as I am also going to Chickie Wah Wahs’ at 8 pm to see Johnny Sansone and John Fohl perform.

At around eleven I wandered down to the French Market for and Egg Salad sandwich and a Bargs’ Root Beer. It is a beautiful day, little cloud cover and bright blue skies. The temperature is on the rise but thankfully there is not much humidity.

It is always sad to see people doing it tough, rifling through rubbish bins for discarded food. It is a sad state of affairs the world over that a civilized society cannot manage to look after their own.

I have cracked the shits with the Internet access at my crib. I think that even Australia’s pathetic N..B.N would be quicker that what I can get here. A good excuse to go around to Envies (2:30) and avail myself to the super quick and free internet as well as partake in a large Iced Latte.

I lady just came into Envies’ and asked the gut behind the counter, ‘how fresh is your carrot cake,? “not very,’ he replied. So she left! Gotta like his honesty.

I have been sitting out front on the porch chatting to Mickey and watching the passing parade. It has got hot this mid-afternoon.

I left at 4 pm for the trip down to Lafayette Square for the music in the park series. From my crib, it is eleven blocks to Canal St, and then a further four blocks to the park. I have always walked in previous years, but this year I am limping badly, and it is still pretty hot. I walked down to the Dumaine Street Car station. The Street Car runs along the river and then turns left onto Canal.

As I strolled to the park a homeless guy asked, ‘have ya got a light’? ‘Nope, sorry, I don’t smoke’. ‘Well ya should,’ he said, ‘it’s good for ya.’

I got to the Square just before five. Just walking those few blocks is so painful. I go alright for a little while, then get a sharp stabbing pain lowdown in my right calf. Buggered if know what I have done.

I got myself a feed of Jambalaya and an Abita and settled in for the first band of the night, Deltaphonic. They are just OK.

I heard my name being called out and turned around to see Stacey and Tom, the friends from Virginia I told y’all about earlier. Well that was the start of a drinking session. Stacey kept buying beers.

The main act tonight is a favourite of Wendy and mine. Eric Lindell. Great music as always. I convinced Stacey and Tom to come to Chickee Wah Wah’s on Canal St, after Eric had finished his set. We caught an Uber and were there just before show time. I said hello to Johnny and his lovely partner Michelle. They both welcomed me back. Johnny has his band with him, including the very talented John Fohl on guitar. After the second song, Johnny started telling the audience how good a place Australia was although he didn’t have any thing good to say about Vegemite. The barman asked me if I knew Brian Wise of RRR.

The Virginians left around 9:30 pm, a little tired and pissed. To be fair they had been up from 2:30 am yesterday for the trip to New Orleans. I wasn’t about to leave as Johnny and the band were ripping the place up. Another couple made acquaintance and told me they were from Boston. He is Captain Tom Broderick and runs a Charter Boat. Tom said. ‘can I buy you a beer’? You can guess my answer.

I got home late and had trouble sleeping again. The last time I looked at my watch it was 3:30 am. It might be a long day tomorrow.

DUMAINE STREET: Louis-Auguste de Bourbon was the illegitimate son of King Louis XIV and his mistress Madame de Montespan. Born in 1670, he was rumored to be the king’s favorite. Beautiful and precocious, he also had one leg shorter than the other. When he was three years old, the king legitimized him by giving him the title Duc du Maine. When it came time for him to marry, many royal families were appalled at the idea of marrying their daughter to a “crippled bastard.” Du Maine married Louise Benedicte, Mademoiselle de Charolais. Their marriage was unhappy; although intelligent, du Maine was considered a weakling, especially compared with his wife’s domineering ways and expensive tastes. The king tried to intervene but deemed it useless and opted “to keep silent and let him wallow in his blindness and foolishness.”

As the king’s bastard son, du Maine was always on the fringe of respectability and acceptance. Although he was one of the original French Quarter streets, New Orleans “bastardized” him a second time, linking the preposition with the noun, forming Dumaine.

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