French Quarter Fest – Day Three

Day Eleven

If I were reincarnated, I’d want to come back as a buzzard. Nothing hates him or envies him or wants him or needs him. He is never bothered or in danger, and he can eat anything. William Faulkner

Although Faulkner is identified with Mississippi, he was residing in, New Orleans, Louisiana in 1925 when he wrote his first novel, Soldiers’ Payland, After being directly influenced by Sherwood Anderson he made his first attempt at fiction writing. Anderson assisted in the publication of Soldiers’ Payland and Mosquitoes Faulkner’s second novel, set in New Orleans, by recommending them to his publisher.

The miniature house at 624 Pirate’s Alley, just around the corner from St Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, is now the site of Faulkner House Books, where it also serves as the headquarters of the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society.

David Jefferson (Jeff) & Lara Jean (LJ)

Surprise y’all, I an up early, that is 9 am. The blog is up to date(for now).

I am out the door at 10:30. There are more people about the streets than yesterday. The normal weekend tourists plus the FQF crowd heading off to their preferred music stage. The cafes/restaurants are doing a roaring trade, lines of people at the more popular eating houses. The line for Cafe Du Monde must be 100 feet long. That’s a long wait for what is essentially deep fried dough with a decadent amount of icing sugar on top.

I managed to get a seat at Cafe Maspero on Decatur and ordered the Banana Fosters Buttermilk Pancake Stack. I can hear the music starting up over on the Jack Daniels Stage which is adjacent to the old Jazz Brewery.

I might stay at the Abita Stage today as the crowds will be tough going. I don’t want to be dodging people all day. It is overcast and windy (very windy) with the possibility of some thunder storm action later in the evening.

As I left Cafe Maspero, the music coming from the Jack Daniels Stage took my fancy so I headed there, instead of straight to the Abita. It was a good chance anyway to say hello to Stew and Carol. Andrew Duhon is performing in a trio. I would describe him as a singer/songwriter, real nice voice and a great guitar player. I remained for the rest of his set and was so impressed with his performance that I purchased my first CD of this trip. ‘False River’ was released in 2018. Can’t wait to have a listen.

While I waiting in line to buy the album a young Police Officer was standing behind me. He introduced himself as Rico. He was also impressed by Andrew’s set and was going to buy an album as well. A random guy came over to us, as we were awaiting for Andrew to come off-stage to sign our purchases. He repaid Rico the cost of his CD, saying ‘thank you for your service to the City of New Orleans!’

I got to the Abita Stage around 12:30. The band Louisiana’s Le Roux were playing some good ‘ol Country Rock, and playing it very well. Cyril Neville’s Swamp Funk are due up next and I told Jeff that, if allowed, I would go sit up on stage for the Swamp Funk’s set. He suggested I go up on stage now as it may be hard to grab a spot when Cyril’s family and friends get up there. Sure was good advice.

I have taken out the big camera today and think I have taken a few decent photos. They will not be as good as Wendy’s, of that I can be sure.

The Swamp Funk started a little late, understandable as it was a large band to set-up. Drums, trumpet, sax, two guitars and unbelievably two bass players. Man, there sure was some bottom to the music. A fantastic set of high-energy funkadelic magic. The trumpet guy did the best dance steps I have seen in a long while.

It sure is now blowing a gale.

I decided to head off to get something to eat. I wandered down Exchange Place (Alley) to a little Vietnamese restaurant that I know from previous trips. Although the service is not the friendliest, the food is good. Two Egg Rolls and a (delicious) Beef Pho and I am feeling full.,

Walking down Royal Street is not as easy as yesterday. There are now three music stages set up along the Street. Today, being Saturday, is traditionally the busiest for the FQF. I was lucky enough to catch the end of Tom McDermott and His Jazz Hellions featuring Detroit Brooks on guitar. Just to give you an idea of how good (and it is free) the FQF is, there are some 23 stages scattered throughout the Quarter. Something for every music taste to enjoy.

EXCHANGE PLACE: Although its official name is Exchange Place, most New Orleanians call this small (three-block) street in the upper French Quarter Exchange Alley. In 1831, a group of businessmen wanted an alley cutting from Canal to Conti that was free from horses or carriages and was allocated for commerce and pedestrian traffic. The city council approved its plan, and J.N.B. Depouilly was commissioned to design a cast-iron rail for each end of the alley to guarantee that it would remain exclusively pedestrian. Its biggest early business, though, was not trade or finance but fencing. The 300 block of Exchange Place was lined with fencing academies where, as a matter of pride and often necessity, young Creole men flocked to become proficient in the art of the sword.

Duels were commonplace at the time, and the newspapers later estimated that from the early 1800s to the 1870s, three to four duels were fought daily. And while many chose the picturesque oaks of Louis Allard’s plantation (modern-day City Park) or the Fortin property (now the Fair Grounds), numerous men learned and executed their skills in Exchange Alley from such masters as Marcel Dauphin (who was eventually killed in a shotgun duel), Pepe Llulla (who was proficient in pistols, swords and knives and owned his own cemetery, which he quickly filled), Gilbert “Titi” Rosiere (a lawyer who realized he could make more money teaching army officers how to fence) and Bastile Croquere (a mulatto gentleman with whom many dared not cross swords—not out of prejudice but out of fear).

Exchange Place was the hub of Creole culture in the nineteenth century, but in the early to mid-twentieth century, it became known as the city’s “Skid Row.” Today, the first block is a back alley given over to vehicles, but the other two blocks are still pedestrian-only and lined with restaurants and shops (but usually no swordplay).

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