St. Patrick’s Day

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A late night walking band in the Quarter. St. Patrick’s Day weekend in New Orleans did not disappoint, despite missing the family Krewe. I’m hoping to do a better job of organizing for next time. Halloween?

I woke up with a head cold after a late night listening to blues, so I got kind of a slow start to the day, but ended up doing the now traditional pre-St. Patrick’s walk through the Bywater. I took my camera and got some good street shots. It will be fun to get back and edit some of this work. I went to the Green Project, a salvage warehouse founded post-Katrina for building supplies. It is like the biggest woodshed or garage filled with stuff that is too good to throw away but not good enough to keep. They have everything from well-used hand tools to marble countertops and pieces to French Quarter shutters and flooring to full sets of cabinets, all at bargain prices. A very cool spot to get the project brain going.

I wandered back along the St. Claude/St. Roch corridor. This is a transitional neighborhood with some scary looking folks and businesses mixed in with hipster chic. I stopped for lunch in the Artisan Cafe and had a good conversation with a graphic artist who produces a lot of the logo stuff for restaurants and businesses throughout New Orleans. He is a black guy in his 60s from the neighborhood who really likes his New Orleans food, and was happy to talk about restaurants and drive thrus for the best red beans, P.O.-boys, crawfish, etc., right down to which place has the best deal on sides. A word of advice: When a NOLA menu says “All you can eat” it means as much as the chef wants to give you. Be nice or leave. He told a couple of stories about college guys horning in on neighborhood joints and getting the bums rush after pushing their luck. A fun meal.

I stopped by a couple of the junk/antique stores on the road home, but they were definitely more junk than antique. I was still fighting the cold, and got a bowl of spicy udon to clear the head and called it a night.

St. Patrick’s Day, and my cold was better. I took my camera into the French Market, hoping to catch an advertised St. Joseph’s Altar. It appeared to be a pale imitation of the neighborhood tradition done up for the tourist crowd, but fun to see anyway. I looked at some of the African instruments, and saw a djembe from Senegal that was interesting, but not $180 interesting.

The crowd was all decked out in green and assorted “Irish” gear, like green tutus, even though the big parade was uptown. I heard from Cecile, who invited me to a house party up there, but it would have been a struggle to get there with the crowds. I stopped for a drink at Tujagues, which is always a highlight of my day. I continued on through the Quarter, shooting a couple of street musicians and other interesting folks along the way. I sat in Jack White’s on Bourbon and shot through the window, getting some cool effects using a door frame with scratched glass to frame people as they walked Bourbon decked out in green. I ran into Alice, and made arrangements to talk later about house sitting.

I stopped for a sandwich on the way home at Buffa’s, a redfish po-boy that hit the spot. Some folks, three younger flamboyant guys and a couple of more sedate but still festively drunk women were at the bar, and the women were offering to glitter paint everyone for the holiday. In the spirit of not being able to go over the top in New Orleans, I got some glitter. With glitter, clearly the jeans weren’t going to cut it, so I went home for a nap and a change into a kilt. A kilt, neon green shoes, a green shirt, a lime green fedora, and of course, glitter, and I was ready for the nighttime parade.

On Courtney’s advice, I walked into the Bywater, stopping first at Mimi’s and then at Markey’s, where the parade was lining up. I walked with the parade, stopping at Mimi’s on the way. The Irish magic was in full effect, and there was lots of dancing in the streets and fun holiday greetings and shenanigans all around.

I stopped on Frenchmen for food at 13(getting smarter in my old age) and then met Courtney and Jess at Molly’s on Decatur, watching the parade go by one more time. There was a crew of guys from County Cork in Molly’s, doing their annual escape trip. A fun bunch.

I ended the evening back on Frenchmen Street, getting waved through a cover charge at dba to see a few songs by the Jazz Vipers(I think the Spotted Cat is a better venue for them) and half of the Brassaholics show. They rocked the joint, but it was getting late for the old man. The 11 PM shows after a full day of farting around are probably not the best choice.

I planned to stalk some Mardi Gras Indians on Sunday, but rain threatens, and the suits are just too pretty to get wet.

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