It was a late night on Frenchmen Street, catching the Kermit Ruffins late show at the Blue Nile. it was a good show with James Widdifield contributing Ray Charles style vocals and Rockin’ Dopsie doing old time rock, including splits on stage. The highlight was “Weed” after Kermit liberally fumigated the dance floor and followed up fast with the Treme song. The crowd was mixed, with football fans, many sporting Alabama gear, businessmen who clearly were doing business rather than being there for the music, and middle aged Treme fans such as myself.
A late night adventure made for a slow morning. I took a walk around the Quarter, with the goal of expanding past the lower Quarter where I have been hanging out the last couple of weeks. I walked the tourist route along Decatur past the Cafe Du Monde. It was noonish, and folks were lined up for a half hour wait for a beignet and coffee. They are good, but I am not sure I will wait in line for them. It is kind of interesting being in a major mass market tourist destination and noticing that people are wearing t-shirts and other gear from the same places-Maui Brewing, Skagway, etc.-and now are in New Orleans seeking the authentic in the crowd of people following the same path. I’m glad they are here, because the money they bring with them supports a lot of interesting characters and activities that make this a good place to live, but it raises the question of how hard it is to be different or if that is even important.
I walked past the aquarium and up Canal, giving the mall and the casino a pass this time. I walked into the Caribbean day parade dancers as they were just starting up, They had steel drum bands and young girls in great feathered costumes marching. I like just being able to walk around town and see/do fun stuff without a lot of planning. I stopped by the Chart Room for $2 draft beers in frosted mugs, and was joined by the Jaywalkers, a brass band meeting up for a wedding gig in full uniform and instrumentation in the small bar. There were a couple of folks who were still rolling from the night before, a little rough around the edges but still conscious enough to get served and to ring the bell.
I decided to cross one thing off the New Orleans bucket list, and went to the Sazerac Bar inside the Roosevelt Hotel for, of course, a Sazerac. The Roosevelt is one of the oldest hotels in New Orleans, operating since the 1880s. It is gorgeous inside with beautiful wood and tile work, and the murals inside the bar itself date to the 1930s. The drink was excellent, but not too far off from a carefully prepared home cocktail. It was a bit of a swing from $2 drafts with a brass band to a $20 drink with folks who got lost on their way to the golf course, but all part of New Orleans, I suppose.
I went into a used bookstore across the street from the hotel, and found an architectural digest of our neighborhood with photos and descriptions of many of the houses surrounding ours. I haven’t found our place in the book yet, but there are several houses from our block described in detail. I didn’t know such a thing existed, but was glad to have found it.
I met with Eileen and Bronson at the Three Muses on Frenchmen for drinks and snacks. There was a mellow trio playing, and it was good to catch up with them. They are doing great, living up towards the universities on Claiborne. Bronson is working in the business side of a big restaurant group, and Eileen is working in a bakery. Bronson gets meal perks at the excellent restaurants he helps manage, and suggested we go sometime. A great plan.
We walked out on to Frenchmen Street at around 9:30 on a Saturday, and it was as quiet as I have ever seen it. Alabama was playing LSU, and everyone in town was watching the game, or so it seemed. It was probably good not to be out with a lot of sad LSU fans later in the evening. Saints play a big one today!