I did the forced march through the Quarter this afternoon to get a visceral sense of the New Orleans Athletic Club. It is on the opposite end of the Quarter, a 20 minute brisk walk, which is too much if I am going there three or four days a week. I have decided not to pursue that further, swimming at the public pool and leaving the weight lifting for the other season. Ill keep my eye out for a set of cheap dumbbells, but farther down the priority list.
I ran into Jerry at the Chart Room, this time in a Santa suit. The two dollar drafts are the best deal in town. I tried the alligator gumbo at Buffa’s, and it was definitely the best alligator gumbo I’ve had. It was mildly spiced, and worth trying again. My mistake was ordering it as a side to a sandwich when it would have been enough food for a meal in itself. I got the living room as warm as I could get it, almost up to room temperature, and read some history to let the meal settle.
A good long swim in the morning and sunshine. My project for the afternoon was shelling pecans. It may be the last batch. About half of these were no good, dried out or moldy, and I’m thinking the season may be winding down. I took a walk down St. Claude and stopped in at the Treasure Tattoo shop and met with Jamie Ruth. Ive got some thinking to do before jumping into a new project, but she seems competent and her portfolio has some similar work to mine. An advantage is that she is close to home but not as hurried as the places on Frenchmen Street.
I went to the Jeremy Pelt show at Snug Harbor. He is an academic musician, a trumpeter, who was winding up a week of clinics at UNO. He played his arrangements of some songs from the 1920s, and some originals, all in the same style and very precise. He had a few excellent solos, but did not let his ego override the arrangements. The musicianship was a step up from most, and I suppose I should expect that at the Snug Harbor. The atmosphere is much more conducive to the music, but not nearly as relaxed as some of the other venues. I sat next to a retired schoolteacher from Portland who knew some Ketchikan folks and visits the city often for music, food and culture. I ran into her again in the morning at Envie. New Orleans can be a small place.
I had an excellent evening, starting with an old fashioned at Tujagues and a walk through Jackson Square as people were packing up their stuff. I ran into a crowd of neighbors at Hole in the Wall, and followed the group over to Harry’s Corner, watching the Pelicans game out of the corner of my eye. I finished with a plate of red beans at Buffa’s. I chatted with a fellow snowbird from Wisconsin, who observed that although millions of people pass through the city, the downtown, especially French Quarter, core group of people is very small and all recognize each other as part of a community. A good place to be.
The Treme Gumbo Festival and packing for the Ballads, Blues, and BBQ roadtrip are on the schedule for the weekend.