It is good to be back in the city. I like walking the streets where a fair proportion of the people dress for the day, and I enjoy getting compliments on the hat of the day or colorful shirt. I do like the city at 70 degrees better than at 25 degrees, but that is probably true anywhere. I had a good swim, and spent some time at Envie writing the wrap on the road trip.
It was garbage day, so I spent some time with a cutlass (we are in pirate country) attacking the banana trees. I filled two garbage cans with dead or dying banana fronds, It was pretty much a blast whacking the trees. We have huge banana pods, and I know now where the plant from Little Shop of Horrors got its inspiration. These are purple, seem to grow daily, and are at least the size of my head. It is fun to play with tropical plants. I plucked some vines off the house. They are welcome on the fence, but would rapidly cover the whole building.
I’m slowly getting in the Christmas spirit, buying a small poinsettia, and debating on more decorations. Happy Almost Mardi Gras!
Is it possible to be hung over from a road trip? I’ve been strangely low energy for the past couple of days. I think I am turning into a true New Orleanian, like the storm water pumps, I cease to function at colder than 45 degrees, but it should warm up again for the weekend.
Chris and Joanna from next door were working on their condo inside and out, in preparation for Christmas guests. They have a two or three year old boy who was making the yard work an inefficient experience, but was quite entertained by the dog toys left in the yard. Joanna is not quite as tolerant or amused by Susie’s rather casual approach to maintenance as I am, and Susie made herself scarce. They have taken their place off the market for now, which is probably a good thing. I am not sure being one of the anchors in an Airbnb building would be as fun as it is cracked up to be.
Walking through the Treme on the way to the pool I saw a homeless guy for the second time in two days. Apparently he has chosen the block to hang out on. He saw me approach along Esplanade, busy with morning traffic, and rather ostentatiously whipped his penis out and pissed in a long arc out onto the main street. Nice. Apparently the police had rousted an encampment on the other side of the Quarter, and the folks dispersed to other neighborhoods. I may alter my route if this is his new spot.
I made it out to Frenchmen Street and dba. I saw Dinosaurchestra again, and they were as good as I remembered, with the young guy Miles on tuba and trombone, and Mr. Ozaki on the bass. I bought a couple of cds from the band directly, and may be their first groupie. The bar manager apologized profusely that he had run out of Laphroig 10, so comped a Laphroig cask strength specialty version. The night was slow on the street, cold and no apparent convention or party crowd. I just couldn’t do the Treme Brass Band at 10. I’m gonna have to do better on my nap discipline if I’m gonna do the late show brass bands.
Wednesday was another quiet day in town, with few people out and about. I was productive for a change, running to the postal drop to send off my puffy for a zipper repair and dropping off the TV that was left in the condo at the thrift store. I’m confident someone can use it more than I will, although I may have to make more of an effort to watch football. I spent an hour with Jamie Ruth at Treasure Tattoo talking ideas for expanding on the existing work. She is going to do some drawings and planning, and we may get something going this winter. I stopped at the grocery store for some odds and ends. A good afternoon walking in the sunshine.
I stopped a Buffa’s on my way to the Quarter. I was the only customer there, a first for me, and had some boudin in spicy crawfish sauce. A drunk man came in and started looking under the counter near where I was sitting, and massaging the countertop. He was “feeling for vibrations” from his recently deceased friend Fish. I was apparently sitting in his chair. He said he worked at Buffa’s from just after Katrina until about three years ago, and loudly told stories about his time there, getting offended when I did not know the people he was talking about. It was time to leave.
I walked Bourbon, stopping in at Johnnie White’s to meet with the Gris-Gris bartender. She is going to make me a chicken’s foot to ward off spells. it is good to have friends with connections to the other world, I think. I walked around the corner to chat with Susie about building business. She thinks that the lower unit is going to be converted into a VRBO unit, and is not happy about it. So far, I have not had any problems with people in the small unit above me, but this would double the potential for problems. A change in the vibe of the place, but it may not be bad. I am reluctant to VRBO our place, but it would bring in cash. I’m guessing that we could probably pay the mortgage off short term rentals, but the hassle factor would be high. Susie is knitting the coolest Santa hats I have seen-probably have to buy one to get in the spirit. I was trying one on, which proved a conversation starter with a French woman who was waiting for the Preservation Hall show across the street. She was bubbling over with enthusiasm for New Orleans and jazz, not the default mood for most French people I have met, and I steered here to the WWOZ livewire calendar and Frenchmen Street.
The musical event of the night and perhaps the week was seeing John Papa Gros at the Royal Sonesta Hotel. The hotel was splendidly decorated for Christmas, with a long hallway lined with Christmas trees. The crowd was sparse in the Jazz Playhouse, a nice small room with an old fashioned cocktail lounge feel. I’d been avoiding it because the hotel venues are often pretty sterile, but it was a good first time to see this band. I stood at the bar close enough to step on stage, and introduced myself to Papa Gros. He put on a great show, about half originals, some old music from the 20s funked up, Professor Longhair covers, and a couple of Dr. John covers. Right Place, Wrong Time was the highlight of the show for me, as much out of nostalgia as the sheer fun of it. His band was very good, with a sax and trumpet, electric bass and drum kit. The show was worth the walk down Bourbon.
On the way home, I stopped at the Clover Grill around midnight, taking advantage of the slow night to walk right up and sit at the counter. The old fashioned diner food hit the spot. I sat across from the grill and watching the cook work, doing hamburgers steamed under hubcap, grilling pounds of mushrooms, and in general doing fast food right.
It probably goes without saying that it was a late morning, but I did make it to Envie, and got to play the Halloween vs. street wear game. A couple walked in for breakfast, and the guy was a tall blond about 40 years old with spiked hair, multiple earrings and necklaces, wearing a leather jacket, a red plaid kilt, a dozen or so silver rings, heavy on the skulls, and handcuffs as bracelets. The woman was wearing a BDSM dog collar and a tight leather vest over a torn black t-shirt, jeans and motorcycle boots. I’m guessing street wear, but they could have walked off the Trainspotting set. I didn’t get a picture because I didn’t really want to jump into the punk world and get punched in the face for fun. More adventures await!