I’m learning more about banana trees, successfully dropping a healthy large leaner that was endangering the back fence and another that was a little too close to the neighbor’s roof. It is fun playing with the cutlass, and I filled a couple of trash cans with banana parts. It was pushing 80 degrees, a good thing for November.
Susie had a package of dog food delivered too late as she had left for Florida, and asked me to take it down to Harry’s for Beverly. I walked it down, and handed it over to the bartender. I had a good conversation with a woman who had grown up in Gonzales, LA in the 1960s and was bubbling over with stories about the first integrated schools. She was impressed that the bar would hold packages for people, and exclaimed that she liked living in the Quarter because it was more like a village than the small town she had grown up in.
I had a boudin at 13, my first this visit. It was worth going back for this one. It is a sausage casing filled with rice and pork with a good mild spice served with tots for $8. The beer is too expensive, but that is a good meal on Frenchmen Street for less than $10.
Last week I was watching the World Series and the woman sitting next to me said she was excited about the Cuban band coming to town to play at Snug Harbor and several other venues over a long weekend. I bought tickets not knowing a lot about the band, the Roberto Carcasses Quartet, and then read a good piece in Offbeat about their trip. They are on one of the last approved cultural exchanges from Cuba, the flip side of Preservation Hall going to Cuba, and they chose New Orleans for the music culture. He plays in several configurations, with the quartet playing more improvisational jazz and the bigger ensembles playing more dance and party music.
I appreciate Snug Harbor as the best place to hear serious music on Frenchmen Street, with a lot of good music out there. I got lucky and found my second favorite seat in the room in the back corner, and found myself seated next to a reporter/reviewer for Jazz Times and Bobbie Carcasses, Roberto’s father and a singer. The quartet itself is all rhythm instruments, piano, congas, drums, and bass. Roberto is a large man, tall with big hands, and he plays the piano in the Chucho Valdes style. He opened with a couple of original solo piano pieces, and then brought the band up to add the rhythm. Bobbie got up and opened with scat singing after singing the praises of New Orleans, and sang with the band for a couple more songs. A female singer singing salsa rounded the night out. It was a great show.
Lying low fighting off a head cold, but Shawn Williams was playing in the afternoon at Cafe Negril. I see her all the time at the coffee shop, and thought I should go see her play. She is a country-rock guitar player and singer/songwriter who throws in an occasional Springsteen cover or 70s-80s pop medley. She has a drummer and a fiddle player who adds a lot to the singer-songwriter sound. It was an odd time of day to seek out music so I was not entirely surprised to see an almost empty bar. There was a group of about ten 30-something frat boys looking like a bachelor party ordering their first drinks of the afternoon, each wanting a recitation of the beer list from the bartender and paying with a card, and then each bought a shot, for a total of 20 transactions when they could have bought two pitchers of beer and a tray of shots. Anyway, when they finished and left after not listening or tipping the band, it was me and one other old guy in the bar. Shawn conversed with us from the stage, recognizing me from Envie, and played some originals she was working on. It was kind of awkward for half a set, and then a couple of groups of tourists walked in filling the place up. It was a good set of music, not in my favorite genre, but it is worth paying attention to her schedule.
People take football seriously here. The LSU/Bama party at Ellen’s porch was a big one, with about thirty people gathered around a couple of televisions on the porch and in the yard. The Alabama fans sequestered themselves in the house to avoid the razzing. It was a good game, but if they had played another 5 minutes LSU would have lost. The Saints did lose the next morning in a lack-lustre game that put the whole Quarter in a funk.
A couple of re-enactors of the slave rebellion of 1811 walked by the football party, and Kappa Horn stopped by to talk about her gallery opening. There is so much going on that you can’t possibly do all the fun stuff, but there is a creeping fear of missing out. The best plan is to just keep my ears open and make the effort to do something new when it catches my eye.
A roach, one of the little brown ones, also caught my eye-the first I have seen in our place. Time to be a little more serious about food storage and cleanliness. I haven’t yet done the deep clean of the kitchen this Fall, and maybe it is time to do that and add some insecticide to the program. Another couple hours of tattooing tomorrow, and Victoria from Craig arrives later in the week for a long weekend, and her impending arrival is making me think about some of the stuff I know about but haven’t done yet like Muriel’s Seance Room or the M.S. Rau antique shop and private collection.