I slept in Saturday, and went out a little later than usual in the day, and after some good Envie time, I walked up Decatur Street, swimming upstream against the tourists. I stopped for a Guinness at Mollie’s, and then across to the Tayho Tavern. I walked in and it was as busy as I have seen it. Lauren was one of the two cooks, and the bartender and waitress were just overwhelmed. I ordered a Wagyu beef burger, and after what seemed like a long time, I got an order of fried green tomato caprese by mistake. It was good, with the fried food as good as it gets, and the mozzarella balanced it well. The burger was excellent, but it seems odd to me that two out of the three times I have been there the ordering process has been difficult. I hope they are able to smooth it out, because I would like to go back for the food.
I walked through Jackson Square and along Bourbon for a few minutes, trying to catch the crowd before it turned from the afternoon eccentrics to the evening crazies, and sat at Johnnie White’s. I was in my usual perch, and a guy about my age with long flowing white hair said, semi jokingly, that I was in his seat. He leads one of the cover bands on the street, and was fun to talk to about the changes on the street over the last couple of decades. I’m not sure he had great insights or perspectives, but he did have some good stories. He was visibly relieved when I vacated his chair to go meet the Touro Street Irregulars at the Orleans Grapevine around the corner. The ladies were through their first flight of wine, and after a glass of wine with them they solved my cash problem by giving me cash and letting me put the bill on a card. Better than an ATM. We walked back via Turtle Bay for snacks, and I called it an early evening, skipping the Krewe du Fool party.
Jill invited me to the Algiers Point Friendship Day block party, and we met in the afternoon for a walk across the Quarter to the Algiers Ferry dock. The streets were crowded, almost unwalkable, because of the cruise shippers and Spring Breakers. It was less pleasant than usual because the we were trying to catch a ferry that only runs once an hour. We made it to the dock and met Jena. It was good to be on a boat if just for 5 minutes, and it was good to see the city from the river. The boat is a temporary ferry, passengers only, with a small inside space and a large open deck. There were about 60 people on the boat, pretty close to full capacity.
We made it across to Algiers, and met with Jill’s friend Stephanie and her family, and Rene and her husband. Algiers is surprisingly cool, with the same old houses as the more interesting parts of Bywater in a more relaxed way. There was a St. Patrick’s Day-themed party going on, and there were a few hundred people outside the Old Point Bar listening to a country band and drinking green Dixie Light. A beer critic would not approve, and it was pretty bad. They had set up a slide on the inside of the levee, using old political signs as a track and cardboard boxes as sleds. The kids were having a blast. Rene had a beautiful Moss-sized border collie, black and white, who was enjoying the crowd.
We solidified our St. Patrick’s Day plans, which include me bringing some smoked salmon to Jena’s apartment which directly overlooks Parasol’s and is the place to be for the block party. I’ll have to find refrigerator space for it on the termite tenting day, but there is probably no better use for it. Jill and I walked back across with a stop at Kingfish for Happy Hour appetizers. They were as good as I remember, and I have to keep it on my mental radar. I hadn’t been in since December, and should go back before I go.
I ended the very good day at the R-Bar, talking with Nicole about fish, and negotiating the cooking arrangements for Monday. Hopefully we can pull it off.
It was a good Monday, with a walk through the Quarter to Rouse’s for odds and ends with a stop at the Faulkner House for a little more reading, still working on Andre Codescru, this time a collection of his essays on New Orleans. He is a funny and observant writer. I talked with Puge and one of the guys that lives above the bar for a bit at Mollie’s. I’m never quite sure if the guys who live at the bars, literally, and also work in nearby bars are the bar backs or the owners or trust fund babies slumming. I’ve met them all and recognize that in New Orleans it is best not to rely on appearances or public personas.
I prepped fish, fighting a little freezer burn on a big piece of coho with lime juice. I Uber Ed over to Nicole’s place in St. Roch, a pleasantly quiet neighborhood. It is a recently “better” neighborhood with few entertainment businesses and a worse reputation than the reality. her house is new construction in the exterior style of a shotgun, but the interior is modern. The lack of security bars and doors says something good about the neighborhood. I cooked a piece of white king, a beautiful piece of coho, and a couple of pieces of coho that did not survive the travel well. I jerked the two worse pieces, Italian spiced the king lightly, and did just parsley and salt and pepper on the final piece. Nicole made asparagus and potatoes. Unfortunately only one of the expected guests made it across town, and I think the ideas of entertaining at home is pretty foreign to a place with so many good entertainment venues. It was fun to cook and share the fish.
The guest that did make it, Richard, was a interesting fellow, a man in his 70s who had a career in Wisconsin Democratic politics and a veteran of the Hillary campaigns. He currently splits time between Ballard, Washington and a house on Burgundy near Music Street, near Marie’s. He has sailed as a hobby on Lake Michigan, and was familiar and fascinated with Haida Gwaii and northwest culture. Nicole is a 40ish woman of liberals politics, and it was good conversation to have about the future of the Democratic party and progressivism with three people of similar politics but different generations.
After a good morning and a stop at Mollie’s, I went home and prepped the house for the termite tenting. I put some stuff out in the shed and only had a little bit of food to throw out. I packed up a lock box from the safe and the last bit of smoked salmon. I took those over to Jill’s for storage. I went to Buffa’s to test my new ATM card and it started to rain. I sat with neighbor Dave for an hour as we let the downpour stop. Huggie described the bachelor party he is arranging that features a Dungeons and Dragons game with a topless moderator and a catered late night meal from Arnaud’s.
I had taken all the food out of the house, so I went to 13 for the taco Tuesday special. I met a couple from Chicago who had taken advantage of the corona virus travel bargains to take a long weekend. I steered them to Checkpoint Charlies for Shawn Williams early and dba for the Treme Brass Band late. I went to Checkpoint Charlies and sat for a set. She called me out as iwalked in from the stage, which is always kind of fun. No anonymous crowds in this part of the Quarter.
The mayor cancelled the St. Patrick’s Day parades and block parties, withdrawing police support. I’m guessing a lot of people will still be out partying unofficially, but the pandemic puts a pall over the ordinarily festive weekend. I like these parades, both the downtown and Uptown versions, and will miss them. Now we are waiting to see how things play out as Spring Break travel approaches. There seem to be lots of good reasons not to travel, but the trips have been planned and anticipated.