Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New Orleans! Part 1 (Before the FQ Festival)

Finally! I feel like we've been trying to get here for forever. We found a great place just two blocks from the French Quarter, so we were able to walk back and forth as needed, which is a good thing. First day, once settled in, map in hand, we hit the streets to see what we could see. I hadn't been here in over 20 years, Jack, never. First thing I noticed was the change in the music! 20-30 somethings took over and brought in rock and turned the loud speakers all the way up! Yikes!! How could they do that to Bourbon Street? Rock can be played in every club throughout the US; it should not take over the ONE STREET KNOWN FOR JAZZ!! We found some, but we had to really go looking. We had spent some time with one of the great gals in the Visitor's Center, and she gave us a list of where the Jazz was played - thank goodness!! Sad tho that we would need a map and a list in the one town that used to be ALL ABOUT JAZZ.

We no sooner got back to the rig, when the sky opened up and decided to pour! Lightening, thunder, the whole works! At about 3AM, we decided our shade awning wasn't going to make it, so we threw on some clothes and braved the storm and brought it back in. We were quite a sight, two old f--ts wrestling this big awning in the cold, pouring down rain with the wind whipping it and us in every direction! But, we got it in successfully!!

It was still raining all the next morning, but Jack had reservations for a private tour of the WWII Museum that he had been really looking forward to, and a little rain wasn't going to slow him down! I, on the other hand, chose to hunker down and catch up on some chores and writing. By the late afternoon, the rain was gone, Jack was back and we were able to meet up with dear friends from San Diego for our first night on the town! Dinner at Pat O'Brian's and jazz at Preservation Hall - it doesn't get any more "traditional" than that!!

Our "routine" quickly adjusted to staying up late listening to music then sleeping in the next morning. We'd eat "brunch" in the rig then head into the French Quarter for the rest of the day & night. We quickly found our way around town with several clubs & restaurants becoming our favorites. We found out that it was the week before the French Quarter Festival, a 4-day free music fest that fills the entire FQ area with stages and bands from around the world. Because of this, several musicians come into town early to visit with their friends. They sit in the audience, and sometimes jam with the bands. We ended up meeting a couple of them, and becoming friends with one of them, a tuba player, Keith, from Modesto Ca of all places! Keith brought a group of music students there years ago, made friends with some of the musicians, and comes back (without students) every year at this time to visit and jam with the bands. Great guy, friendly, funny and fun. We kept bumping into him at several clubs we'd visit, I guess because we liked the same kind of music! Another character was an Austrian who played clarinet, and man, could he play! He would sing too, and add scat then add a yodel to it, which was hilarious! We could count on seeing him at Fritzel's, a great European Jazz Pub on Bourbon.

We jammed so much into these two weeks that I'm going to break them down into separate subjects, otherwise, this would become the "great American novel" and I don't think we are ready for that one just yet! ;-)

...kicking back in Louisiana, Marie

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