Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Big Hazy

I didn't go to New Orleans to escape the inauguration of President* Donald Trump; that was just a providential side effect. And I didn't drink to forget. That's just kind of how it goes in that no holds barred town. What follows is a scattershot diary of the parts of the weekend I do recall.

Should've known better, probably, than to start my first day with back to back sazeracs at Backspace, on Chartres. Its motto is 'Located at the intersection of writing and drinking', so I think you know how I feel about it.

After a couple of hours of really bad pool (and watching the dealer we'd been playing with run some local youths off his corner) at Checkpoint Charlie's, my friends and I spent the better part of the rest of the day wandering from bar to bar on Frenchmen Street before winding up at Balcony Music Club. We danced with the locals to a killer brass band at the latter place, but I'll be damned if I remember their name. One of my friends really, really wanted to ride the mechanical bull at The Swamp, and we indulged him. Bourbon Street is by far my least favorite part of New Orleans.

Woke up Saturday morning* rarin' to go** and headed out to grab a bite to eat***.

* It was 10:45, so I guess that's still morning.
** I'm still hungover, so you can imagine how I felt about my life choices at that point in the day.
*** Ate about three bites of jambalaya and choked down a bloody mary before I had to go back to my hotel to clean myself up.

I had a decision to make at that point, and since I was in New Orleans, that decision made itself. I went to Jackson Brewery. I managed to force a few beers down my throat and began to feel almost human just as the local version of the Women's March made its way down Decatur Street. The pussy puns gave me a second wind.

Headed back to B.M.C. just in time to catch the end of a set by the Jazzmen Brass Band right as the buzz was beginning to overtake the pain. Tight race for a while, though.

Caught a Jeff Tweedy lookalike at the Apple Barrel Bar while my friend unsuccessfully tried to chat up the singer's girlfriend. That bar might - might - hold 30 people, if everyone sucks in their stomachs and doesn't move. It's so New Orleans that the band in that tiny venue was unique, talented, and committed to their music. 

Made a tactical error because most of the group wanted to try oysters at Bourbon House. The charbroiled oysters were sublime, and the small batch bourbon flight phenomenal, but the restaurant is the hell and gone back to Bourbon Street from Frenchmen, and I'm quite sure we could've gotten our fill of oysters somewhere closer. 

While we were eating, we noticed multiple tables of young, floppy-haired dudes in tuxedos with dates in fancy dresses. Turns out a fraternity from the University of Alabama (Roll Tide) was having a formal in New Orleans. Had I known such a thing existed, I'd have reconsidered my matriculation in Williamsburg. Who knew stuff like that happened?

Trekked all the way back to the Spotted Cat, where I saw something I'd never seen before:

That's Doctor Sick sitting in with the Russell Welch Quartet, playing a saw with a fiddle bow. No big deal. Happens all the time. Those were four of the best gypsy jazz musicians you'd ever want to see, in a room as big as my basement. As zman is wont to say, cot damn.

And to top it all off, we went back to B.M.C. yet one more time (careful readers will recall that this was the same place where I 'met' Chris Rock and Olivia Wilde that last time I was in New Orleans), where we danced with an elfin lesbian and a smoking hot British girl to Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers. I wish I'd captured my own video of these cats, but this'll have to do.

Ended on a high, we did. It wasn't my finest New Orleans performance, but I'm a bit past my prime. It's still the most unique place I've ever been. I'm in the market for a wearable washboard.

And some cot damn aspirin.


TR said...

I want to be happy for Rob, but I'm really just jealous.

I'm really happy for a potential Roger-Rafa final. Really love watching both those guys. I'll be in Tokyo Saturday evening, so time zone may allow for it.

rootsminer said...

Rob, the wearable washboard is called a rubboard. You can get a regular washboard and tuck it into your belt or jeans pocket and you're good to go.

My jug band just went last week to Devil's Backbone for a corporate event they were doing for their Budweiser distributors. They wanted the guests to be able to play the jug and washboard. It went pretty well until two quite lubricated gentlemen cornered the washboards and started playing them with the bottom of their pint glasses. It was like running with ankle weights.

I'll be in New Orleans for a conference next Thursday through Sunday. Planning to spend as much time as possible in the Frenchman St. area.

zman said...

"The pussy puns gave me a second wind."

Well said.

Squeaky said...

Helluva, tourist pitch by Trump for the Netherlands.

mayhugh said...

All I know about New Orleans is to never suggest to a local that something isn't spicey enough. I once visited with a lass who told a bartender to make our Blood Marys (Marys Bloody?) really spicy because "the last one wasn't spicy enough." The bartender took this as a personal affront to Cajun tolerance for spice and served me something akin to liquid cayenne.

Shlara said...

Putting out another Desus + Mero endorsement.
Their commentary on current events is superb.

Whitney said...

Federer. Yes. Wow.