The Blue Nile on Frenchmen Street: Stooges Brass Band

The Blue Nile on Frenchmen Street: Stooges Brass Band

“Marigny Strolling” in the deep and dense foggy night with heavy moonlight on Frenchmen Street just behind the Vieux Carré. Stumbling and bumbling and rumbling, it’s New Orleans city bouncing from D.B.A to the Blue Nile music venues. It’s all smoke and beer and whiskey and sex and sax and funk and trombone. The band starts its third piece still on the first set. It’s Saturday night; everything clicking just right. Big man sousaphonist blows left and right, up and down, pumping the knees marching-style while blowing the hell out the brass. The crowd, hot and high and frenzied, swing forward, backward, left, right, it does not matter. Trombonist with cheeks puffing out like a blowfish about to explode like the “wafer-thin” fat man Mr. Creosote and The Meaning of Life. Drummer desperately tries to maintain pace wildly beating on Kerouac’s[i] “rolling crash of butt-scarred drums.” Trombone man puts down his brass to shout, “You got to wind it up” and something about Michael Buck while the crowd cares less about the actual words because it’s only the beat that means a damn thing. Read more

Urban Camping in New Orleans

Urban Camping in New Orleans

A Sociologist Learns to Squat:

The four of us sit outside Flora’s Coffee Shop and Gallery on the corner of Franklin Avenue and Rue Royal in Faubourg Marigny waiting for the rain to either drench the city or move on to another destination. Earlier today Shannon texted me to “bring a tarp, a sheet, bug net, water, food for morning, and a flashlight or headlamp.” She’s weary of the rain and the trouble it might bring, especially with feet sensitive to long periods of being wet from a life of traveling, squatting, and hopping freight trains. Kindness helped me pick up all the necessary gear this afternoon as I helped her look for an apartment near the Fair Grounds in Mid-City. The photographer takes pictures while we wait for the fate of the rain gods of New Orleans. After eating we decide to scope out a place to squat for the night. Our urban camping adventure begins.

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Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, Where did the Locals Go?

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, Where did the Locals Go?

Saturday nights in the deep New Orleans June summer stick to the skin like the juice from the Rue Des Orangers, or the city’s municipal street “orange” – Satsuma – that sticks to your fingers. It’s “bar in the car” night as down and almost out Lightfoot and I head with a few dollars in hand to Rouses Supermarket in Midcity to buy a bottle of NOLA rum and coke to put in an ice-filled cooler in the back of his car. We invented “bar in a car” years ago to compensate for the costs involved in our nights on the town, (only back then it was, to confess, Red Bull and raspberry vodka along with a few choice enhancements). New Orleans provides a prime setting where those lacking money can provide their own drinks pouring cheap cocktails, wine, or straight hard liquor into plastic cups from the back of their car with a self-supplied bar. Most drinking venues along Decatur Street between Ursulines Street and Esplanade Avenue in the Vieux Carré allow people to enter their establishment with drinks purchased elsewhere.

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Café Beignet: Day Shift

Café Beignet: Day Shift

Café Beignet on Rue Bourbon right on stripper row about three blocks from Rue Canal in the Vieux Carré. It’s memorial-day weekend, a time when travelers from around the world find time to dip down to New Orleans before the oppressive summer heat takes hold of the “northern most Caribbean city” only thirty degrees above the equator. At 9:00am the old French-and Spanish-style courtyard called “Musical Legends Park” offers an inviting space for tourists as they begin their day amidst the statutes of great music heroes of New Orleans, and the smell of Cajun breakfast cooking in the kitchen fills the air. The musicians Steamboat Willie and Friends prepare to play Jazz, Dixieland, and Ragtime for their first set much to the delight of a courtyard full of eager tourists thirsty for New Orleans tunes and specialty cocktails.

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