all up in ya.

That's what they say about New Orleans -- it gets all up in ya. And it does, in ways that can't be anticipated. I'm back here to conduct a few final interviews, pack up, and return the keys to this wonderful apartment I've been renting in the Marigny, just a block or so from the strip of Frenchmen Street that has become an essential music thoroughfare -- hosting everything from national acts and local icons at the jazz club/restaurant Snug Harbor to no-cover gigs by John Boutté and low-cover gigs by the likes of Bob French and Walter "Wolfman" Washington at a bar called dba to weekly gigs-cum-swing dance parties at the Spotted Cat to the music of VaVaVoom or the Jazz Vipers (both worthy bands) to Saturday-night late sets with that magisterial swamp-blues warbler Coco Robicheaux at the Apple Barrel.

But more importantly, this spot has offered a great window on New Orleans here-and-now: the education and housing organizers hard at work at Cafe Rose Nicaud, alongside music producer Dan Storper holding meetings, nearby my good friends Barbara and Frank and that irrepressible poet, Chuck, taking on all matters political and social, not to mention all that coffee; the civic organizing, great music (Hot 8 Brass Band, Glen David Andrews, and others) at the Sound Café (and yet more coffee); the steady flow of valuable information from Sylvester Francis's Backstreet Cultural Museum, informing me of countless second-line parades and cultural events; the magnificent air of pride and humility pervading the jazz masses at St. Augustine Church; and the mysterious, romantic, ever-changing yet never-changing, and still smelly (new sanitation service notwithstanding) French Quarter. All of that was just a short walk away, and I haven't even mentioned the Mother-in-Law Lounge!

Lucky for me that the stories I'm tracking continue apace, so I couldn't think of staying away even if I wanted to (I don't).

May 31, 2007 1:10 PM |


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