New Orleans #3

By: | Post date: October 25, 2009 | Comments: 2 Comments
Posted in categories: Countries

It’s a couple of hours later. I continue not to know how to have fun, and given how I’ve already exceeded my nightly budget, I think I’ll turn in early and get the full day tomorrow.

[EDIT: Because of having to deal with the ending of this post, I did not end up turning in early. And I may well already have a hangover…]

So having spent my last $2 for the evening on gravy and mash at Popeye’s (hm… well, it’s spicier than the Other Establishment’s anyway), and having downed in total three cocktails in the evening—which makes me decidedly drowsy, I’ve nothing left to do but lodge my report, and try and work out how to download video from my camera. There is a reason I don’t drink much…

[EDIT: Yeah. Hangover alright. At 2 am.]

Royal St has not got a lot going on of a Saturday night; then again, confronted with the contrast of Bourbon St, few places will. It does however have a lot of galleries and antique shops. The antique shops overflow with chandeliers and fine carvings and all the money made off the back of the plantation slave; it’s easy enough to tune that out, I’m afraid, and when you do, it’s lively and garish itself, but a bit too brittle-looking to match the noise of the next block up.

The galleries have a lot of imitation-impressionism depictions of Gay Paree; that’s New Orleans trading off its francicité, a good century after it’s become too artificial to. I liked the imititation-impressionism: colour and texture that’s still figurative, and not abstract or *shudder* conceptual, but not too caught up in the details of depicting stuff, and impersonating a camera. Regrettably, my suitcases are burdened enough as is, and there would be some logistical challenges in getting a 1×2 m painting into the overhead compartment of the plane. I’ll just have to find who in Melbourne Town does that kind of painting.

I didn’t quite get what Decatur St’s story is, and I got bored too quickly to find out; so I headed back up to Bourbon St for one last lap.

Music here grabs you in the street and won’t let go. Which is why you come to New Orleans in the first place. Opposite a hotel in Royal St, the Royal Street Doo-Wop of Jay, Ray and Gee (special guest star: a white dude doing bass) was enchanting its surrounds: they managed to get me to by their CD when they launched into a much improved “What a Wonderful World”. The CDs of buskers tend to be a disappointment: they don’t catch the spontaneity, the hucksterism, the passers by joining in. A blessing on them anyway, especially for taking the time (as they were singing the next number) to sign their CD for me. Review when I get around to it, likely in Irvine.

The Royal St Doo-Wop was enchanting and sparkling. At Canal & Bourbon—where I kept confidently predicting I would be taking residence in the gutter—I noted no conspicuous gutter to take residence in. But I did note a jazz band that was not merely grabbing you in the street, it was blockading the street, jumping out with baseball bats, and battering your eardrums until you too had to grin and bop along. The trombones were the baseball bats: they’d keep cracking against the sidewalk and ricocheting after each trumpet solo.

The narrative I’d got in my head after five seconds (as I started grinning and bopping along) was that the black folk were on the street bopping, and the white folk were on the sidewalk filming. After a couple of minutes, I worked out that was too convenient a dichotomy: several white folk were bopping along too (though very much on the sidelines), and at least one black guy was filming from the sidewalk.

The band was brash and loud and disruptive, and the couple of upmarket restaurants on Bourbon had their maitre d’s staring anxiously out the window. (Bourbon St is a silly place to put upmarket restaurants, and I’m sure they’ve worked that out by now.) The band was insanely infectious; when they started hatcheting at the Beatles’ Come Together, turning it into a cacophonous cosmogony, I hesitated for a few seconds, then decided to join my fellow whiteys (and the one brother), and film as well. Thereby making me upload to YouTube for the first time.

Well, maybe you had to be there…
[EDIT: I was not the only person to have YouTubed them:]


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