Tuesday, February 21, 2006
New Orleans and Wild Magnolias down but not out
The first parade of the Mardi Gras season kicked off Saturday, and I wish I could have been there.
The radio is tuned to KKJZ, the jazz outlet here in LA; an NPR special in honor of New Orleans with an all-New Orleans lineup. New Orleans is on everyone’s minds here; I actually work with two people who call NO home.
Yep, the one and only time I made it to New Orleans was on the eve of Mardi Gras, February, 1980. Lorie and I were moving from Charleston, SC to LA and we were stopping in NO to pay a quick visit to a mutual friend in the Crescent City; we had no idea that we were about to arrive in the middle of the biggest party on the planet. We were driving across the Lake Pontchartrain Bridge and the people in the cars passing us were tossing back beers and slugging from hip flasks. I couldn’t figure out what was going on until I cranked up the radio: just after Professor Longhair finished up some screamer, the DJ came on and said the magic words: “FAT TUESDAY!”
I reached into my secret stash, pulled the Jack out, and the party was on!
Our friend’s neighbors took in the baby and Lorie and I were treated to some of the best hospitality we have ever received: invitations to complete stranger’s homes and parties (black and white), watched as the neighbors made their costumes, ate huge crawfish by Lake Pontchartrain by candlelight with silver candelabras and the whitest of linens, paraded in the neighborhoods and joined up with the big parade, the whole magilla. Stayed up for three days and nights, listened to Eddie “Cleanhead” Vincent in a club just off Bourbon for the price of a beer; what a gas, what a place.
My father once told me that New Orleans was his favorite city in the world; when he died he left me his collection of Dixieland jazz; about one thousands records.
What more can I say?
LA Express is online
I've started another blog, devoted to more news-news stuff, plus a realtime feed from Information Clearing House. I'm still gonna do longer pieces here on Reality Frame, but go for a more blog-like wham-bam stuff on LA Express.