Friday, July 18, 2008

Walkin' To New Orleans

Well, no, we didn't actually walk to New Orleans, but by golly we walked when we got there. Virginia and I ventured to New Orleans this past Monday for her birthday and stayed through Tuesday night, which was our 30th anniversary. She has been wanting to visit New Orleans since elementary school, when a classmate described a trip there that she had taken with her dad. Virginia thought that she missed the boat when Katrina blew into town, but the parts that she wanted to see are back on track and we both left feeling that New Orleans is a pretty darned spiffy city. We decided to travel to the city from Brenham by a back route to avoid IH-10, which we had heard was a construction nightmare. So, we saw a bit of Louisiana that can't be found along the interstate and traffic was very minimal.

One of the highlights of the trip was meeting blues guitarist/singer, Brint Anderson who was playing a solo/acoustic gig in the bar Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville. We had just eaten a great meal at a French Quarter dive restaurant called Coop's Place (get the jambalaya supreme w/rabbit, sausage, and shrimp)and Margaritaville was just across the street and I knew of Brint and I knew he was playing there. Tourism was light throughout our stay and we kind of had Brint to ourselves, so we egged him on and chatted him up during the course of an hour and a half or so. He played the blues with passion on a National Steel the entire set and Virginia was really taken with his talent. He played standards by Robert Johnson, Howling Wolf, Taj Mahal, Muddy Waters, etc...with great finger picking dexterity. When he slipped his slide on, though, he really went to town on some Elmore James' stuff and nailed not only the guitar tone, but also vocals that were spot on. He was impressive and we hit it off and since he had lived in Texas at some point, we had a little common ground as far as knowing musicians. We found nothing on the second night that could top Brint, so we returned for more of his playing. We picked up a CD of his live stuff with a full band and really enjoyed listening to it on the way to Texas. He has a new one with just he and his Dobro, which should prove to be a goodun'. Since his gigs are 7-10 pm, it left plenty of time for other thangs, such as a great Dixie Land jazz band at the French Quartet Market. We chatted with one of the musicians who described climbing into a treehouse after the levees broke.

On Tuesday, we took the walking Garden District tour with a very spry 73 year old woman named Katherine Young, who had the history down pat and had us as her only customers for the day. What a marvelous neighborhood that is! We saw Archie Manning's house (where Peyton and Eli grew up), John Goodman's place and one of Nicholas Cage's homes. Takes a little money to have one of those or an inheritance factor, because it seems that quite a few of those homes have been passed down since the 1800s. She said that there was a time, even in these summer months, that she would have a group of 25 travelling down one side of the street and her co-worker would have another 25 on the other side. She walked and talked non-stop for over two hours.

I think that the photo above is of the John Goodman house.

And I think we have the one of Nicholas Cage's homes up above.

And I'm pretty sure that's the Manning house here.

Here's my two favorite guides. Katherine Young guided us past the dead here and Virginia guides me through life.

Back In The Day, I would have joined the party till you puke crowd on Bourbon Street and it has its appeal and lived up to its decadent reputation, but it was just a tad obnoxious to stay the course there. The light crowd made it much more tolerable, but we really enjoyed other parts of the French Quarter more. Anyway, here's some random French Quarter shots below.

We really enjoyed our stay at the Maison Dupuy pictured in the photo second from the bottom. That's St. Louis Cathedral at the bottom. Wonderful trip--Anyway--

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