11 June 2008

The Big Easy

"There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God, I know I'm one..."
- The Animals, "House of the Rising Sun" (1964)

It was late. We were all quite "in our cups" as I liked to say. We had made the introduction of the Mint Julep, the Ramos Gin Fizz, a Hurricane, and numerous beers. We'd been imbibing since dinner 
(red beans & rice/crawfish po' boys) - and it was now well past midnight. We had roamed from one bar to the next inside the French Quarter. Our only criteria: live music. And we'd found a smorgasbord. All evening we'd been treated to the best the Crescent City had to offer: a rich musical gumbo of funk, jazz, blues, cajun, and second line sounds all liberally seasoned with as much trumpet, sax, tuba, trombone, and stride piano as we could stomach. Now, as we stumbled along Decatur street some distance from Jackson Square, we could smell the Mississippi just over the levee. We were making a roundabout way back to our hotel as a vague light in the eastern sky was slowly erasing the dark. Suddenly P stopped short. "Wait," he hissed. "Listen." In the distance we could just make out the high, thin wail of a lone brass instrument. "BONE!" P cried. "I hear trombone!" He had a huge, Cheshire grin and a wild, manic light in his eyes. He raised his finger and pointed. "This way..." He turned north and began to follow the music, being led by the pied piper once again. We looked at each other, shrugged and then followed willingly, realizing that this night would not end with the dawn...
KJT - New Orleans, Louisiana (2003)

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