New Orleans – and all that Jazz

Friday, 16 October 2009 at 06:16

Second day exploring New Orleans. Today, our feet protesting from yesterdays incessant walking (toes always exaggerate everything by the power of 10), we tried the public transport network for $5 a day – as much as you can eat. You know how it is when you have a travel card? – the more you travel the better value you feel you get. So we took the tram as far as we could up Canal Street, just for the sheer pleasure of getting more for our money. No other reason, and n. o. other benefit.

We discovered that US trams don’t quite go to the end of the line but stop in the middle of nowhere short of a sensible destination (like I do so often). And that some bus stops are are virtual ones created by a crowd of people. In a separate incident, we also discovered that Walmart staff are rude and unhelpful and the products are cunningly shelved in reverse alphabetical sequence of the third letter. Retail is detail after all.

On the sunny side of the street – we heard an excellent variety of live music today. As we sat at the famous Cafe du Monde with our cafe au lait and moreish beignets covered in snow drifts of icing sugar, we were entertained by an extravagant and lively jazz band. Their cheeks inflated like balloons as they made more noise out of shiney brass instruments than should be humanly possible. Then a sublime quintette of strings in the park. Finally, a vibrant brass band on stage in Lafayette Park – a great jazz buzz with 100s of people, decent grub and a very acceptable beer. Interspersed with all of this were diverse soloists on street corners, playing anything from Wish You Were Here to Mozart and back.

My head contains no tunes – but my heart is still beating in rhythm to the thud of double base and rattle of drums. The trumpets are whining manically in my head as they seek dominance over the saxophones, forming an allegiance with the trombones. The battle continues. Sedatives shall be required before sleep. Of which I had 3 hours again last night – I was staring at the muddy Mississippi at 4.30am this morning.

A day also of great food and photo challenges. Why can’t people stand still whilst they are performing, at least for 1/250th of a second? (longer please in the dark). And boy was it hot. More fluid required.

Eureka. Fluid + Sedatives = $9.99 Red Wine. Bon Nuit !

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