With lots of time to kill in New Orleans and almost no plans made I kept my eyes open for fun ways to spend my days. I soon came upon a free weekly music series happening in Lafayette Square, literally steps away from my hotel.
(Okay, I’m the kind of guy who hates phrases like “steps away from…” Bangor, Maine is steps away from Dallas, Texas – sure, lots of steps, but “steps” all the same. It’s like saying “a fraction of the cost…” Fifteen tenths is a fraction, and it means fifty percent more. But I digress).
So around 6:30pm on March 23rd 2016 I poured myself a drink and put a can of beer in my pocket and walked out of my hotel in shorts and a t-shirt for a night of music in the park headlined by adopted local hero Anders Osborne.
Upon arriving at Lafayette Square I discovered that the park itself was the one place in the city that you weren’t allowed to drink your own drinks. To finance the free concert series vendors were set up selling crafts, t-shirts, delicious-smelling food and most importantly beer and cocktails of all kinds. Consumption was restricted to the vendor’s wares so I finished both my cocktail-from-home and my beer-in-pocket on the sidewalk before entering the park.
I perused the stands and found a good spot to park myself next to the fountain and in the shadow of the statue of Henry Clay. (I have no idea why the park has a statue of Clay instead of Lafayette, but a plaque on the base of the monument says the statue was moved to this location in 1900) The crowd was very, very sparse for opening act Colin Lake and his southern rock cohorts – in a fit of financial prudence I went back to my room halfway through the set and mixed myself another drink.
I did it again as soon as his set ended. I was starting to save some big money and I easily made it back to the park before the music started back up.
Just before Anders Osborne came on the park filled up nicely. By the time he was three songs into his set the place was packed. People around here love this guy and with good reason. He’s a good singer and a solid acoustic guitar slinger and he writes good punchy songs.
On one of my trips back to the hotel room I actually counted the steps from the park to my door (I do that sort of thing a lot). I think it was about 300 paces from my spot at the show to my refrigerator. So not only was I virtually making a profit, I was getting a bit of exercise too.
The show was really good and a fun way to spend a beautiful summer-feeling evening in one of the world’s great music cities, but once the trip back to the hotel started taking 350 or more steps because of my nonlinear deviations I decided to call it a night (after a detour up Bourbon Street for a nightcap, where my staggering fit right in with the rest of the crowd).