April 17th, 2017 was just another day in my favourite bit of America: The Big Easy, Crescent City, the Birthplace of Jazz, Mardi Gras City, NOLA, Paris of the South…Nawlins!
(That’s New Orleans, Louisiana for the nickname-averse.)
Our hotel room was just that – a hotel room rather than my standard (and preferred) suite – so the first order of the day was to go down to the lobby to microwave our leftover po’boy sammiches and fuel up for a day that would see m’lady and I take the iconic and ever-so-romantic streetcar to Magazine Street where we slow-grooved through a few antique shops, got coffees and beignets, pressed our noses against a dozen window panes, and I found a guitar-driven pawn shop that took up as much of my time as the adjacent clothing shop took from m’lady.
Our lackadaisical idleness eventually led us back to our hotel room where we happily watched our Ottawa Senators beat the dreaded Boston Bruins in overtime to take game three of the opening playoff series (a series the Sens would go on to win 4-2) before heading back out for another streetcar ride to Oak Street.
I acquiesced and agreed to sushi for dinner, a fairly easy choice as I wasn’t very hungry anyway (at least for raw fish) and afterwards we sauntered to the funnest little classic music venue in town, the Maple Leaf Bar.
There is just something so very important to me to stand in a venue such as the Maple Leaf and experience the musical bliss of a player like George Porter Jr. (as if there is anyone like George…). It’s a pilgrimage to a musical Mecca, a rite of passage, a baptism of groove, a salvation of soul, and all of it with a Dark & Stormy in hand. The true glory comes from watching Porter’s head shake back and forth in quick and subtle Parkinson’s-like gyrations that somehow direct colossal funk lines to stream endlessly from his fingers. When George is doing his thing from atop a two-foot stage right in front of your ears you know you’ve landed. This is New Orleans buddy; you’ve arrived.
Another great thing about Nawlins is how friendly everyone is. At setbreak we met a proud local named Mike and his friend Nathalie and we spent the rest of the evening hanging out with them. We all stayed until the very end of the evening (of course) which the band closed with Goodnight Sweetheart (of course), after which we bid our new friends farewell and hopped the streetcar for the final time of the evening, which got us back to our room in time to get to sleep by 3am.
Yep, just another day in paradise.