It’s true I tell ya. This entire weekend was a defining “I love New Orleans” moment.
My Friday evening looked like this: two bar stools, Abita Amber, discovering the jukebox-friendly treasures of Miles Davis & Jimi Hendrix, bizarre conversations that only two brass players could have, cheap wine, unraveling the inherent rhythm in a line of trash cans, and a film named Pink Flamingos at a dive called Lost Love Lounge. It gets worse (better) from there.
Cue three hours of sleep. 7am rolls around and I jack-in-the-box myself awake, poke the other two sleepy folks in my apartment, and head 8 blocks south to catch the Running of the Bulls. This deserves a bit of a description.
The “runners” are thousands of New Orleanians dressed in white with red sashes, and usually have a cocktail in hand. Or they’re wearing elvis costumes. The bulls are 600 poised women on roller-skates, dressed in red and wearing bull horns. Oh – they’re swinging paddles and baseball bats.
It’s our way of celebrating Pamplona’s Encierro. You can find out more about the event here.
An hour later, I was eating grits at the Trolley Stop Café on St. Charles Avenue.
…then it’s naptime and a few hours of work…
Evening strolls through and a friend drives down from Mississippi. Dinner is Middle-Eastern. Hummus & Falafel.
An hour later, while walking through the lower quarter, I sit on another bar stool (no, there really isn’t a pattern there) at Molly’s to grab their signature frozen Irish coffee. Suddenly a hand covers my eyes as I sip and a guy belches out “go get your horn!” Turning around, there’s a 20-piece thrown-together brass band playing their drunken hearts out on the street…and I know a few of them.
Long story short, the next six hours were spent second-lining and bar-hopping through the French Quarter with this group of oddballs and a good friend of mine who has just moved to NOLA.
It was a BP protest-meets Bastille Day celebration-meets typical band bar hop-meets Second Line. Crowning moments were singing the Marseille at the Joan of Arc Statue, second-lining to “Down by the Riverside” along the bank of the Mississippi, and drawling out Iko Iko on the way to Johnny Whites.
The iPhone can be amazing. Here’s a short clip I managed to take:
At the end of the night, my friend mentioned that on my tombstone she would engrave, “I love this city”. I think it’d be appropriate. I suppose I could sit here and make an academic analysis of the whole day… but I don’t want to scuff the experience. I love this city.