(STEAMBOAT CALYPSO plays at the Country Jamboree)
What a privilege, that I can skip the winter in Canada to spend 3 months immersing myself in the music, dance and creative culture that is a part of New Orleans. After the Fringe Festival and my beloved Myrtle Family flew home to Canada , I found a sweet little sublet in the lower ninth ward, where one might think they were living in the country. This room belonged to the beautiful Sam Doores of the Deslondes, and I cannot imagine a better place for me to hunker down to sing, write and study guitar. There were chickens in the yard, a handsome yodeling neighbor and the Mississippi river just over the grassy hill that is the levee. In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina, that river breached the levee, and this entire neighborhood was covered in water all the way up to rooftops of the houses. Many people were stranded on their rooftops and I spent a lot of time fathoming that and all that occurred during and after the storm. There is a Katrina Museum in the french quarter and a lot of information on-line, as well as a great documentary called Trouble the Water if you are interested in knowing and understanding the huge impact Katrina had on New Orleans and the people in it.
The level of musicianship in New Orleans is really high and very inspiring. Folks playing music ALL of the TIME. Every night of the week has some sort of musical event and/or some sort of magical parade or something creative and interesting. From, Big band swing, country two-steppin’ and Cajun waltzes, I danced to Tuba Skinny, The Wasted Lives, The Johnny Hatchet Band, Steamboat Calypso, Witt’s End Brass band, The Loose Marbles, The Deslondes, The longtime Goners, The Best Western Swingers, Petunia (visiting from Vancouver) and the Snakies (amazing pick-up band).. and so so much more!