Thursday, February 17, 2011

36 Hours of Awesome (a weekend in New Orleans)

I normally don't write about my personal experiences on here, but this past weekend needs to be documented. It was just that good.

I started off Saturday evening with a few drinks and a few friends. My boss and I had to head up to the Leaf so he could shoot Tommy Malone's new band. The crowd was light, the band was competing with Big Sam at Tips and Ivan Neville and Khris Royal at the Blue Nile - both of which already have the massive following that a new band just can't take on. The crowd was filled with good people though, so it really didn't matter. You could tell during the first song that the band was brand new, but they really got grooving after about ten minutes. Tommy has such a great voice and the rest of the band was doing just fine. Bob shot the the first set and we left to head down to Tips so he could get some shots of Big Sam.

The Tips scene was kind of abnormal, but good. Backstage was filled with a bunch of kids and the upstairs was empty. Big Sam put on a great show, as always. That man was born with a mic in his hand and learned to dance before he could walk. It's rare to find someone with such killer stage presence. I was surprised by and completely in love with Eric Vogel's 7 minute bass solo. The rest of the band left the stage (water, cigarettes) and Eric made my night. He moved through musical genres playing up and down the neck of his bass and ended with a samba jive that pulled Sam back on stage to dance. It was great.

 Big Sam at Tips (Photo taken by Bob Compton )

After the show I wandered over to Snake n' Jakes for a few drinks with some close friends. We talked until we were all close to passing out, took one more shot, then left for home. On my way back with a friend of mine, I had the bright idea of stopping in at the Mayfair. When we got there the bartender, Jill, was closing up but let us hang while she finished. Jill and I decided to move on to Brothers III, yet another late night dive, to have a few more drinks.

Around 6am I was swaying. "Jill," I said, "it's bedtime for Anna."
She looked up from the poker machine, "I'm just going to hang here till daylight then go get some breakfast."
"Alright hun, well if you're going in less than an hour and a half, don't call me. If you're going in more than an hour and a half, give me a call." (I needed at least some sleep)

Around 7:30 I was awake and hungry. I called Jill. "Breakfast?"
"Yeah! But there's some marathon going on. I can't cross the street."

I figured that either Jill was delirious or I was hearing things, so I ignored that and got dressed. Tie dye pants seemed appropriate for the hour, so I pulled them on. I walk out to St. Charles and lo and behold, there's an effing marathon going on. Springsteen's "Born to Run" was playing from a DJ booth next to Superior Grill and the runners were dressed in costumes varying from a pride of lionesses to a man in a penis hat. The marathon went down St. Charles till Louisiana then wound back up Prytania.

 Runners on St. Charles

When I got to Coulis I found Jill sitting at a table enjoying a big cup of Kettle One on the rocks and an, as she put it, appetizer of bacon. The huge windows at Coulis looked out on the marathon runners so we had a great view of them as we clogged our arteries and drank vodka.

When we left the restaurant Jill asked me if I would spot her as she tried out her new stilts. Jill will be dressing up as a butterfly for the Box of Wine Mardi Gras Parade and had yet to see if she could actually walk in stilts. At first I thought this was a bad idea, but she tempted me with Absinthe and Abita and off we went.

Imagine this: two drunk (etc) girls, one on stilts, one in tie dye pants, walking down the St. Charles neutral ground with beers in hand. To the left and right there are marathon runners dressed up in crazy costumes and at each intersection there are bored cops. Born to Run is playing (again).

Jill and the Cops. The one to the far right told Jill that he had always liked bigger women.

Jill and I made it to Louisiana and then headed towards Cafe Prytania. Cafe Prytania has a fantastic happy hour special: from 11am-8pm they serve beer for $2 and liquor for $3 (per shot). It was 10:45am. Colby, the bartender, let us in early and served us up some Abitas.We took this chance to take lots of pictures and try out the stilts in various, every day situations:


Jill's first bathroom experience on stilts

We sat there till about 2:30pm hanging with regulars and taking shots.  Bob, my boss, picked me up from the bar and we went to the Not So Super Hero Ball planning committee barbeque. I was doing alright but was definitely too shot to socialize so I sat on the couch reading Hunter S. Thompson's Hell's Angels and eating mac n' cheese.

Once evening hit we rolled back towards my hood. Bob dropped me off at the Mayfair where I stopped in to have a beer and reminisce with Jill before heading home. I was dead to the world by 8:30.

I love New Orleans.