Wednesday, April 28, 2010


We force ourselves out of the king sized bed in the cool, dark hotel room made for sleeping. Stacey shuts off the noise machine and I make bad coffee, one cup at a time, in the bathroom.

We head straight to Canal Street, look right, look left, look right again and then turn left towards Duffys. We don't know this restaurant, but the sign tells us we can have breakfast and that's what we need. We have eggs and potatoes, coffee, juice and toast. We consume this meal quickly ready to get to Preservation Hall which is only about five blocks away.

We decided the day before to start our day at Preservation Hall. It was one of the "stages" for the FQF and like all the other shows it was free. When we arrived we took a quick look around and then looked for a seat. Ended up standing in the back which gave us a good view of the room. That's what it was, a room. A room, in a house, in the French Quarter. It was a house that could only look the way it did because of time. There is no way you could replicate this place. It was old and dusty. It was faded and worn. It was dark and cool. And it seemed kind of religious. It was my kind of religion.

We Stood back and watched while five guys made beautiful music. These guys were old and young. They were fat, they were skinny, they were black and they were white. These men were into their job. They smiled, they sang, they blew their horns and tapped their drums and told us stories. They talked about the musicians that worked this room before them and pointed some of them out in the large, old oil paintings handing on the walls. It was a treat to be in Preservation Hall for the first time.

The night before we had talked with Harry about seeing a gospel show this morning. Right on time as we are leaving Preservation Hall the cell rings and Harry tells us to meet him at the Royal Sonesta Hotel for said gospel show. We get to the hotel which is a short walk and are directed to the one of the many bars in this old hotel. There are so many people trying to see this show they are spilling out the door into the hotels hallway. On my tippy toes I can see across the room and notice a back door right next to the band stand. I don't see Harry. No worries, Harry is the kinda guy you like doing things like musical festivals with. Harry can take of himself and I know he will be there any minute. So we walk around the side through a restaurant, through a court yard and find the back door to the bar. Damn it's lock. But just then it opens, the band walks out and Stacey and I walk in. The band is just taking a break and the room is packed fairly tight. We grab a spot on the wall next to the bar. As soon as I get the bar chefs attention I order 3 bloodies, knowing Harry will want one. The band returns to the room, but they head straight to the bar. One of the guys in the band, turns out to be the head man, orders a drink, turns my way, smiles, shakes my hand and says thanks for coming. He proceeds to do this to anyone within reach. Harry walks up and the guys shakes Harry's hand, tells him thanks and heads for the stage. Harry tells us that he is Glen David Andrews and it's his gospel show. He said there is also a drummer, a tuba player and a piano.


This is the gospel show?

Where is the choir?

Harry assures me these guys can handle it.

So this small skinny guy plays the tuba. He sports a Kangol and sunglasses the whole time. He smiles a lot, did a good job and twice turned his back to the room and shot down the contents of a brandy snifter.

The drummer was wearing a nice suit and drinking Bud Lite. I was standing just about 2 feet away from him. He was introduced as also being a member of the Lil Rascals.

The piano player was an older white guy in a tux. Everyone knew him and he got a big cheer when introduced.

Glen David Andrews wore a dark suit, sunglasses, played the trombone and was drinking champagne. It was clear most in the room knew of him and his act. And boy did he have an act. He sang, he preached, he wept, he drank, he blew his horn. At one point in a song he went out the backdoor with his trombone only to reappear in the front hall way where he entertained the overflowing crowd of fans. He made his way back through the crowd to the stage having fun with the crowd as he went. He had them singing. He had them dancing. He had them clapping. The whole room would have walked right out of the Royal Sonesta, into the street and followed Glen David Andrews wherever he went. He was quite a Showman. This was one of the best shows of the weekend.

Next we met up with Amy at Harry's Bar. Had a drink and headed to the huge stage on the Riverfront Park. We were going to see Trombone Shorty. We were way early and that was very lucky for us. We walked up right as the Treme Brass Band was just getting started. The Treme Brass Band is as New Orleans as anything in this world is.
Tremé Brass  Band I think you need to know a little history to really appreciate these guys. You need to know a little about Treme, the neighborhood in New Orleans this band reps.

The Treme Brass Band is a marching brass band from New Orleans. They are led by snare drummer Benny Jones, Sr. Kermit Ruffins played trumpet with them a few years back. Treme has a reputatuion as a dangerous place. It should be known as well for the music. It comes blasting out of every front door. It is the life blood of this community. The Treme Brass Band plays for parties, parades, funerals, or any occasion that called for music to accompany the Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs. The street parades, which often go on for hours and miles, developed their own unique style that is carried on by the Tereme Brass Band today. Click here to listen to the Treme Brass Band. They were really fun to see. Horns, horns, horns.

After the Treme Brass Band played we walked back to the Chart Room for drinks and a bathroom. The Chart Room is a cool bar in the Quarter with cheap drinks and funny bartenders. That was a really good thing about this festival. A bar or some place to use the bathroom and get a drink was never to far away. As you can see, we just walked around the Quarter having cocktails and listening to great music.

After the Chart Room we walked back to Riverfront Park, only 3 or 4 blocks, to hear Trombone Shorty and his band, Orleans Avenue. We have been hearing about Mr. Shorty and his music for a few years now. This was a rock and roll band. Some songs were great, but most of Trombone Shortys act was too much noise for me. There was a guy playing a Gold Top Les Paul, kinda Hendrix like. There was a heavy duty bass player and there were back up singers. Like I said a little too rock and roll for me.

It was about 5 p.m. and we were tired. We had been in the sun for two days now, drinking most of the time. We bid Harry farwell and headed to the Barone Plaza Hotel. We pull the curtians shut, turned up the white noise machine, we showered and slept.

When we woke around midnight we wanted food. We dressed and walked to the Lowes Hotel and ate in the bar at Cafe Adaliade. We ate there last year and loved it. This year was good, but just a bit less then last year.

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