Loose Strife

An MP3 blog

Thursday, October 26, 2006

#33 - Remembering New Orleans

"Don't You Just Know It" - Huey "Piano" Smith & The Clowns (1958, Ace Single #545)

I took these photos on the first weekend of this year’s New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival back in April.

Why am I posting them now?

Honestly, it’s because I just found the 128MB SanDisk flash card that contained them. In a moment of data storage anxiety over whether to file music-related digital photos and DVDs in their own media sections or with my CDs under their respective artist/genre headings, I had absentmindedly slipped the card into the New Orleans section of my music library, following Blues and preceding Jazz, at the end of the various artist compilations, in between Rhino’s great 1992 CD comp New Orleans Party Classics and a DVD of Dr. John at Tipitina’s in 1986.

The MP3 above is from the Rhino collection; the performance photo is of The Jackson Travellers testifying in the gospel tent the morning of 4/29/06. I don’t have any pictures of the good Doctor performing at Tipitina’s the previous night, unfortunately, because I met a Lousiana dude named Johnny Batiste---a local contractor who I gave my extra ticket to outside the club and who proceeded to get me so blasted on drinks and whatnot up on the balcony, I would have been unable to focus had I even thought to take out my camera. I did remember to rub the brass skull of Professor Longhair for good luck on the way out of Tip’s. But I don’t recall much more of the evening/morning afterwards, except that it involved being dragged around the French Quarter by Johnny and his three beautiful sisters on a tour of the neighborhood’s oldest bars, and then waking up in my hotel room feeling like I’d been freeze-dried. (Hey Johnny, if you're reading this, thanks for what I’m pretty sure was a great time.)

I do recall Johnny telling me that he works for his dad’s construction company, and that for the past 8 months (at that point) he’d been mostly working pro-bono, driving bulldozers and other heavy equipment around the region, pulling cars off people’s roofs and such.

Thinking about it now, I’m glad I misplaced these photos. Last month, on the first anniversary of Katrina, we were all barraged with images, articles, political soundbites, and multiple replays of Spike Lee’s awesome 4-hour doc When The Levees Broke: A Requiem in 4 Acts

Now, as we approach election day, you don’t hear much about Katrina. And I imagine the scenes I saw and photographed in the Lower Ninth Ward and Lakeview and around the 17th Street Canal and many other parts of the city remain largely unchanged, that Johnny is still out there with his bulldozer, and that the podium posturing of last month has produced precious little in terms of on-the-ground results.

Think about it.


At 6:21 PM, November 29, 2006, Blogger Dave said...

If you're a diehard fan of New Orleans music, I recommend Doctors, Professors, Kings and Queens: the Big 'ol Box of New Orleans. Very comprehensive, with the big names sharing space alongside the little-knowns.


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