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Deacon John

We’ve been trying to catch a legendary Deacon John show for the past decade. The stars were always just slightly misaligned, traffic tosses in a curve ball, or conflicting commitments conspired to keep us from hearing the master at work.

This year, everything just clicked. We caught Deacon John and the Ivories for their performance at the Old U.S. Mint. This special show was in support of The Friends of the Cabildo in the Old U.S. Mint’s 3rd Floor Performance Space, a trippy, intimate 150-seat venue lit up in warm reds, oranges, and yellows. The entire set was recorded for the Louisiana State Museum archives and future museum exhibits.

This performance was a true tour de force of American popular music (their playbook is almost 800 songs strong!). From Duke Ellington to Cab Calloway, Fats Domino to Stevie Wonder, their 1.5 hour set was awesome. The band was tight and mood playful and fun.

We wish you all could have been there with us, but here is a little taste:


Now Playing: “When You Get Back” – Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen

Posted from Ventura, California, United States.

I still feel New Orleans in me with a weight similar to a very full belly, a heavy presence that leaves me wondering if it might be embedded in my belly forever. At no other point in my life have 10 days gone by so quickly. Never before have I felt so fulfilled from an amount of work that felt so small, in context. There is a part of me that is New Orleans, an itch I can’t ignore, but can’t yet scratch. I find myself wishing I’d brought more home. The voodoo doll from the French Quarter, cajun seasoning and sliced garlic from the cooking school (the vanilla bean extract was confiscated at the airport), bottle-cap framed ouija board from Dr. Bob’s, the “past cards” I’ll be sending away to parents and grandparents, the 3 CDs I acquired from musicians that inspired us all, the magnets on my fridge, the mud on the bottom of my suitcase, the crumpled up boarding pass in the front pocket of my backpack… I can put all these things in a pile in the living room but I can’t bring New Orleans home with me, at least not physically. I mean it honestly, though, when I say it’s a part of me forever.

New Orleans made me want to be a better musician. It made me want to forget the stupid little day-to-day things and focus on the important stuff. It made the “hard work” at home seem insignificant. I wanted to stay for a year and keep working, keep asking the locals to tell me their stories, keep learning about the history. I wanted to contribute. I learned things about gardening that I convinced myself I would re-create at home. I learned more about a history of a town with more stories than I could probably ever hear in one lifetime.

 

I did things I never thought I’d be able to do in less time than I would have ever imagined, like, for instance, when I was able to identify tree species by day 2, or hack through 100 meters of blackberry in an hour and a half. I got a taste of what strength really looks and feels like, and it was gone too fast. Does anyone know of any place around Ventura County where you can chop wood or hack at something with a machete, for recreation? Does anyone have anything invasive they need help tearing down? You have my number.

 

Rock n’ Bowl

On Thursday evening we went to Rock n’ Bowl. It was one of our favorite places visited on this trip. After bowling, we all went towards the dance floor and danced with each other while the band played Zydeco music.

A few minutes passed by and a gentleman asked me, Juliana, to dance. I told him that I didn’t know how to dance well to Zydeco music and he decided to teach me how. It was so much fun!

As we began to leave Rock n’ Bowl for the night, the man that taught Juliana how to dance, Dave Naccari, stopped us all before we left. He grouped us up and played a few songs for us to sing together on his ukulele. He then gave us each his cd for free. Meeting Dave was a pleasure and made for the perfect ending to our night!

Places like Rock n’ Bowl and people like Dave are what make New Orleans so enjoyable to be in.

To see us signing with Dave, follow the link below!

Mingling with John Boutte!

Posted from Madera, California, United States.

After a long day out on the town and the forest, a few girls and I headed to Frenchman street to check out D.B.A and listen to some John Boutte! (Rhymes!)

The Jazz bar itself was loud, but the crowd would shush each other whenever John sang. Every song was amazing! Nothing quite feels more like New Orleans then listening to some good jazz . At the end of his gig we went up to buy CDs, and I lended him my sharpie to sign them! The line wasn’t long initially, but grew rapidly after 15 minutes. I got to sit on stage and chat with him the whole time. Eventually, I told him to keep the sharpie in exchange for a photo! Overall such a good choice. A great end to the third night of our trip.

Us and the sharpie!

Bullet’s

Posted from New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.

“It doesn’t look like it’s bumpin’ just yet,” Dr. Anderson mumbled to himself as we pulled in to park, in what looked like a regular residential neighborhood. On the corner stood a triangle building, a charming host, a security guard, and some friendly locals, mingling and waiting for the entertainment to begin.

We got comfortable for what couldn’t have been more than fifteen minuntes as exceedingly friendly waitresses greeted us and surrounding tables shared friendly smiles. Then, the all-female brass band took the stage. A woman tested the comfort of her sousaphone, another her alto sax, a trumpet, a keyboard, and drums took the stage to play local favorites. Right away, the CSUCI students sprinted to the front to start the dancing. They danced all the way through the set, befriending audience members as the crowded seemed to quadruple within a few performances.

It was a quick visit, but a great way to end the night, after a long day including a levee failure tour, and exploring the French Quarter and its rich history. Exhausted, we take to bed, and anticipate another early day tomorrow.

Lists

Posted from Camarillo, California, United States.

I’ve got two lists – one “to bring” list, and one list of names, the names of people for whom I can definitely not fail to buy souvenirs.

A death/skull themed gift for Professor Olsthoorn, the osteologist.
A portrait of Mistress Marie Laveau – the voodoo queen – for my mentor, a French historian.
A mask for my mom, since she’s brought so many home for me over the years.
My dad is a drummer. I’m sure I can find something, what with the jazz and all.
Something for my boyfriend… probably a beer coozie and a shot glass.
The list keeps getting longer. I hope New Orleans has some good clearance bins.

I’ve hardly slept this week, haven’t packed, have worked almost every day after school but won’t get my paycheck until next Thursday. At least I got my laundry done, and the only homework I need to complete is an essay on Women & Gender in History.

I’m saying all this because this is what I’ve done in the time I’ve waited for this trip to come. I may not be packed, but I’ve been so very ready for days now. I’m ready to get dirty, sweat, possibly faint. I’m ready to probably cry. I’m anxious to finally know, in person, a culture I’ve been obsessed with for years. To hear, in person, jazz around which I’ve formed a musical identity as a singer, flute player, and occasional desk drummer. To taste, finally, the shellfish, beignets, alligator, gumbo, and jambalaya I’ve only attempted to recreate in my tiny apartment kitchens. Well, except for the alligator…

As an anthropologist, I’m ecstatic. As a foodie, I’m hungry. As a musician, I’m anxious – in the toe tapping sense of the word. As a historian, I’m honored. As a student, I’m ready for the challenge.

Grow Dat & New Orleans Jazz Orchestra

Today we visited a nonprofit organization called Grow Dat. This program creates opportunities for youth in the Louisiana area to experience real responsibilities of having a job, while also providing a useful service to the public. The following positions are available through the program:

  • Grow Dat Youth-The farm aims to create a healthy and supportive work environment for high school-aged youth from New Orleans who face limited job opportunities. 
  • Grow Dat Apprentice- This Grow Dat adult program is an opportunity for adults interested in advancing their knowledge and skills in sustainable urban agriculture to learn through hands-on experience, instruction and support from mentor farmers.
  • Volunteer- Individuals (ages 10 and above, minors must be accompanied by guardians) are welcome to help with farm tasks such as weeding, non-native plant removal and harvesting on select days during the 2015–16 farm season. 
  • Farm Share CSA-Farm Shares are a form of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), a way for the community to become “member-investors” who receive a weekly portion of the farm’s harvest during the growing season. 

 

March Schedule of Activities

  

A view of part of the farm

We picked weeds and cleaned up some of the garden beds so that the produce can be harvested and enjoyed another lovely afternoon in the gardens.   

Basil, Lettuce, & Arugula

 

This evening we attended a show- 50 Shades of Miles. A true New Orleans event.  

Show Program


  
  

    Mildly in love

     Our Saturday started the way all good Saturday’s start–with a six course meal. 

    We arrived at the New Orleans School of Cooking early in the morning and walked to the local farmers market. On our walk, our guide and head chef Michael, told us about the importance of food and culture in any city’s history. We learned the true meaning of creole. We were split up into groups and each group made a portion of the meal.  

      
      After our amazing meal, we were let loose in the French Quarter for the rest of the day. 

    Even though it was a bit rainy and wet, the French Quarter was one of the best days I’ve ever had. In New Orleans they have something called a second line, that is basically a parade in the street that is led by a marching band. They do a second line for weddings, births, holidays, even funerals. After about an hour of all of us going our separate ways adventuring through the French Quarter, a second line was marching with their band through the middle of the street. 

      

    After this day, I thought there wouldn’t be much more excitement. There couldn’t possibly be more excitement, right? 

    Maybe excitement isn’t the right word, but I fell mildly in love with John Boutte. 

    Here is a link to him performing one of his songs at Jazz Fest, that actually is the theme song for an HBO series Treme that, of course, takes place in New Orleans. 

    ‘Twas a day well spent, dousing myself in culture. A great transition into how we will be spending the rest of our time here–doing fieldwork! 

    Stay tuned…

    Looking back

    Posted from Camarillo, California, United States.

    New Orleans is easily the most amazing place I have ever been. I will never forget my experience with our ESRM 492 class and inspired by the kind nature of the city’s residents, the phenomenal musicians, and the diverse culture that blessed New Orleans.

    Exploring the French Quarter during our first days in town gave me an impression of the people native to the area. Absolutely everyone I encountered had a smile and kind words for the work our class was doing for the city and region.  Paul Sanchez strengthened this impression with his pronounced “thank you” to our class with free CDs and a public mentioning of our hard work during his fanatic set at Chickie Wah Wahs. I was also inspired by the love that the city’s residents had for New Orleans and how that in turn fed their history, culture, and family.

    Everywhere we went it seemed that there were street musicians, artists, and other performers livening up the scene. Every club, social establishment, or venue we visited had some of the most talented musicians I ever had the pleasure of hearing. These musicians were well versed in the musical history and culture of the city and assisted in making my New Orleans trip even more unforgettable.

    The liveliness of New Orleans was most evident in the parades the city seemed to have most nights we were there. There were parades for St. Patrick’s Day,  St. Joseph’s Day, and a small parade for every wedding that took place in the quarter.  I was amazed by New Orleans’ friendliness with artists and street performers. Unlike Los Angeles, I can actually believe that a performing musician can make it comfortably in New Orleans.

    The work our group did in the wetlands was grueling and labor intensive but impossibly rewarding for all of us when we thought about what the city now means to us (and I suspect anybody else who has ever experienced the Crescent City).  We were reminded of this sentiment whenever a loud soul would shout “CORNBREAD!” at the top of their lungs to raise moral in the swamp. That food will forever be a rallying cry for the group that took this trip to the beautiful New Orleans.