|Nagin sighting and Best of the Beat
||[Jan. 23rd, 2006|11:20 pm]
|||||"You Belong to Me" - Elvis Costello||]|
So Saturday night I went to the Best of the Beat Awards at House of Blues. I've been into the city a few other times since the hurricane but this was my first true excursion. I brought my mom with me because it also happened to be her birthday, and my dad wanted to tag along too. We arrived in the French Quarter around 5:00, so this gave us an hour to kill before the doors opened. Killing an hour for us roughly translates to walking aimlessly up and down the same section of Canal Street...don't know why. We stopped at one of those tourist-trap-type markets. I think this one was Voodoo Mini Mart, or Mini Voodoo Mart, or VooMart MiniDoo...some shit like that. Anyway, the important thing here is that we kept seeing those damn 'Willy Nagin' shirts. At this point, I don't even know if it's funny anymore...oh, who am I kidding, it's hilarious and he deserves it! Anyway, T-shirts...my dad considered buying one and said "Wouldn't it be funny to walk past Nagin and he saw you wearing a shirt like this?" Sure enough, we're walking towards Decatur Street past Palace Cafe, and who else do I notice eating dessert (of all meals) by the window but MAYOR C. RAY FUCKING NAGIN! I didn't want to get caught leering, so I didn't get to see if it was chocolate mousse. *rim shot*
Yeah, so Best of the Beat was fun as hell. I actually found it be a lot less formal this time around, probably because HOB is a den in comparison to Generations Hall, where the '04 ceremonies were held. Didn't stop me and a good number of other people from dressing up. The awards given out this year were whittled down to the Music Business, Heart Beat, and Lifetime Achievement awards. The recipients for those last two were none other than Irma Thomas and Allen Toussaint, two of the most important figures in founding New Orleans R&B, rock and roll, and pop music. "Home...home...everybody come home" was Mr. Toussaint's impromptu and infectious chant that night. Pretty inspiring coming from a legendary man who had lost his home and probably all of his possessions to Katrina. Proof positive that this Category-3-4-5-who-gives-a-fuck-now bitch of a catastrophe didn't just hurt the poor and anonymous; interview-shy Fats Domino even let news cameras into what was left of his 9th Ward mansion, and this guy friggin' influenced the Beatles! The main point of the night for me, however, was a reminder of how much incredible music could have been lost, and how much of it has returned. The following are bands I cannot BELIEVE I never got around to seeing live until that night:
- Morning 40 Federation (couldn't believe my parents even dug them...this band IS New Orleans)
- Quintron and Miss Pussycat (indescribable...weird...frenetic...unforgettable...they're not bad to look at either, and they use puppets!)
- Michael Hurtt and His Haunted Hearts (real-deal rockabilly/old-school country courtesy of one of my fellow OffBeat columnists...no drummer, 'cause the bassist is just that powerful)
Needless to say, it was fun. Highlights included CC Adcock joining the Quintron coterie for a free-from synth-swamp-boogie jam, and Hurtt's band closing with my favorite Jay Chevalier song..."if you wanna go to Cuba, better learn to do the Castro Rock!" A night like this solidifies it. I love New Orleans, I love its music, and honestly, I don't think I could live without it. Not to say I'll never leave it, because only time will tell, but it has its own culture that I couldn't imagine not having in my life.
Pinch of vanilla in the chocolate city,
And before I go...what would I be? My blood is mostly Houma Indian, so I'm not even that vanilla. Any suggestions?