After the 9th ward we were ready for a drink. And what better place to get one than the famous Bourbon Street?! On the way there, we drove through the Treme, a neighborhood in the 6th ward and namesake of the HBO television series. This was neat for us because we got to see more elements of the city that are not only key to its identity, but also important to Michael and his family...things like the St. Peter Claver Catholic church, where they often attend mass and a construction site for MINC (mixed-income) housing, a concept Mr. Kelly supports as a means for prosperity in New Orleans.
Okay, enough of me sounding like a teacher, and back to a topic more familiar to NOLA visitors: the French Quarter! We headed for Pat O'Briens for some of those notorious Hurricanes. Christy "the sipper" and I decided it was basically a glorified Jungle Juice (anyone who has been to a college frat party knows what we're talking about here), but we loved it anyway. It was a great atmosphere and the perfect way to get us pumped up for the next item on the agenda.
This time we were off to the 7th ward to a bar called Bullets, which sounded cool until we pulled up to the street and wondered exactly how it got its name...slightly sketch. We were a little behind schedule so Michael quickly parked and got out of the car to head inside. Christy and I weren't so eager. We exchanged matching looks that seemed to say 'What are we doing?/This is a good idea, right?/I will if you will.' Luckily we are both always up for a new experiences, just like Thelma and Louise, so we hopped out and hoped for the best. We got it.
As Harpo's veterans, waiting in line to pay cover was not exactly a new experience so the familiarity calmed us down a bit. Any last trace of hesitation vanished as we stepped inside and into the world of Kermit Ruffins. It was an ordinary bar, with low ceilings and a makeshift stage at one end that wasn't even elevated. We soon learned that fans of Kermit don't need a fancy venue...only a dance floor and a Saints t-shirt, even for the 75+ year-old man that was the best dancer I've seen in quite a while. Kermit was awesome. I'm usually not a big fan of that word, but in this case nothing else will do. He played the trumpet and sang and danced and drank and entertained like only a true born-and-bred New Orleans musician can. Every few songs he'd announce, "I'll be right back!" and leave the makeshift stage to catch up with an old friend or get a fresh drink. At one point he handed the mic over to one of the waitresses, who wasted no time before she busted into a full on rap that went on for at least 5 minutes and sounded like it was straight from the MTV music awards, NOT a tiny bar in the 7th ward. It was so fitting to see the sign above the bar that read "Believe Dat." Once again, it was a true New Orleans moment for us and our love for the city continued to grow.
Another one of my favorite moments---as we stood crammed together among a great New Orleans crowd, and in typical fashion, were some of the tallest ladies there, a short man wiggled through and as he approached Christy, tapped her on the shoulder and said, "Excuse me Shorty!" So funny. Okay, one more thing...check out Kermit Ruffins!! He has made cameo appearances on the HBO show Treme (I'm sure you remember from the last post.) :) And more importantly, he's, well....awesome.
After our fill of Kermit, we were pretty much dizzy thanks to the loud music and an extreme lack of food. Of course Michael had another fabulous place in mind to grab something...and get a free cup, COMO style! Port of Call on Esplanade was great. When I walked in I felt like we'd been transported to the lower deck of a ship, complete with a musty-basement smell and nautical decor. The place had great burgers, and, thankfully, a refreshing 'windjammer' for manly Michael. Yes, that's another version of Jungle Juice. And if you were wondering, it's technically a small 'monsoon'. So maybe he's not that manly after all... :)
We finished up our marathon day by checking out the St. Louis Cathedral/Jackson Square and the River Walk. The original plan was to hit another bar for more live music, but finally our stamina ran out. We settled for an equally stimulating game of 'categories' on the drive home before Christy and I fell fast asleep to the sounds of Michael singing Broadway hits. This is not a joke.
Thanks for being patient as I continue to blog at my remedial pace. More fun stories to come!