Tag Archives: Louisiana

Cajun country

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Anywhere that gets the party going at 8.30am on a Saturday morning gets my vote. Breaux Bridges, Louisiana, the heart of Cajun country, and everyone’s doing the two-step shuffle, drinking bloody mary’s, and eating crawfish and cornbread at – what by any reasonable person’s standards – would be the crack of dawn. This is good. Donna Angelle at the Zydeco Posse are doing their thing at Cafe des Amis. Shufflers and stompers are aged from eight to ninety. Along the main street everyone’s selling antiques. One shop’s run by a Beatle fan who plays in a rock band, and that’s going against the tide. I’ve checked into a cabin down on the Bayou – at the Bayou Cabins – run by the crowned King of Cracklin’. Newspapers covering the bathroom wall date back to 1955Fiddle and accordion music from Radio Mustang! thumps across the car park. The owners make crackling, boudin and hogshead cheese which I hoped was cheese but isn’t. There’ll be plenty more on the Cajun guide to life, and a short film, but not quite yet. I’ll be posting features and everything other than rough cuts from filming at the end of the American leg. Currently chasing my tail a little further down the road.

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New Orleans Sound

Rough footage (shot by Dave) taken from a lot of filming in Louisiana which I’ll eventually have time to edit. Yes, this goes with New Orleans Vision (see previous post) because the French Quarter is all sound and vision and (and beer and whisky) and sensory overload. Louis Armstrong was born here, learnt the cornet here at the New Orleans Home for Colored Waifs where he was sent for misbehaving (many times), and I wish I could come here again with George who used to dance with me to We’ve Got All the Time in the World when he was about six, and when we thought we had. Jazz is part of the air fizz, along with funk, country, zydeco and whatever. There’s a band every few paces on Royal Street during the day and, at night, live music booming from competing venues on every side, but it was Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers that stopped me in my tracks outside the Krazy Korner bar. Not literally, because he was onstage. He is the crowned King of Accordion, and fantastic. I also enjoyed the frottoir – rub-board – player. Is it ever quiet here? Is there ever a time when people aren’t dancing down the streets? Doubt it.

Dwayne Dopsie

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New Orleans vision

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New Orleans’ French Quarter is a heady, exotic sort of place that feels steamy, even in November on a day when it’s nippy. Best plan is to submit, get lost, drink beer, join in. Try to be at a certain point at a certain time and you’ll miss the best of what this unique neighbourhood has to offer which is spontaneity – someone in a bar breaking into song, a dancing bouncer, the light on a building, a passing oddball, a monstrous loping spiked stilt-walker bending down to pat a whining dog, a zydeco set.

It took me the first night to work that out. Arriving at 9pm to find you are the only sober people in 10 blocks, your hotel booking has been screwed up (by Orbitz) and the restaurant you’ve eventually chosen has just stopped serving didn’t help me feel the love. Bourbon Street is the loudest, the tackiest; live music BLASTS out of every door and, for all the multiple layers of culture, it’s got the feel of a stag or hen night destination – just missing the traffic cones. I couldn’t hear anything, found it overwhelming and confusing. However, I got up early and, aside from the late night-early morning revellers and locals walking dogs, had the place to myself – a chance to admire the backdrop – the architecture, the colours of the houses, their steps, shutters and their leafy and ornate balconies. You can imagine how life might have been here in the past, I thought to myself as a man in a leather skirt and bra walked past. I don’t think it’s changed much. The buildings are old, but so its tradition for eccentricity, energy, passions, noise.

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