Music galore in Crescent City

19 Feb

Click on any photo to launch the gallery.

I got to check a number of items off my musical bucket list in a recent trip to New Orleans with my wife and friends.

Tipitina’s was the highlight of this trip. We attended the weekly Fais Do Do — or Cajun dance party — featuring Bruce Daigrepont and his band. They were raucous, and the locals certainly put on a display of fancy Cajun dancing.

As newbies, we stood out, but the locals and the band encouraged everyone to get on their feet. It was a friendly group, and fiddle player Gina Forsyth even took time to talk to our group as we entered the bar, and then mentioned the visitors from Keokuk, Iowa, during the first set!

Band leader Daigrepont supplied complimentary red beans and rice during the intermission, and what a treat that was. I’ve never heard of Mick Jagger serving fish and chips during a concert!

Great Cajun and Zydeco music, a friendly band and crowd, free dance pointers — I can’t recommend the weekly Fais Do Do any higher.

We also made two trips to Frenchmen Street, located in the Fauborg-Marigny, just outside the French Quarter. On Wednesday night, we heard another good band at the Spotted Cat. But the street bands were even more fun that night.

We returned on Saturday, and the bars were so overflowing that we didn’t stay long. We would have loved to hear John Boutte at dba, but it was wall to wall people. We eventually stayed for a few songs at Maison.

The takeaway for the day: come early on the weekend or come on a week night.

And we stopped by Chickie Wah Wah on Friday night. The bar is located quite a ways down Canal Street but easily reachable by streetcar. Loved the bar and talking to the locals. Johnny Sansone and a couple others played a few improvisational sets for the evening. Tift Merrittwas playing on Saturday, and the way Frenchmen turned out, I wish we would have returned for her. I loved some of Merritt’s earlier songs, so it would have been fun to see her in person.

If the trip showed anything, it showed just how varied the outstanding music can be in New Orleans. Where else would you find such a wide variety of top-notch music in friendly and inviting confines in a span of just a few days? Only in New Orleans.

Here’s a short video I shot of one of the street bands on Frenchmen Street:

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