05|01|09   Getting stuck in New Orleans

All apologies for being so late to post about New Orleans. Evan and I actually stopped there in late March on our way back from SXSW, but, until now, I haven’t found the time to edit the photos and write about our experience there.

After showcasing at SXSW in late March, Evan and I decided we were going to take a bit of a detour back to Indiana. Most of the midwest is ridiculously drab, and so we figured it might be worth roaming through the south before heading up north again. We had decided early on that we wanted to stop in Memphis in order to visit the Gibson Guitar Factory, but once we got on the road and studied the map, we realized we were pretty much passing right through New Orleans, as well, and we were not going to let the opportunity to visit such a legendary town pass us by!

The first thing I did was hit up couchsurfing.com and send out a flood of last-minute requests for crashing on people’s floors. Given the short notice, I wasn’t expecting any replies, but within an hour or two a girl called me and invited us to stay at her house in New Orleans. Sweet!

After a long drive we finally pulled into Nola around 11PM, and parked in front of the house we were meant to be staying at. Although late, we had been assured by our would-be host that a late arrival would not be an issue. The house was a stone mansion, the lights were all out, the front gate locked, with no doorbell in sight. I called our host, but I was sent straight to voicemail. I texted, I emailed, I called again, I yelled from the street… all to no avail. After hanging around outside for another hour, Evan and I finally got fed up and googled a hostel. We found this place called the Indian House and decided to try our luck there.

The hostel itself was totally sweet, not too expensive, and radiated this sense of bohemia and party-excess – perfect, considering the town we were in. We promptly checked in, dragged our stuff into a group dorm, when my phone beeped. (1) New Message: “Srry. Was high. Where u at?” Out of sheer curiosity I called through to see what’s up, but she was in turn slurring in her thick Spanish accent and yelling at the top of her lungs at her boyfriend. Thanks, but, perhaps, no thanks, girl.

Anyhow, Evan and I spent the afternoon strolling around New Orleans and loved it so much that we decided to stay a few more days, in order to experience a bit more of the night life and catch some proper jazz. And I’m so glad we did stay, too, as the next night would be one of the most memorable nights of our entire trip.

Evan and I met this girl, Courtney, whom we really got along with, and so the three of us headed into town, armed with paper-bag covered flasks of rum. We saw the most amazing musicians play 1930’s New Orleans jazz at a legendary place called the Spotted Cat, which was thankfully a few blocks out from the tourist- and neon-infested Bourbon Street. Frenchman St., by contrast, just had this totally authentic and sleazy neighborhood vibe – I loved it.

After catching the show at the Spotted Cat, the three of us ran into a few more peeps from the hostel, including Andy, who was traveling from London to South America, via Nola. We got to chatting and realized we were both into pool, and somehow we promptly managed to boast our way into a money game against each other. To make a long story short, he played well, I didn’t, and so I ended up loosing not only my first $20 dollars, but also the double-or-nothing game that followed it. Shit! I consoled myself with the thought that, at least, there was no better way to loose $40 dollars at a pool table than to an Englishman in Nola.

Money or no money, life continues on, and so we eventually ended up back at the hostel, and continued drinking whatever we could scrape together until we all finally crashed around 5AM.

Now, after the previous night’s excesses, Evan and I were definitely a bit worried about forking out three nights worth of paid accommodation at the hostel, so after chatting to a guy who worked there, I felt encouraged enough to ask the owner if he would consider shouting us a night’s worth of accommodation and a free meal in exchange for playing a small set at the hostel. After a bit of deliberation, he agreed to have us play; there would even be a BBQ!

The show itself was quite fun with some people getting really into it. One guy from Vermont even offered to set up a show for us there if we came through. Lovely things happen if you make enough room in your life for happy accidents to occur.

Anyhow, eventually, Evan and I had to move on to Memphis, where we had already lined up a place to couch-surf. It was, however, quite a melancholy departure, as we had both fallen pretty hard for the unique atmosphere, lure, and beauty of New Orleans.

One of these days I will find my way back there…

Yay! Check out the new Enright House Shop I just finished making! Even if you’re not the type of person who buys music anymore, do take a look at how pretty and shiny it is! :)

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