Friday, July 30, 2010

Day Thirteen

Today’s essay I’ve got to run through quickly because I’ve got an 8am breakfast date with my father, Mr. Bob French. We’re meeting him at Lil’ Dizzy’s in the Treme, and I am sure this is going to be a very long breakfast. I will post my thoughts on this on Saturday.

Thursday was the most casual day of this trip, yet Cece and I accomplished so much. After a much needed night of sleep, we ventured to City Park to go to the New Orleans Museum of Art. I love spending time in this place, and I wanted to show Cece a few particular items in the gallery. It was nice to learn that they have “all day free” Wednesdays, and they stay open on those days all the way up to 9pm. What a great opportunity to see some great art collections for free. But since this was Thursday, Cece and I paid “out of state” ticket prices. Must be an aftereffect of the storm.

In the modern art gallery, I introduced Cece to one of my favorite pieces—Picasso’s “Woman In An Armchair.” I was always impressed by the painting and by the fact that it was in the New Orleans Museum of Art. I would come down to the museum at lunch sometimes just to view this piece. It is worth the price of admission. On the same floor, there is a Jackson Pollack piece. I don’t remember what it is called, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen it. As much as I try, I still can’t quite figure it out. Art, like Jazz, is an expression of one’s emotion through a medium. It is an expressive art form. Coltrane’s “Father, Son, Holy Ghost” reminds me of how something completely abstract can make perfect sense to me. Still, Pollack’s work is a bit too “easy” to seem abstract. Lines and swirls are indeed filled with expressive potential. Yet, if the expression is only “understandable” to the artist, I am not sure if it makes much sense.

After the Museum, Cece and I head to Parkway Tavern for their famous poboys. I choose the Roast Beef with Debris, while Cece chooses the Shrimp. Once we get our sandwiches, she is amazed by how much shrimp is on her sandwich. There is no way she can eat the whole thing, and we only ordered a “half” sandwich. I try to tell her that one of the great selling points of New Orleans food is the bounty of it all. Pure gluttony at times. She looks at me like she understands, but she also takes half the shrimp and sets it aside to eat later.

Fully stuffed from the Parkway Tavern, we head back to the house to rest up for an early afternoon outing. Cece is going to enjoy the Quarter while I’m doing my show at WWOZ. It takes me only “two hours” today to put the show together—and even with this effort I know I’m only going to use a few cuts from the music I select.

Doing this third and final show at WWOZ seemed rather melancholy to me. I enjoy getting the phone calls and the email messages from listeners, and it is always satisfying to know that people are enjoying the selections. There is lots of “funky” jazz on the current set list for today. And, as usual, I put in lots of classic jazz like Coltrane, Monk, Mingus, and Davis. I thought I would end my show with some vocals, and I play one cut by Kaya Martinez off of her recording Embrace. Cece had interviewed Kaya earlier this week. It was a wonderful show, and it ended much too quickly for me. Indeed, this whole trip has been such a quick and indeed beautiful time to be back home.

I really enjoy playing this music, and I believe I can do it on a weekly basis. The biggest problem is that there are no opportunities to play Jazz on the radio in close proximity to where I currently live. I have tried internet radio, but that is expensive. I have to buy much of the current music, and the subscription price I must maintain for the use of the internet radio station kept getting more expensive. I finally had to drop my show last year. But after doing three shows back at WWOZ, I am tempted to revisit the idea of doing an online show once again. I guess I’ll sleep on this a bit when I get back to Texas.

We end our early evening interviewing my former graduate student Elise about her experiences during Katrina and her thoughts about Katrina-5. She and her boyfriend Justin own a bar in the Hospital District in the CBD. They’ve had this bar since February 2005. The cinder-block and brick building sustained minimal damage during the storm—nothing that couldn’t be repaired relatively quickly once they had the chance to get back to clean up and once their insurance money came in. Their house in Mid-City, though, took a bit longer to repair. Only recently have they been able to move out of their backyard apartment and into the main house. It has taken them nearly 5 years to complete the work on their house.

Elise’s story is very similar to the others we have heard on this trip. Basically, the city has “recovered” at a much slower pace than we thought, but it has gotten back on it’s feet. We are all hopeful that the city will continue to recover. Elise’s first words that come to mind when she hears the name “Ray Nagin” is “crazy.” She thoroughly believes he went crazy mental after the storm. She raises a good point—I believe he did as well.

Cece and I decide after the interview that we are going to call it a night. She wants to spend some time with Bike Guy, and I “chaperone” a meeting they have close by that lasts until midnight. I’m falling asleep during this time, and I finally tell them I need to go to bed. He departs, but I promise him a warm meal and a place to stay for a bit if he ever finds his way up to Killeen. I am sure he won’t take me up on that offer, but you never know.

As Cece and I head into our last two days in New Orleans, I am trying to keep as open an agenda as I can. We’ll meet with Bob French on Friday morning, and then we’ll meet with Miss Lee on Saturday afternoon. Cece is going out with Camera Guy on Saturday morning for lessons on how to shoot the Quarter, and I must find a Wal-Mart to pick up this year’s Saints shirt and hat. When it comes right down to it, I see lots of walking and photography in my two days ahead. That and one more Hansen’s and one more Sazerac.

Yeah you right!!!

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