Reckless Road Trip to JazzFest

Posted: April 25th, 2018 | Filed under: Culture, Food, Ruminations | 3 Comments »

I could have jammed all the way through to New Orleans in one day. I’ve done it many a time. But that’s when I was younger and my piss and vinegar levels were higher.

So I had a res at one of these generic interstate service area motels, the ones that keep their lights on for you, even if the baseboards are falling away from the plastic wallpaper. And I was getting close to it and Meridian, home of Jimmie Rodgers, and couldn’t decide whether to be prudent, stop, get a good night’s rest and finish up on the morrow as planned? Or, put the pedal to the metal and sleep under the Crescent City’s yellow moon yellow moon?

That’s when I noticed that I, with a penchant for mph in the 80s, was trundling along at 56 miles per hour.

Taking the internal hint, I figured it was best to stop, pulled off, cruised by Cracker Barrel and Applebee’s and into the parking lot of my fully laminated hostel. There will be no late night snacking at Café du Monde this evening.

And then a weird trip got more furshlungener.

Early on, I’d already been seriously let down by my Sirius XM DJ Meg Griffin, who loves loves loves JazzFest but mentioned it not once during my hours and hours behind the wheel with her my companion via satellite radio.

Flipping stations in the middle of bumper to bumper morning not so much of a rush hour in NashVegas — it took an hour to get through Oprytown — I got a sign from another record spinner of what’s on the end of this pilgrimage.

The sounds of the Crescent City. The resonant side. The dark side expressed oh so sweetly.

Out of the dashboard box came one of the town’s more notorious R & B classics, by one of the city’s great Queens, Bobby Marchan. He sang with Huey Smith & the Clowns in a group that included James Booker. And was a female impersonator of note.

His solo song playing was “There’s Something on Your Mind (Part 2).”

Rather than try to describe how outré the tune is, I’ll quote the voice over and ending:

And then you make it/ Back up on the scene/ Where your loved one and your Best friend are now together/ You go right in and bust Down the door and shoot him

You can’t shoot her/Because you know if you shoot her All of your love and your long Lifetime will be gone forever/ And just as you make it up/ In your mind to forgive her/ Here come another one of Your best friends through the door

 This really makes you blow your top/ And you go right ahead and go in person/ To your heart and shoot her/ And realizing what you’ve done

You say, baby, please forgive me/ I’m sorry

 And with her last dying breath

She looks up at you and say

Do do do do, whoa, oh

Oh, what am I thinking, this is the internet. Here’s the tune, parts 1 and 2.

That’s some heavy eggplant.

Even awhile later hearing Irma Thomas singing “Ruler of My Heart” during a quick stop for a two piece box that wasn’t so Louisiana fast at Popeye’s in Tuscaloosa couldn’t get me back to even. The number of other patrons in houndstooth ball caps surely added to my discombobulation.

That B0bby Marchan’s got a sweet heart, but a dark soul, covering that Big Jay McNeely tune in a Rampart Street kind of way. Walk on the lit side of the street in that town, kids.

Then matters got ominous.

When I settle in for the evening, in a room looking out over the adroitly named Frontage Road, I got a string of emails from a couple of the minion of guys I’ll be supping with tomorrow night at Mosca’s on the Westbank. Both barristers. One from New Orleans. The other a criminal lawyer in NYC, who somehow just happened to find himself in the SDNY courtroom during last week’s hearing when Michael Cohen’s counselors tried to get his papers and effects back.

And our guy just happened to be quoted about the whole sordid mess in the New Yorker and elsewhere.


What’s up wit dat? I’m wondering what’s the guy’s deal? Is he the funny, benign fellow I thought him to be when meeting him at a crawfish boil a couple of years back? I had been taken that night that he launched into a litany of anecdotes without drawing a breath. To the extent that, after about ten minutes, I put my hand on his arm and interjected, “I’ve always admired a man who won’t let me get in a word edgewise.”

And what have I gotten myself into, eating dinner with him and some other New Orleans “movers and shakers” at a place still owned by some heir of NO mafia boss Carlos Marcello?

What if the attorney brings along a quiet guy, who sits at the end of the table saying little but taking in everything, a fellow who when introduced puts his hand on my shoulder, and whispers to “give him a call if I ever need anything taken care of in New Orleans,” a guy whose business card advises he’s in waste management?

And if my man, who one day is front and center in the Michael Cohen imbroglio and the next is supping in Carlos Marcello’s haunt and, at some point he and his mysterious taciturn pal excuse themselves and step out into the gravel parking lot for a private tete a tete, well . . .

 . . . don’t send in lawyers, guns and money. There will be plenty of all that in the joint.

Just don’t look for me.

I’ll be the guy with garlic breath and one last juicy thigh of Provino Mosca’s grande chicken in my paw, crawlin’ out the bathroom window and heading away from there with all due haste and heading back over the Huey P to the city to find some serenity and sanctity and safe harbor.

 I’m thinkin’ Bourbon Street.

 — c d kaplan

3 Comments on “Reckless Road Trip to JazzFest”

  1. 1 Dough said at 12:58 pm on April 25th, 2018:

    Glad you made it safely and keep “telling it like it is”.

  2. 2 Dood said at 1:52 pm on April 25th, 2018:

    Just have a feeling that your dinner tonight will be better than mine with The Boys. Am I envious, you’re damn right.

  3. 3 Dough said at 3:01 pm on April 25th, 2018:

    Dood, I beg your ‘ardon. Tonight’s repast will exceed your expectations.

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