It was worth the near drenching to get to Adolfo’s on Frenchman Street for dinner. The pork chop was sensational with a sauce that had about 10,000 calories. I could barely walk afterwards despite the fact that I had not eaten all day.
I spent all day today doing interviews. First, Roger Lewis and Gregory Davis from the Dirty Dozen, then Allen Toussaint at his office on Rober E.Lee Blvd near the lake, and finally Jon Cleary at his house in Bywater, where he cooked up some red beans and rice. Cleary says New Orleans after Katrina was ‘like a little old lady who had been beaten up.’
This evening, my mate Al Laskey, whom I met at my first Jazz Fest in 1991, picked me up (on his pick up) and drove me back to Bywater where he lives the dream, working as a builder and presenting a program on WWOZ.
We dined at The Joint. Perhaps ‘dine’ is making this litle neighbourhood rib joint sound a little more sophisticated than it really is. Half a rack of ribs and two beers for US$18. Like so many eateries in New Orleans looks are not only deceiving but irrelevant. The food is cheap and good, the atmosphere is ‘funky.’ We did plan on sitting outside and enjoying our beers but the mosquitos started to eat us alive so we retreated.
Al is organising for me to get some studio time at WWOZ to record my program.
The day was a write off. I spent all day editing interviews and trying to produce the program. An hour at OZ in the afternoon helped. Jorge there was really helpful and set me up in a little production studio which was perfect for what I needed. I continued back at the Maison Dupuy.
In May I bought an M-Box type thing which works okay but the microphone is picking up all the ambience in the room. I am recording some voice overs with a blanket over my head.
In the evening Al and I went to the Louisiana Bistrot on Dauphine. Great. I told Al we could enjoy a romantic dinner. He did not seem thrilled. It is definitely a step up in atmosphere from Adolfo’s and while the pork chop came in second, although the sauce was possibly a lot healthier.
Al tells me that when they have the annual fundraising appeal at WWOZ the programs after 10.00pm do not have to take part! He said he does not like to beg anyway. I was astonished that he can opt out. We talk about radio – a lot. Seems ‘community’ radio is the same everywhere.
Breakfast in Bywater with John Porter, who relocated here from Los Angeles with his wife Linda last year. (You can read about her in Keith Richards’ book). He loaned me a Shure SM7B microphone which later worked perfectly for about half an hour until my software packed it in. I should have taken him up on his offer to record the program in his home studio. Next time. Eventually I get the program finished and sent off.
Jon Cleary at dba to tonight at 7.00pm. Cooper’s Sparkling for US$5! Cleary does two solo piano sets. In the break I chat with him and Porter who tells me some great stories about the Stones, Jimi Hendrix and others. He also talked about Robert Palmer and those great albums from the ’70s Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley, Pressure Drop and Some People Can Do What They Like.
After the gig I go across to Adolfo’s only to be told by some exiting patrons that there was no food left. ‘Talk to the chef,’ said the waitress when I walked in, explaining that Adolfo’s wife had been in hospital and they had forgotten to order supplies for the day. That’s New Orleans. The young fill in chef says he has one rack of lamb left. That’ll do. The two Johns come in but are turned away. I have the last skerrick of food. It turns out to be the best rack of lamb I have ever had.
On the way out of town I drop into see John Porter and leave him a copy of the new Ry Cooder album. In return he gives me a copy of the never-released RL Burnside album, a tribute to Muddy Waters, that he produced and a live recording of Albert King and Clapton. ‘You can play these, can’t you?’ he says. Yes.
I stop off at Antler’s in Lafayette to have lunch with CC Adcock, who is hoping to get Lil’ band O’ Gold back to Australia next year sometime. CC has been coming to this place since he was 17. i think he must have shares in it.
He produced the Neko Case/Nick Cave version of ‘She’s Not There’ and has been in Europe for three months.
The drive back to Austin is unremarkable! I manage to stay awake the entire trip. Handy, as I am driving.