31 August 2008

Diversion at its finest

As excerpted from a Chris Rose article about the one, the only Jazz Fest:
Every day, I walk in the Fair Grounds with a stock and steady plan and a vow to follow it. And maybe I'll catch Susan Cowsill as scheduled at 11:20 Friday but then it will all fall apart, it always does.

At some point, I will hear some horn blowing out of a tent and say to myself: Don't look. You're supposed to be on your way to Big Sam's Funky Nation at 2:15 in Congo Square and it's already 2:25 (I have synchronized my cell phone to Gentilly Mean Time) but you're passing the WWOZ Jazz Tent and you hear James Rivers paying his bagpipe and who can resist a bagpipe?

So maybe you'll stop for just a second -- JUST FOR A SECOND -- and, well, might as well grab a beer and sit down and hey, look, there's your best friend from college, visiting from Chicago and one thing happens and then another and pretty soon it's 6:30 and you missed every act you came to see but saw five acts you'd never even heard of before and danced in the Gospel Tent with some crazy old lady with an umbrella and there's only one way to pronounce the day: glorious.

This is the time of year when music falls from the sky like rain in New Orleans; just open your window and let it fall in.

There's music everywhere, busting out of the French Quarter, Wednesday in the Square, Voodoo, Essence, everything else giving this town a special pulse, a steady beat, the rhythms of life, energy and vitality that make you scratch your head when you read in faraway journals and periodicals that this town is dead and gone.

Well, if that's the case, you can just bury my heart in Congo Square.

Yeah, I'm missing New Orleans. This afternoon, I've been doing everything humanly possible to find focuses other than the obvious weather channel, which is a bit too morbid at times for an idealist like me. So it's ironic, I guess, that I've finally attained this distraction by none other than steeping myself in all things NOLA-related, particularly the inimitable Chris Rose (my personal favorite NOLA crusader). Here's what I'm loving right at this moment:

Then, this past Tuesday, I was in a little grocery by Tulane University and a young student from the university asked me: "What's your opinion of the hurricane?"
He asked me, I suppose, because I was 30 years older than anyone else in the joint, thereby exuding, strictly by process of Darwinian elimination, a greater store of wisdom than anyone else present.
"My opinion?" I asked, while gratuitously scratching my chin in ponderous repose. "My opinion is that I am against it," I said, and then walked out of the store.

Nothing like Chris Rose's caustic sense of humor (and, yes, the smell of homemade bread wafting from a schizoid, eccentric breadmaker) to soothe my mind -- or, at the very least, to tinge the imminent disaster a slightly brighter shade of dark and gloomy.
New Orleans, my heart is with you.

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