Dancing in the Streets
Trip Start Apr 10, 2012
6Trip End Apr 16, 2012
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Saturday morning we decided to take in a walking tour of the St. Louis #1 Cemetery on the recommendation of our host, Cindy. This was lead by a volunteer, Lawrence, with the historical preservation society, so the funds go to upkeep of the cemeteries. Because the city lies below sea-level, everyone is interred in above-ground family crypts. Those with wealth, often give large donations to the church for perpetual upkeep of their tombs
One such plot was purchased by the somewhat crazy Nicholas Cage built a large pyramid-shaped tomb which he may or may not use one day. The crypt that provides the most attraction is that of the voodoo queen, Marie Leveau. It has been covered in triple-x’s which is part of the ritual people use to invoke her spirit. Apparently when she grants a blessing, the three x’s will mysteriously end up being circled. Interestingly, only 2 circles have ever appeared, so she seems to be less capable or less enthusiastic than people give her credit for.
We walked from the cemetery to the French Market, where we took in a 30-minute Swing dance lesson. We then tried our new moves (and some of our old ballroom skills) to the sounds of another excellent traditional band (Smoking Time Jazz Club). It proved a bit of a challenge with so many people packed into a small space but we enjoyed ourselves and worked up a sweat. Check out this video we found on YouTube of that very afternoon. Startlingly, we can be seen in the background between 0:24 to 0:34 slowly trying to remember some new dance steps. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIj1rcyIuU8&feature=youtu.be
From this venue, we made our way along the levee to the far end of the festival area to where the zydeco stage was located. Here we participated in another dance lesson to get a feel for moving to the infectious rhythms of the accordion. We danced for at least another 45 minutes and watched a thrilling performance featuring great vocals, superb accordion playing, and dynamic rhythms on the washboard (Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers)
With all that dancing, we needed to recover. So we returned to our B&B for a nap, before venturing back down to Frenchman’s Street. Again on the recommendation of Cindy (our host) we went to Adolfo's, a tiny little restaurant located above a shabby bar. We were put on a wait list and told it could be 30 minutes or 2 hours. So we grabbed a drink downstairs and then took it next door to the Spotted Cat. Once again, Celine, acting as if she owned the place, marched right on in and found herself a stool in the corner. There she struck up a conversation with fellow patrons. Once the band came back from their break, I joined her inside (having been a good law abiding citizen and not wanting to take an outside drink into the establishment) where she introduced me to Felipe. What a character! He is a flamboyant dancer/choreographer from Scotland, living in Stuttgart (where he worked with a dance company). He is 59 years old and full of energy. He was charming, chatty, and so much fun to be around. He even invited us to attend his 60th birthday party next March in Florence! We bought him a bourbon while I opted for Gin & Tonic and we could not sit still as the band (Panorama) played Dixieland mixed in with Gypsy chocheks from the Balkans.
It was with a tinge of regret that two hours later we were finally able to get into our restaurant for supper at 9:30! The meal was worth the wait (Celine had salmon and I had mussels) and was a nice cap to the evening. Celine's feet were hurting so we considered taking a bicycle rickshaw back to our B&B, but when the driver heard we were in the Treme district, he declined. On our walk back we were entertained by a number of impromptu bands on the sidewalk and a couple of women step dancing in time to the music.