Eddie Bo New Orleans No. 22

eddie bo died yesterday or the day before

and no one told me

i remember when he got my daughter to dance
on stage somewhere on decautor

and  once he called a young girl on stage
and they played a duet

bringing down the house

feeding off each other

pushing each other harder and harder

and when it was over she slipped
off the stage and out the door

catlike as if she was concerned
that her parents would catch her

warm sun and you filled the tent
at jazzfest

we will miss you a hole
where you used to play your music

now and then though on decautor street
I hear your piano playing



The people of New Orleans come in two varieties; those who are born here and those who have moved here from other places. They may have moved here for reasons concerning employment or they may have moved here because they actively sought employment here so they could emigrate to this Crescent City.  There are also, of course, those who are here that wish ardently they were someplace else. We wish them a speedy fulfillment of their wish for a rapid departure with no need to return to the land of hurricanes, floods, and excessive humidity. This essay does not concern those who are here against their will; it concerns only those who in their heart of hearts believe this is home.

For many of us it is that simply put but utterly all-encompassing thing, that word with so much meaning, “Home”.  Home is refuge and relief; home is lovemaking and quiet, shouted laughter at the dinner table and the silent eating of a delicious meal. Home is walking through the door and sloughing off the cares of economic endeavor. Home is also heartbreak and the loss of loved ones. It is disappointment and it is disaster. Home is failure and home is success. Home shapes us and describes us; and this is more true of those who call this place in an awkward bend in the river Home than it is of most places.  New Orleans is like an enduring lover. After a time we can no longer imagine ourself without that lover as a part of any description of who we are. We are our home and our home is of us.

Garland Robinette pointed our that we have awful weather, horrible streets, abominable schools, crime, corruption, termites that can eat stainless steel, roaches the size of badgers, and swarms of anopheles mosquitos. He commented that he must know one hundred people who have moved away from here in disgust and then mused that ninety-eight of the hundred who left have returned. And I would be willing to bet that every one who returned, those who were born here and those who had made this their residence by choice, believed that by returning they were “coming home”.

But beyond passionately believing that this city built on disasters like Katrina is home there are vast differences between the native-born and the émigré. Both approach the facts of New Orleans living entirely differently. Nowhere do they separate more grossly than when it comes to defining what is wrong and with this city and remedying it.

The local takes a laissez faire approach to all that is awry. The émigré often takes on the trappings of a zealot. The local likes things the way they are but also realizes that the city is in flux (as is everything) and that maintaining the things that they love so much means that they must cherish them, endorse them, participate in them, and help them “be” by living as part of that which they love. The émigré believes that we must remedy it all; the schools, the corruption, the economic stagnation, the roaches, and the mosquitos. Coming in from the outside the émigré often does not see the connection between the good and the bad. That without difficulty we would not have such a desire to live joyfully. What the immigrant sees as corruption the local sees as a serious of accommodations that often went awry. The more recently arrived will immediately demand the jailing of corrupt officials and the local will, at the least, feel that not all (particularly those that are family, friends, or business associates) should be so soundly condemned.

No where is the difference between the local and the immigrant become more apparent than in the response to outside criticism. The local understands that there is a bit of jealously for our joyous and hedonistic lifestyle in the Big Easy involved in the criticism of outsiders and takes it all with a shrug and “yah, well if I felt dat way I wouldn’t come around, me” is about as strong a response as you are likely to get. Not so from the new resident. Criticize New Orleans to them and they will first attempt reason and discussion. When that is not successful and the stranger persists in their denigration of “La Belle Orleans Nouvelle”, they are likely to physically assault the person who dares to speak slurs of their home.

(continued next week or the week after)

People of New Orleans – Anders Osborne

Anders Osborne is a New Orleans musician.

People of New Orleans – Glenn Meche

Glen is a Director at the Crescent Theater Collective









Jazz Fest 2011 –

warmed  by the hot sun

filled with mirliton

crab cakes




all the music your head can hold

from every direction




glen david


heat flavored

rain washed

rolled in the mud steamed in the air

head holding  music

all the heart can bear

Indian Girl

crowd 01-014
















glenn andrews and amanda shaw


Arlo Guthrie


































Coming Attraction…

On  this coming Sunday I will highlight a moment of “urban transcendence and artistic clarity” – Jazz Fest.

The photo essay “People of New Orleans” will continue the following week.

People of New Orleans – Daniel and Ginger

Daniel - Carpenter

Ginger - Photographer and teller of wonderful stories

and technical advisor to the unenlightened (he works as a computer/It technichian)

Daniel and Ginger are married to each other…

People of New Orleans – Marcia Ball

the thing about Marcia is her incredible energy….

joined with

fantastic blues piano topped by a killer smile..

and yah –

she is Austin as well as New Orleans –

but we know her and claim her

and she claims us

Forgive the hiatus….

I will be starting a new series of photographs titled “The People of New Orleans” the first of which is due to go up today…and I hope to post them on a weekly basis…please comment and let me know what your thoughts are on them.. I need the feedback if I am to achieve what I intend..

Ted Carter an exile from his city of choice for a bit..

Riding to Work with Dr. John or how I learned to love New Orleans music

Not too long ago I took a consulting job on the south Texas plains; a job that required that I drive about seven miles to work every morning and return in the evening.  While the commute wasn’t excessive, the drive across the flat, rather bleak plain was just – well – “plain” boring.  I eased the boredom with music and over the months the music of Dr. John predominated.  It is not a bad thing to face a day in 102 degree heat on a job site infested with water moccasins, black widows, and brown recluse spiders with the rollicking chords of ‘Honeydripper”,  the reflections of “Junco Partner’, or Dr. John’s nimble rendition of Professor Longhair’s standard, Tipitina.  In the most simple and basic fashion music can carry you over the stresses of a day.

My girlfriend and I discovered Dr. John on an album buying spree at the end of the 1960’s.  In a downtown Memphis record store she pulled a copy of the album Gris Gris off the rack.  To this day I recall deliberately placing the album in the stack of ones that we would buy.  Why? That is difficult.  I had never heard of him.. or heard his music. Unlike today the music store did not offer to let you play something before you bought it.  The memory is hazed with alcohol, the humid Memphis heat, and the fact that I had been away for several weeks.  Our bodies brushed against each other as we flipped through album bin after album bin and the night seemed magic.  We rushed home with several albums, but Gris Gris with its Louisiana rhythms rooted in West African music by the way of the Caribbean became one of our favorites.  I recall watching her dance on my living room floor to the sounds of Gilded Splinters whose sounds conjure up firelight and spanish moss, night dances and an entry into the world of spirit and the heart of the loa.

“Kon, giddy, giddy kon kon.. walk on gilded splinters…”

The relationship ended but the music remained. I wore out two or three vinyl copies of the album and graduated (or perhaps regressed) to a CD of the same.  As the years unwound I gave little thought to Dr. John or his music; travel to the Middle East, Africa, and the far East added other rhythms to the music of my youth.  The early nineties landed me in the tiny Alaskan fishing and oil production hamlet of Valdez.  And one day while walking by the tattoo parlor from inside drifted the familiar sounds of his music.  Though Dr. John had yet to receive the national stature that he eventually earned; here  in this frozen place where the bars belch country crossover; where drunks puke in the parking lot on their way home to beat their spouses I heard something that made me yearn for hot nights staggering home in the laughing morning drunk on music, and friends.  Dr. John sits at the center of how I feel about music and the south; a musical talisman that epitomizes something significant and large;  a personal metaphor for my adopted home, New Orleans.  I cannot imagine him without this city or New Orleans without him.  As influential to New Orleans music as influenced by it.

When at long last he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, here in New Orleans the reaction was simply, ” uh-HUH, finally.”

His exquisite music, alternately raucous and harsh, then rollicking, with a rhythm and  a tone that brings it all together, Cajun, African, Caribbean; cane fields, bayou fais do do, Basin Street juke joint.  As a young musician he was nurtured by Professor Longhair and the other professors of the New Orleans piano scene.  He came of age during the days when New Orleans music was defined by Ernie K Doe, Dave Bartholmew, Fats Domino; in his tunes are the sounds of the Mardi Gras Indians, bayou Zydeco, and the music of the second lines and festival parades.  So crank some of it up.. and if you don’t own some of his tunes, well, check out places like the Louisiana Music Factory and grab you some.  If it doesn’t make your feet tap and your day easier, if it doesn’t make you want to wander down toward the mouth of the Mississippi River, if you cannot suddenly smell shrimp frying and crawfish boiling, if cannot feel hot nights and hear friends laughter …well then – shoot, I dunno –

…but I am betting it will and that it will make your heart sing.  At least a little and probably a lot….