Got back from New Orleans on Sunday. Went out there to DJ a small exhibition battle between the New Orleans/Baton Rouge b-boys vs the Lafayette b-boys. That was interesting and the footage is up on youtube but honestly not the most exciting part of the trip.
I'd never been to New Orleans before and really only knew about it through my friends Nick and Patience who moved to Atlanta after Katrina. What I had heard about it left me both intrigued and terrified. From what I understood I could be expected to see breasts, random fights, vomit, horse crap, voodoo, and beignets. And I did. What I didn't count on was how much I'd love it all.
Now besides the horse crap and vomit, the city also oozes culture and music at virtually every turn. On the first night in New Orleans b-boy Jesus (or Justin Kenney for you SYTYCD fans. That's right, I know famous people) took a few of us out to a Dancehall night and on the way there, a trio of a drummer, a tubaist, and a trumpeter was setting up. We stopped for a bit and got to hear some raw ass funk in the middle of the street. Then it was a short walk to hear one of the best dancehall sets I've heard in a long time. Afterwards, a stop at another bar to hear another funk band. And we only paid one cover charge! And then we saw a woman tell a guy "If you touch me like that again, I'll slit your fucking throat!" Good night? Most definitely.
The rest of the weekend pretty much followed suit. Every where you go there's a funk, second line, or zydeco band killing it. Or a street performer. Or a NOLA Bounce DJ playing in a club. Or a woman threatening to kill someone. And all you have to pay for is the ungodly strong drink in your hand!
And the food is good pretty much everywhere you go. I had a Muffaletta, beignets from Cafe du Monde, a "Ferdi Special" from Mothers, some tiny but tasty tacos (not a sexual euphemism), two kinds of bread pudding, pralines, and had a Hand Grenade and a Hurricane for the first time; two drinks that probably shouldn't exist anywhere. For every place I ate at there were at least five others that I also wanted to eat at. I'm pretty sure I gained at least 10 pounds just spending a couple of days around the French Quarter.
Alcohol is everywhere. Coming from a county where they don't serve on Sundays it's a bit of a culture shock. Every gas station is a liquor store, you can go anywhere with a drink in your hand, and you can get daiquiris at drive-thrus. Every time I was drinking something on the street I felt naughty and kept looking over my shoulder for cops. And oddly enough I hardly saw any all weekend. Maybe 7 total and 5 of them were on horses.
Didn't get a chance to do a lot of digging but did stop off at a place called Beckham's Book Shop. You walk in and the first thing you think is that you might find a copy of the Neverending Story somewhere inside. There are three stories to the place and the top floor was a dusty, cavernous room lit only by the sun coming through the windows highlighting a few rows of vinyl. For a DJ or crate digger, this type of place seems like something out of a dream. A forgotten room with endless possibilities for what you might find. I only had a quick glance this time I around but hopefully I'll be able to come back and spend a day digging. Then maybe ride a Luck Dragon!
We also spent a bit of time at club called The Spanish Moon in Baton Rouge. I was pretty impressed. It reminded me a little bit of MJQ here in Atlanta. The bottom floor was a little smaller than MJQ's main room and the second floor had another bar and a few pool tables. Got a chance to meet DJ Otto who DJs there a few nights out of the week and spun a great selection of music...house, hip-hop, B-more, and Bounce. Even heard Spottieottiedopalicious which made me feel right at home.
Speaking of Bounce, you can't go anywhere in New Orleans without hearing it. And the songs on the radio seemed to all be bounce remixes of songs I hear in Atlanta. I love any kind of regional club music so I loved it. I don't think I ever got tired of hearing the Triggerman sample or being told to "Work it like a, shake it like a, twerk it like a..." although I'm still not sure what I should twerk, shake or work it like.
Thanks to all those who showed us hospitality while we were there; Jesus, Lobzter, Chris, D-rick, Alex The Rocket Scientist, Jason, DJ Otto, and the people at Metropolitan. Can't wait to head back.
Keep it movin' like a Uhaul,