Swingtrip Day 9 -Our final day!

Leaving New Orleans..the end of our Swingtrip... popcorn and Dr. Pepper! 20 hours later we would be home in Italy.

Leaving New Orleans..the end of our Swingtrip… popcorn and Dr. Pepper! 20 hours later we would be home in Italy.

Day 9 – Our final day !!!

Well, Day 9 was a fantastic way to finish our Swingtrip. No surprises for the ffirst thing of the morning- Breakfast! Breakfast! Breakfast!

Deja Vu.... open 24 hours... great at 2am!

Deja Vu…. open 24 hours… great at 2am!

Alice in front of Trashy Diva, sporting her new shoes...

Alice in front of Trashy Diva, sporting her new shoes…

The Smoking Time Jazz Band with Chance Bushman singing and Johnny Joyce on Double Bass... at the Monteleone on Royal.

The Smoking Time Jazz Band with Chance Bushman singing and Johnny Joyce on Double Bass… at the Monteleone on Royal.

at Deanie's seafood restaurant... Alice digging into a pound of crayfish!

at Deanie’s seafood restaurant… Alice digging into a pound of crayfish!

Chance and Cat ... lindyhoppers. We were so glad to have met these guys!

Chance and Cat … lindyhoppers. We were so glad to have met these guys!

We decided to take a stroll into the French Quarter…. as we were walking we heard a band playing on Royal… these were the Smoking Time Jazz Club. Two Lindyhoppers were dancing. We passed by, stopped, turned around, put our bags on the ground and started dancing. Best thing ever! The guys in the band were super cool. We met Jimbino Vegan, Johnny Joyce and the dancer and singer Chance Bushman. What a discovery. I asked if I could sing Some Of These Days and the guys were totally up for it…
Here’s the video, Chance is dancing with Alice and then between singing choruses Chance passes Alice to me….

We chatted with Chance and Johnny , only to find out that Chance danced Lindy Hop in Rome in the early 2000s when maestro Eddy Ceccarelli was beginning. The two guys knew each other well. Chance spent six months in Rome . Having traveled abroad a lot Johnny Joyce and Jimbino Vegan know plenty of Italy swing musicians… including Alessandro Centolanza…. so it was great to find points of contact and to realize once again that we are all just part of one super big family in the Swing Jazz world.

We had so much fun on Royal and the guys were great. They invited us to the Hotel Monteleone (also on Royal) that night where they’ve got a regular Thursday night gig.

So we saluted them and continued our final day of sightseeing. Of course shopping was on the cards again. We went to Trashy Diva’s second store  http://www.trashydiva.com/   and met Mia Goldsmith, the international Lindy Hop teacher, who was so welcoming and friendly. A pair of shoes and a hat later (for Alice of course) and we moved on to have lunch at Deanie’s seafood restaurant.  Deanie’s is famous in New Orleans but I suspected yet again that you need to know the locals to get the best eating spots.

We went for a walk afterwards to Marigny, a neighborhood just east of the French Quarter to have a look. This is where The Spotted Cat and other local haunts (including Mimi’s where we had been the previous night) are currently enjoying fame after the demise musically and otherwise of Bourbon Street over the years.  Frenchman Street seems full of these newer venues. Unfortunately, we would have needed minimum another night in New Orleans to have “tasted” the music and atmosphere.

Back to shopping….. yes, Alice was non-stop at this point… a beautiful skirt and a dress from… hmm what was the name of that place?… We’ll find it for you!  I must have bought something on this trip…oh yes !… a box of the famous Café du Monde Beignet mix to take home to Italy. These beignets are soooo good!! Yummy!

A shower and change at the hotel and we were back on Royal at the Monteleone to hear the Smoking Time Jazz Club. We weren’t late but the guys were already playing to a packed lounge. In New Orleans a band starts playing at 8.30 pm and continues until after midnight… minimum three sets. That’s a SERIOUS amount of playing. Think of the guys blowing horns!

We danced. Alice tore the place up, danced a number with Chance, the frontman and showman. I was invited to sing Margie and was delighted to do so.

We left after 1am and were starving. Following our “gut” instinct a waiter at Oceania (which was closing) suggested Déjà Vu  to us. Déjà Vu is fab! Good burgers, open 24 hours, all types of people at 2am…. Go there in the early hours of the morning! http://www.dejavunola.com/

We had a blast that day! Did SOOO much. And it was a fantastic way to finish up our trip in New Orleans and to finish our short Swingtrip in the USA…

The one thing we didn’t get to do was an interview with Peter Loggins, something which we all really had wanted to do. But Peter is all up for the interview happening in the near future and it gives up the perfect reason to go back to New Orleans and get to know the city, its people and its music better  J

Next day we flew home to Italy….

Thanks for reading our blog and following us on this fantastic adventure and discovery. If we can be of any help with suggestions etc, just contact us on Facebook!

Our special thanks to Swing Circus for their collaboration and support in this blog project and to Lucie Q Lindynerd for her translation of the posts and her NdN…NerD Notes J

Jude Lindy and Alice Capoani

#swingmentalattitude
#swing4fun

Annunci

SWINGTRIP – Days 7 & 8

The statue to Sidney Bechet in the Louis Armstrong Park right beside the French Quarter.. some really cool info about Bechet on the plaques commemorating him.

The statue to Sidney Bechet in the Louis Armstrong Park right beside the French Quarter.. some really cool info about Bechet on the plaques commemorating him.

Basin Street...for Jude it was important to see it, even though today it is quite a busy road with little character...

Basin Street…for Jude it was important to see it, even though today it is quite a busy road with little character…

The statue to Louis Armstrong in the park dedicated to him and other Jazz greats... note the Mardi Gras bead necklaces ... they were still all over town in April :-)

The statue to Louis Armstrong in the park dedicated to him and other Jazz greats… note the Mardi Gras bead necklaces … they were still all over town in April 🙂

Alice in Treme in New Orleans, the oldest black neighborhood in the US and intrinsically rooted to the birth of Jazz....

Alice in Treme in New Orleans, the oldest black neighborhood in the US and intrinsically linked to the birth and development of Jazz….

Day 8... it's 8.30 am .... and this is New Orleans !

Day 8… it’s 8.30 am …. and this is New Orleans !

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New Orleans Southern cooking…. Gulf Shrimp Omelette, with Grits and Biscuit…. Alice LOVED the grits!!!!

At the Sheraton Pelican Lounge playing SUPERB music... (left to right) our friend Charlie Halloran (tb), Tim Laughlin (cl) and the legendary Connie Jones (cnt)

At the Sheraton Pelican Lounge playing SUPERB music… (left to right) our friend Charlie Halloran (tb), Tim Laughlin (cl) and the legendary Connie Jones (cnt)

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At the Chickie Wah Wah club….. Meschiya Lake finishing up her set with I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now (Jude was really impressed with the song choice! He’s been planning to put it into his own repertoire for ages but thought nobody really knew it!) . On trombone is Charlie Halloran. Unfortunately we only heard the last few numbers but we got a couple of Swing Outs in    (Swing Outs In ?? 🙂  )

 

It's late, we're tired after a great day but Alice still has time to look beautiful....

It’s late, we’re tired after a great day but Alice still has time to look beautiful….

Day 7

Hello everyone 🙂
Thanks for your continued reading of our fabulous Swingtrip to the USA.

Day 7 was ALL TRAVEL. Of course we had breakfast (pancakes, scrambled eggs and toast, bacon etc.) as usual. Then a taxi to JFK airport where we boarded for Washington DC, the connecting airport for New Orleans.  Unfortunately the flight was delayed for an hour and we realized we’d be getting in quite late to New Orleans. In the end we were so tired that we just decided to stay in and get up early the next morning. So no Swing or Lindy Hop on Day 7.

Day 8 would be different and you can read all about it below…. New Orleans, Charlie Halloran, dancing in the Sheraton,  Trashy Diva, Po-Boys sandwiches, Meshiya Lake and Mimi’s club.

 

Day 8

Day 8 was full. We got up early and discovered that our hotel (Country Inn on Magazine Street) had a great breakfast!

We left early and started sightseeing. All was quiet that morning. You would not have guessed that the Jazz festival was on that weekend. As it turns out the Jazz Festival is not in downtown New Orleans itself but located at Fair Grounds Race Course which is on Gentilly Boulevard about 5 km from the French Quarter. This is interesting as we had expected the city to be FULL of street bands that weekend and FULL of people, which it wasn’t, probably because visitors were at the Festival during the daytime.  Furthermore we arrived and left mid-week, before the full festival started. One Lindyhopper and jazz aficionado we met the following night  suggested that the music downtown (streets, bars, hotels) was in general better than the music he had heard that day at the festival. One person’s opinion… The other thing to note is that the festival is entitled “New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival” and there is a lot of non-jazz music there. This year for example Bruce Springsteen and Eric Clapton also played. Myself and Alice decided not to go to the festival, despite a very gracious offer by our friend Charlie Halloran, as we only had two full days in New Orleans and we wanted to discover the city a little.

People in New Orleans are SO FRIENDLY. It reminded me of being in Ireland. Unexpected “Good morning”s  everywhere from local people just walking their dogs or going to the grocery store. People here are genuinely interested in chatting and getting to know you. It’s lovely.

We went to Louis Armstrong park just north of the French Quarter. It was lovely. I particularly wanted to see Basin Street because of the famous song, which is part of every swing jazz singer’s repertoire (my own included)… but today’s Basin Street is a very busy road lacking character. The neighbourhood around it though and north of the Louis Armstrong park is called TREME. It’s the oldest black neighbourhood in the US it seems and has serious roots with blues and jazz. Walking through the streets in Treme with its colourful houses was great.

Then we stopped off at Trashy Diva   http://www.trashydiva.com/about-us/ , a shop which sells shoes, dresses and accessories inspired by the 1940s and 1950s. It’s particularly interesting for Lady Lindyhoppers, although it does not sell dancing shoes per se. There are two Trashy Divas in New Orleans and dancer and international Lindy Hop teacher Mia Goldsmith also works in one of them. Mia was off so we didn’t get to see her until the following day.

It was time for lunch. Alice discovered “grits and biscuit” (from my plate!) , a dish which is very common in Southern cooking. I had an Abita Amber beer and discovered over the following two days that it’s sold EVERYWHERE in New Orleans. As a beer, in my opinion it’s just okay.

Then off to Canal Street to listen to our friend Charlie Halloran play trombone in the Sheraton hotel. Charlie was there with the fantastic Tim Laughlin on clarinet and the splendid Connie Jones on cornet (Connie played in Jack Teagarden’s band in the 1960s!!!!)  as well as an excellent rhythm and section. I cannot describe how excellent this music was. Pure Dixieland and superb musicianship. These are musicians who LOVE Dixieland jazz and we could hear their passion.  The only strange thing was the venue. I pictured them playing in a small club somewhere on a small stage… now that would have been unforgettable.

Alice and I danced to them. From nowhere,  Brittany Duhon presented herself from the social media marketing department at the Sheraton and asked us if she could use the videos she had just shot of us for publicity on the Sheraton’s website!!! “No problem”, we replied J

We’re waiting for the videos and as soon as we get the link, we’ll upload them!

We hung out with Charlie a little and then went home to prepare for the evening. Charlie was playing again that night with Meschiya Lake in a club uptown called Chickie Wah Wah.   http://www.chickiewahwah.com/        It’s  really well-known with locals in New Orleans. To get there we took the 47 tram going to Cemetries. Unfortunately, things don’t work on Italian time and we arrived at 9.30 (yes, 21.30!!!) to hear the band’s LAST three numbers. We were told that because it was Jazz festival week, timetables were running strictly to schedule and that usually bands play for much longer. We decided to go back downtown to check out Mimi’s club which is in the Marigny to the east of the French Quarter  http://www.yelp.com/biz/mimis-in-the-marigny-new-orleans    . A really nice club, you can smoke and play billiards downstairs and dance upstairs. The live music that night didn’t convince us however. Tired after a full and enjoyable day, we walked home to Magazine Street, bought some Pepperidge Farm cookies on the way  (delicious! I’ve even seen them in PAM supermarkets in Rome!!) and had coffee and cookies in the hotel before turning in for the night. Day one of our two-day stopover in New Orleans completed.

But this was nothing compared to the following day, Day 9 of our Swingtrip , which would be our last full day in New Orleans , the icing on the cake. Read all about it in our next post…. Busking, dancing, singing, club singing, crayfish eating, Déjà vu and of course shopping !!!!

Baci

Jude & Alice

SWINGTRIP-DAY 6

Steven Plummer, Lindy Hop dancer with Alice at The back Room speakeasy

Steven Plummer, Lindy Hop dancer with Alice at The Back Room speakeasy

A "mug" of O'Hara's (never heard of it in Ireland) stout in The Back Room speakeasy

A “mug” of O’Hara’s (never heard of it in Ireland) stout in The Back Room speakeasy

Day 6

Day 6 would be our final full day in NYC. There were so many things to do (i.e. shopping) and still so many places to see that we decided to leave Swing and Lindy Hop until the evening. After a full day and EXCELLENT modern Thai cuisine at NGAM (or maybe gnam gnam!!!) near Union Square we took a cab to Norfolk in the Lower East Side and discovered the alleyway leading to the hidden speakeasy The Back Room. http://www.backroomnyc.com/the-backroom-bar
This is a really cool bar with live music and some Lindy Hop dancing on Monday nights. Unlike some of the reviews on Yelp (EVERYBODY uses the app Yelp in the States to find good places to eat, drink, go out etc.) we found the staff really nice…. except for one barman who really didn’t deserve any obligatory 1 drink-1 dollar tip all night.

Two seconds after arriving we were dancing (not so well as you will see… I blame fatigue 🙂 ). Three seconds after arriving Steven Yee, the manager of The Back Room was filming us for the club’s Facebook page. He told us so! And here it is…

We also met Steven Plummer who danced with Alice. He has a wonderful energy, pure Lindy spirit.

Well, that was it. NYC done. Day 7 would be travelling all day long…. The only non Swing-related day in our whole trip. And then we’ll talk about NEW ORLEANS!!!

We’ll get to that in our next blog posting.

Thanks for reading.

Jude & Alice