If you could wake up tomorrow morning speaking in a totally different accent, what would you choose? I’ve always thought that a French accent would be pretty cool. And who doesn’t love the Scottish brogue or the lilting rhythms of the Irish? All that is out the window now. I now desperately want the sound of the American South, with a little touch of Creole mixed in. Best accent in the world.
Dwayne (60ish and handsome as hell, African American) is the afternoon manager of our hotel and I asked him for help booking a table at a restaurant.
“Hey baby” Dwayne says “Sure I can help you some.” He’s on the phone booking our table, he books it for a Miss Dawn and a Mr Ray. How very Southern, I think. He then gives me directions….”You gone be goin’ down there some, then you gone be doin’ a right, then you gone be walkin’ bout 2 blocks and then that’s where ya’ll be at”.
I now have a big crush on Dwyane and get quite undone when he says “Hey baby girl, where ya dat?” Which is the Southern way of saying “Good morning madam, and how are you today?” Ray is often addressed as Sir and Ma’am for me. Nice.
Our Aussie accent seems so flat and nasal compared to the Southern drawl. When they speak, it sounds as if they are singing. Ray is having more than a little trouble with the accent. On more than one occasion I’ve acted as an interpreter. The other night, for example, coming home from dinner we are greeted by the night manager. She says “Welcome back,” which Ray interprets as “I’ve made your bed”. Yes, I know it’s one of those ‘you had to be there’ moments, but it gave me a nice belly laugh.
If you have had enough of New Orleans then you have had enough of life. So we book for 4 more days (which is what you can do if you are not on any strict itinerary) and move to the Margny district, which is only 100 metres to Frenchman St (where the real music of New Orleans lives).
On any street corner, you can hear the lonesome tunes of a solo saxophonist or maybe a group of 5 or 6 young kids playing trad jazz, swapping instruments with each other like sharing their favourite bike. The talent stops you in your tracks. It’s breathtaking. The music clubs in this street have been here for generations and yes, they look like it, which only adds to their flavor. We saw jazz, blues old and new, soul, and even a bit of rap. Not only are there music clubs, but cafes and convenience stores have a little band or a soloist set up in the corner.
Monday night we went to an open band and mike night. It started at 6pm, and for 6 hours we listened to the best music from around the world. Put your name down on a sheet of paper and say what you can play or sing, then the MC calls you up and you jam with other musicians. Base, lead guitar, harmonica players, trombonists, vocalists and every other musical instrument you could think of. No cover charge anywhere, they pass the hat around (or in this case, a bassoon) for bloody tips, often a dollar per person!!
So when I am President of the world (long may she rule), one of the first things I will do is a bit of fiscal redistribution. I know that if you were lucky enough to be born 6 feet 11inches tall and can run and bounce a ball at the same time, you are in today’s society paid extremely well. Ditto all other sports. But 100 million a year? Really?! So I’ve decided that musicians and artists (and, come to think of it, nurses and teachers and all those who make this world a better place to live in) should all get a little bit more of the pie. I’m going to have my work cut out for me…
Not only is this city blessed with the magic of music, it is also home to amazing artists. The street theatre is weird and unique, so wandering around the streets feels as if I’m on another planet in some sort of parallel universe where happiness reigns.
To put a damper on all this joy, all you need do is turn on the television where it’s 24 hour fluffy head Donald Trump……..don’t you all think that the rest of the world should be able to have a say on who gets to be President of “the free world’? After all, Americas’ foreign policy affects us all. Greatly.
So that’s it for me for now.
Love to all.
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