Everywhere I turn I have New Orleans shoved up my nose.
Sunday, I saw my sort-of pal and part-time NO resident Harry Shearer on CNN talking about his new documentary, The Big Uneasy, about the REAL causes of the devastation in the city in the aftermath of Katrina.
Then, last night and this morning I was listening to one of my favorite all-time live albums, Little Feat’s relentlessly wondrous Waiting for Columbus, and thinking how much the L.A. band’s style — especially the rhythm section of Kenny Gradney, Ritchie Hayward, and Sam Clayton — was in debt to the high-steppin’ infectious grooves of classic New Orleans R&B and funk.
Today, I hear the glad tidings that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will honor the sublime Fats Domino and his songwriting partner/producer Dave Bartholomew at the 15th annual American Music Masters series in November. You simply don’t get more iconic Big Easy (argh, that made me think of the movie with Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin – great soundtrack!) than the Fat Man, with his squat frame, beaming smile, rakish mustache, and boatload of rolling, piano-driven masterpieces.
I turned to my office bookcase only to see one of my favorite 20th century novels, the late John Kennedy Toole’s rollicking, endearing Confederacy of Dunces, which positively revels in its vivid NO settings and characters.
And, by God, the Saints won the freaking Super Bowl last year.
All of this also reminds me that my first-marriage honeymoon took place in a very humid, sticky, visceral New Orleans French Quarter of October, 1981.
That didn’t end so well, but I am assuming the N’awlins zeitgeist swirling gumbo-style around me is a sign of great things to come for America’s most culturally fecund — and most heavily punished — cities.