Go West

It’s Wednesday, and almost time to bid farewell to New Orleans. But first, what did I get up to last night?

“It’s all so frickin crazy round here! I’m Glenda. How you doin’? You swinging with both fists?”

This isn’t an expression I’m familiar with, and I quickly start to wonder where this is going. Then I realise she’s referring to the two beer bottles in my hands. This is Bourbon Street, where seven dollars seems steep for a drink until they give you two.

It’s impossible to work out which offers are on or off at any one time. Some of the bars here have happy hours from 4pm til 8pm, whilst others don’t start theirs until after 10pm. Yup, it’s incredibly easy to get drunk here, and Glenda knows it.

“So, my man dissed me and I’m on a training conference so I thought – what the hell?” In between as much of Glenda’s life story that I can hear, there’s some fine music on stage from a band playing blues, country and rock. Don’t like it? Go to the next bar. And the next.

But the competition around here is tough. Tip jars are the only money the bands make. There’s no entry fee to most of these places, but you’re expected to contribute before you leave.

“Did I just see you singing a Johnny Cash song in the karaoke bar?”

“No – though I do sing. Have a drink.”

Paxton is six feet two and gym fit. I can tell that just looking at his arms filling his top. And he’s a better bet than Michael, a sixty-something who seems obsessed by my hair. No laughing now. But it’s good to meet the locals. Paxton is home until May, and then returns to Germany for his job. At last, a Southerner who’s actually left the United States. Plus, he knows his music, even if he doesn’t sing Johnny Cash.

Oh – It Had To Be You by Harry Connick Junior. A debut performance for me. Thanks for asking. And some of what goes on tour stays on tour.

Look out San Francisco…

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