New Orleans

26 Sep

We arrived in New Orleans in the afternoon, after a half-day stay at our “apartment” in New York (JFK:T5). We were picked up at the airport by our host, Renso Amariz, a feature-length film director whose current project is called: “The Local 504″. It’s a story about a United States resistance group that continues to fight after the Soviet Union captured and occupied the United States in an alternative historical time line. We were put in contact with Renso through Clark’s friend, and Renso’s Navy buddy, Aaron Ingrao.

First stop was the New Orleans CVB to pick up our VIP passes and to collect a list of places of interest. There was a lot of interesting information, but most of the attractions listed were too touristy for the #12hrs crew. At that point we told Renso, “show us the local version of uptown!” —and off we went on another Twelve Hour demolition derby.

It was around this point that Joe broke the news that he’d be leaving the trip—but only temporarily—he had to return to Buffalo to quit his job! He had taken all his available vacation time in order to go on this journey, but the-powers-that-be were unhappy that he was taking it all at once—so they gave him an ultimatum, and he responded. The only catch with this was that Joe’s flight was at 6 am, and since Clark (AKA Mom, AKA The Tour Manager) wasn’t going on it, he wouldn’t be waking everyone up. The crew was going to have to party straight through to wheels-up, or Joe risked losing a ton of money.

We headed to Renso’s house, took some quick showers and charged all our gear—we knew this night was going to run long so we needed to have full power. While at the house, Renso’s roommate introduced us to an incredibly niche genre of Hip Hop called “Sissy-Bounce,” which only exists in New Orleans at this point. He also made us aware that one of the forerunners of the genre, Sissy Nobby, would be performing live at the Dragon’s Den that night!

So what is “Sissy Bounce”? Some things are best described using video:

Needless to say, after witnessing the video we had no choice but to go to this show and experience this fascinating microcosm of the hip hop universe. Ultra-Pride, Dirty South, Hip Hop?! In a musical genre that is known for its homophobia and misogyny? We had to meet these trend setters and witness this social upheaval that started in the dance hall.

It was time to head out and start seeing the sights and tasting the flavors of the creole country. Our first stop was the “Ernie K-Doe: Mother-In-Law Lounge,” this colorful establishment is family run and was established after the death of Ernie K-Doe in 2001. It is a vibrantly colorful establishment, full of live music, life, and the history of “The Emperor of the Universe.”

Upon Renso’s recommendation, we headed to Parasol’s to get “the best Po’ Boys in town.” To be honest, neither Joe nor Steve were overly impressed with the food, but it was filling and gave us enough fuel to drink through the night. Carrie, the bartender at Parasol’s, was a Buffalo native and informed us that Drew Love, one of our favorite bartenders from the Pink, had bought us several shots, long distance. It’s always great meeting people from Buffalo on this trip.

After the Po’ Boys, it was off to Dragon’s Den to check out the Sissy Nobby show. This club was was probably what dudes were looking at when they came up with the word “sweatbox,” it was about 115 degrees in the place and so humid that water droplets glowed around light sources.

Clark went up to the band after the first set, and challenged one of the MCs to an ass shake-off. This was a foolish endeavor since Clark had never tried to “drop it like it’s hot” before. However, over the course of the competition, we were able to capture some hilarious video.

After the Sissy Nobby show, Steve and Jeremy traveled to Harrah’s to participate in some games of chance, while Clark, Renso, and Joe headed to Bourbon
Street for a tour of what the city had to offer. The bar crawl continued for quite awhile, and eventually the boys decided that they needed to head back to Parasol’s to be closer to Renso’s house.

After celebrating the fact that the restaurant was open “after-hours,” Joe headed home to Buffalo, NY to quit his day job. The next morning, Clark and Steve ran into their first logistical screw up and almost missed their flight out to LA. Running through an airport last-minute was inevitable at some point in this trip, but they made the flight.

See ya in LA!

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