Bourbon Street shuffle

My friend and I visited New Orleans recently with no expectations and no real plans other than to wander around and try whatever we found.  I tried a peanut butter and bacon burger.  She tried a deep fried Oreo and a chocolate coated Oreo.  What else do you need in life?

Our best unexpected moment happened as we were walking home through the heart of the French Quarter and we noticed a makeshift bluegrass band, complete with washboard and banjo.  They were taking up half the street but cars didn’t seem to care, even though they had to slow to a crawl to inch past the spectators that were spilling out from the footpaths.  I noticed a few people with open containers, so I grabbed a local ale from a nearby shop and took up residence on my own little patch of curb.  They played random songs in a seemingly unrehearsed yet unified fashion while the faces in the crowd beamed and applauded in merriment.  Nearby, a poet with a typewriter offered to compose anyone a poem for a small donation.  The place felt like sweet bohemia.

At some point while we watched the band, a small police motorcade came down this narrow street and we all shifted aside to observe the additional spectacle that followed.  It was a whole wedding party, complete with brass band, love songs, happy couple, flashy bridesmaids, bored kids, and a drunk uncle.  They strolled down the street with music blaring and drinks in their hands, like it was their own private dance floor.  This caused a slow queue of cars behind them but nobody seemed very stressed out about it.  In fact, no-one seemed stressed about anything.  I couldn’t imagine this kind of casual freedom happening on a random inner-city street in New York.  There’d be plenty of beeping and shouting.  Don’t get me wrong; New Yorkers can tolerate a lot of weird stuff, but don’t even think of slowing them down.  New York don’t shuffle.

My video of the band –

Thunderstruck bluegrass –


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