Sunday, January 29, 2006

Jazzfest 1989 continued

Monday May 1: And so to Cajun country. Drove out of New Orleans through Houma (a dump) and as the sun came out decided to stop at a wayside restaurant on the bayou. I could hear a country band playing and as I walked in who should be there but the Festival lot on their Cajun trip.They were off on a boat trip to see alligators which was full so I drove on to the Chitimacha Indian reservation and the Evangeline Memorial in St Martinville. Later went to Mulate's famous Cajun restaurant in Breaux Bridge and met up with the Festival crowd again. Great cajun music from Beausoleil with guest appearance by Richard Thompson. Crawfish were great too.
Tuesday May 2: Went through Baton Rouge and into Mississippi, eventually getting to Natchez - rather disappointing - maybe I didn't find the right bits. Then on to Vicksburg and the Civil War battlefield - full of monuments. Drove along part of the Natchex Trace Parkway and looked at an Indian temple mound. Then to the Delta - Rolling Fork, Greenville and on to Clarksdale - very flat the Delta - where I booked into a motel.
Wednesday May 3: After a disgusting breakfast at Burger King I went to the Delta Blues Museum, upstairs in the Carnegie Public Library. Bought a poster and a badge - I felt I ought to since they didn't appear to have many visitors. Then on to Gracelands - from the sublime to the ridiculous.Toured the mansion - the dining room, music room with 15 foot settee and piano, TV room with 3 TVs, pool room, the Den with hideous carved chairs, trophy room with hundreds of gold records and costumes, racquet room and finally the grave. Upstairs somewhere Elvis's aunt lurked unseen. Next to Memphis and lunch (a hamburger) at the Sun Studios cafe which has only been open a week. To Beale St, which was like some weird film set, and to Schwab's store, an amazing old-fashioned hardware shop with everything you could ever want - or more probably not want. Further down Beale St I stumbled across the crowning of the Cotton Makers King and Queen in front of the staue of W C Handy. Who should be performing the ceremony (in front of a couple of photographers and...me!) but Rufus Thomas, himself the Cotton King of 1950. Spent the evening in Beale St - first to Big Mama's where there was a mediocre white band called the Terminators, and then to Club Royale, a black club (with me the only white customer) where a good soul band called the SROs was playing.
More on my trip later...

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