Every Wednesday from the end of March through the beginning of June, the Young Leadership Council (who put the lights on the Crescent City Bridge and came up with the bumper sticker, “New Orleans, proud to call it home”), the Saints and some other generous sponsors throw a free concert in Lafayette Square.
This week, Mark Adam Miller and Amanda Shaw played. I’ve been hearing a lot about Shaw and my cousins brought her up several times when I was admiring Bobby Yang, the violinist playing with Kevin Costner and Modern West. So I got my new walking shoes on and headed down to the square.
In keeping with this being name-dropper week on this blog, along the way I passed Tim Robbins on the road. We smiled and nodded and went on our way. But, then I thought of the times I’ve been oversees and how just hearing someone speaking English is enough to create a bond and force you to utter the introduction, “American?” So, I turned around, paused my iPod and asked, “Do you know there’s a free concert going on?” Who knows if he went, but I figured I’d go with the golden rule and treat him the way I’ve enjoyed being treated by locals in foreign lands (except, of course, he’s worked here before with Dead Man Walking among others). It struck me as funny, because it hadn’t occurred to me before, that many people from L.A. (or the entertainment industry) are as easy to spot here as someone wearing a “Who Dat” t-shirt would be to find in a crowd oversees.
Mark Adam Miller was already onstage when I arrived at Lafayette Square. Because it was 5 pm, there was a new group of people among the babies, Maw Maws, hippies and culture lovers that attend every event – men in SUITS! Thank goodness for them, it’s still gorgeous outside.
Mark Adam Miller was a lot of fun. He finished his set with a rendition of The Joker and stopped it cold when the crowd didn’t jump in after “Some people call me Maurice…” He gave us a good talking to then practiced it with us few times, then jumped right back in with a far more enthusiastic crowd. You can find more about him at:
Gumbo, the Saints’ mascot, and a half dozen of the pretty and cheerful Saintsations came to give the crowd a thrill between shows.
They were joined by 2 of the swimmers who’ve come from Boulder, Colorado to swim Lake Pontchartrain for Earth Day.
I introduced myself to a dancing man I recognized from French Quarter Fest, then spotted the first neighbor I ever met here, he of the, “cigarette in one hand, a red rose in the other” fame. He was with his fiancé, who I’d met walking home from a Mardi Gras parade. Then I got a call from someone I’d known in L.A. who’d been planning to move here. I listened to the voicemail and noticed that it sounded like he was at the same concert I was. Turns out he was in the Square too, so we met and got a chance to visit before I ran into some of my new friends.
I’m in that limbo where I’m beginning to know people everywhere I go, but I don’t know most of them well enough to ask them to go to a movie with me, much less ask them if I can lean on them. But, I’m beginning to know people here and people I know are coming here. Life is good.
Next up was Amanda Shaw. She was every bit the talented ball of energy I’d heard about, the reason they invent words like spitfire. She was fast and furious on that fiddle, even playing a crowd-pleasing rendition of Charlie Daniels’ Devil Went Down to Georgia. It was a pretty great time – all for free and all proceeds being invested back into the young leaders of this city. What more could you ask for?