Yesterday, I was too upset over oil to discuss the best gelato I ever had and the South’s approach to refreshment. Today, I got an attitude adjustment, another reminder of how much I love this city. I took a nice walk down Magazine Street to the CBD and joined my friend, DancingMan504 at a promo shoot for Saints coverage on channel 6.
When we walked into the Howlin’ Wolf, my favorite brass band, Rebirth, was playing. Some of the Lady Buckjumpers joined them onstage. I first saw the Lady Buckjumpers at Jazz Fest and remained struck by these grown, sexy-cool women. Here’s one of them doing her thing at Jazz Fest and I’ve posted some photos below.
Then there were the adorable young dancing women, with all original parts, doing a routine on the floor. The whole experience was like attending a private parade.
We went out on the street to shoot more of the Lady Buckjumpers along with DancingMan504 (okay, I call him Darryl), then just Darryl alone in front of a giant, gorgeous jazz mural. To get an idea what I got to see, this is not just my favorite DancingMan504 video, it’s one of my favorite day-in-the-life-of-New-Orleans videos.
To see more and become a fan:
To see Rebirth Brass Band in one of my very favorite day-in-the-life-of-New-Orleans videos:
As to the best gelato I ever put in my mouth, we must return once more to La Divina, from whom all good gelatos come.
My niece, in her infinite wisdom and thoughtfulness, helped my brother and sister-in-law select my birthday present. As a result, I got a gift card for the Garden District Book Shop and another for La Divina! I stopped into La Divina just to pick up the card. Like with the Garden Book Shop, I wanted to get the card first, spend it later. It was hot out and I didn’t want to eat a melted gelato at home any more than I wanted to eat a cold one alone at the shop, with no one to mmmmm with. But, as I was waiting for them to find the card, I spotted a new and intriguing flavor, cucumber sorbetto. Okay, so it’s not really a gelato, but all flavors only matter to me if I can do them half and half with the Chocolate Azteca, which is a gelato.
I asked for a spoonful and it was like my tongue had just walked into an icy movie theatre on a hot day. It was so cool and refreshing that it woke my whole mouth up. And the flavor was so clean, it almost had a black pepper finish. It haunted me on my walk to Breaux Mart. It haunted me while I bought crawfish etouffee and tuna salad made by some masterful Southern cook churning out pre-cooked meals for single people like me. It haunted me all the way back up to the shop’s counter where I whipped out my gift card.
At home, I started eating, thinking I’d have half and save some for later. HA! I licked the biodegradable container clean.
As with the sno-balls all over town and the cucumber/jicama salad at Gott’s, I shouldn’t be surprised that this city has a lockdown on refreshment. It’s hot here, humid sticky hot. I happen to prefer it to the arid climate of California, but I know it’s not for everyone. Until the invention of air conditioning, few industries moved here.
The first air conditioner was built by Dr. John Gorrie in the 1830’s in Florida, another humid state. His ice-maker with a fan blew cooled air into the hospital rooms of people suffering from malaria and yellow fever. He died in 1855 and air conditioning died with him for 50 years.
Then Carrier built a more modern version for industrial buildings, factories and a few hospitals. His idea became a match made in heaven for those who were already seeking the cool dark of a movie theatre. In 1925, at the Rivoli on Broadway, NYC, air conditioning and movies came together and the Summer blockbuster was born as people flocked to cinemas to escape, not just life, but the heat. I find it funny that air conditioners didn’t make their way into office buildings, department stores, and railroads until after movies showed the way. Even the House of Representative, Senate, White House and Supreme Court didn’t have AC until at least after 1928.
And though when we think of tea in America, we tend to think of Boston, the only tea grown in the states is in the Carolinas. We drank mostly green tea in the South until the 1900’s and developed a “punch” of green tea and booze before settling on the region’s classic – sweet tea. Ice and sugar keep finding new ways to come together here.
I could go on (and probably will at some later date) but the bottom line is that the most important thing that gets refreshed here for me is my soul. So even when it’s hot as Hades and the air is soupy, even if I can’t find some icy sweet treat, all it takes is some Rebirth Brass Band, Lady Buckjumpers and DancingMan 504 to refresh me to my core.