After returning from a month and change in Asia, I ventured down south to New Orleans, Louisiana to cap off two months on the road. For a long time there was an inner urge to go down to the Big Easy and experience the food, music and culture of the southern US. The HBO show Treme, as well as all the Mardi Gras parties I went to in Montreal (thrown by Montreal’s Kalmunity) made that desire much stronger over the years!

This was a trip that could not be fully explained in a blog post, but it’s safe to say I got the full New Orleans experience while I was down there! Crawfish boils, record digging, hurricane daiquiris, gumbo, brass bands, po-boys, happy hour specials, second lines, shotgun houses and Big Chiefs were just some of the highlights of the trip.

I was fortunate enough to have contacted a dance studio in the Marigny before heading down and set up a locking workshop with the good people at Dancing Grounds.

945026_10100653337713507_970714441_n

Later that week we went out to the Hi-Ho Lounge to see DJ Soul Sista spin at her weekly night. You can check her radio show every Saturday night from 7-9pm (Central Time) on www.wwoz.org

The two most influential experiences of this trip was seeing one of the original Big Chiefs, Monk Boudreaux, perform at the Blue Nile on Frenchmen street. There is a very cool connection with New Orleans, music and the Native people down south. Back in the day, runaway slaves were protected by the natives and since then there has always been mutual respect between Native Americans and African American cultures. The outfits are a long standing Mardi Gras tradition and a sign of that respect. Here is a clip of one of the songs Monk performed: “They Don’t Know” a cover of the infamous Jimi Hendrix & Band of Gypsies “Who Knows” with a little Nwalins touch!

The other very memorable event was being able to experience a full Second Line parade. It was 5 hours of dancing, drinking, eating and walking through various parts of Uptown. The following two videos are clips of the Second Line we participated in on Father’s Day. The video does not do justice for the amazing vibe felt for the full 5 hours we were there, but it gives you a taste.
If you are curious, well you just have to go down there yourself and find out.

If you are a dancer, you must find a way to get down to New Orleans just to experience these Second Lines. It will really put what you do into perspective!!

Much respect to the Perfect Gentlemen and the friends we met during the walk that day! Also shout out to all the Steppers who were getting down that day!

Ill end this post with a quote that pretty much sums up how I feel about New Orleans:

“It is my belief that you don’t choose New Orleans — New Orleans chooses you. Those who have fallen for her, live with her, are sprung, lost and turned out in love with her, know exactly what I mean. Ain’t no amount of wind, water, gunfire, potholes, ‘ignant’ politics or doomsday predictions can pry your death grip from her. Come hell or high water, you stay — or return.
She makes you high from laughing too much and too long. She breaks your heart till you’re crying on the kitchen floor. She haunts you, melts you and is just a damn joy to live in.”
~Deborah Cotton