We are jammed into the tiny performance space of the Preservation Hall Jazz Club. I’ve danced my way through the livelier numbers, sung along with the gospel pieces, and now am clapping and singing as the musicians finish up their set with “When the Saints Come Marching In.” The crowd erupts as the song finishes. I lean over to my friend, who has been singing and dancing all the way through too. “My Dad would have loved this, hey?” She laughs and agrees, but I see her eyes fill with tears as she remembers my father. And though I’m filled with the joy of the performance we’ve just experienced, I cry too as I think of my Dad.
One of the pleasures of visiting New Orleans was in seeing the city through my father’s eyes. He visited New Orleans only once, but it was a place he loved. And the entire time I was there, I was reminded of the ways in which he would have loved the place.
Dad loved music. When I was growing up, there was always classical music playing in the house, Beethoven and Bach and Mozart. But when he was a young man, he listened to jazz, and throughout his life, he loved few things better than a concert. I can only imagine his pleasure, being in New Orleans, in happening across talented musicians on nearly every street corner in the French Quarter. I know he visited Preservation Hall and I’m sure he must have spent time on Frenchman Street. He must have been in heaven!
And if it wasn’t the music, it would have been the food. I am confident that he sampled the bread pudding in every establishment that served it. That man loved bread pudding above all other sweets. And I’m sure he tried the beignets. And the gumbo. I’ll bet he found his way to the old time diners, like Mother’s, and tried out all kinds of Southern soul food – the ultimate in comfort food.
My father liked a good time. He was in New Orleans for Mardi Gras and I know he would have delighted in the sheer spectacle. I’m sure he also found his way to Bourbon Street and I suspect he may have found his way to a good balcony from which to throw beads. And if he’d happened across Cameryn and her little “Abrupt Erotica” table, he would have been sure to have stopped to have a chat. Her business, selling impromptu pieces of personalized porn, would have appealed to his sense of humour. He would have enjoyed every minute of his time in the city.
Dad died four years ago of prostate cancer. He died too young.
That’s why I’m blogging for Movember this November.