New Orleans in my Father’s Footsteps

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.

Preservation HallDad 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!

Mother'sAnd 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.

Bloggers for Movember


About Sally

Poet, seeker, author, mom. Celebrating the beauty and mystery that surrounds us and learning to trust in the journey.
This entry was posted in Living Deliciously, On Adventure, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to New Orleans in my Father’s Footsteps

  1. The Landy says:

    And I’ll remember him for you when they come around collecting money… As an aside my father would pass out if he knew Cameryn existed…

  2. CC MacKenzie says:

    Lovely post! Cameryn is becoming a legend in her own time. Your father sounds wonderful…

  3. Jerry says:

    There is an ancient and strong communal tradition in Ireland called a removal. It is on the eve of a funeral when all the neighbours, colleagues, acquaintances, and friends visit the family to pay their respects. Traditionally the ‘remains’ are in an open coffin in the house. As an englishman in Ireland I have always found these occasions to be deeply humbling, spiritual, and moving. Yesterday evening I attended the removal of an acquaintance in his late 40s. The removal started at 3pm and finished about 9pm. The quiet and respectful queue was over an hour long in soft rain on a dark November evening. The extended family were dignified and welcoming and the neighbours, as always, directed traffic and provided an extensive and hearty spread of refreshments. In the last week two acquaintances have died in their 40s, and another in his 40s is seriously ill in hospital.

    Life is precious. Every day is precious. I am delighted you were able to celebrate your father’s life and vitality in New Orleans. We should celebrate our own, every day. šŸ™‚

    • Hi Jerry, thank you for describing the tradition of removal. I like the idea of having this kind of ceremony or tradition on the eve of the funeral. These rites are as important for the friends and neighbours and colleagues as for the family.

      I imagine that you must be reeling a bit having recently seen death and serious illness so close – and in people so young. It is a good reminder for all of us to celebrate life every day. šŸ™‚

  4. El Guapo says:

    A beautiful way to remember him.
    And an excellent explanation of why Movember is important.

  5. kingmidget says:

    Well done.

  6. becca3416 says:

    You named all of the best parts about New Orleans. Wait. You were in New Orleans? Just two hours south of me? We could have totally had a hand grenade together!

    Frenchman street is the best. Mr. OB tries to make me stay on Frenchman when I visit the city. He is a NOLA expert.

    So sorry that cancer took your dad. Sounds like he really knew how to live life.

    • That would have been so much fun! I did not drink a hand grenade. Something about that electric green colour:)

      I loved Frenchman Street. It’s a little grittier than the French Quarter and the music is great!

      My dad really did enjoy life. He was a great role model for how to live well!

  7. Seb says:

    It would have been nice to have given your dad a first line/second line New Orleans funeral.

  8. susielindau says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your father. I love that remembered him in so many wonderful moments of your trip!
    Such a great cause. I may have to paint on a mustache for Mobember!

  9. Marianne says:

    Beautifully written, Sally. šŸ™‚

  10. legionwriter says:

    Few things are more warming than Daddy memories. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Blogless wonder says:

    My father is in his 80’s and he’s still searching for bread pudding as good as his mom used to make!
    Thank you for sharing these joyful memories of your dad, and for showing the importance of Blogging for Movember.

  12. Pretty good reason to blog! makes me want to go to New Orleans!

  13. What a beautiful tribute to your Dad! Lovely that you are celebrating his memory in this way…so sorry for your loss – he sounds like he was a joyful soul, and a great father.

  14. vb holmes says:

    Preservation Hall and “When the Saints Come Marching In”–what better memory triggers could a man ask for?

  15. beautiful tribute to your dad… and new orleans! never been but i’d like to go listen to some jazz and eat there right now! thanks for the trip down new orleans memory lane. šŸ™‚

  16. The Hook says:

    At least your father left this world knowing he did right by it.. he brought a gifted, beautiful, vivacious daughter into a world sadly in need of such souls.

    • Excuse me while I wipe away a few tears… Thank you for your very kind comments. The one good thing about the way my dad died was that we had lots of time to talk together and cry together. We did a lot of crying. But I really felt like we had a good goodbye, and I absolutely know how much he loved me and how proud he was of me.

  17. Le Clown says:

    Thank you for this post. Shared on Bloggers for Movember Facebook page and Twitter!
    Le Clown

  18. Great Story, DD. Your father sounds like a great man.

    Thank you for sharing.


  19. heysugarsugar says:

    aww sweetie, what a wonderful post xxx

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