I was in New Orleans for the past week. According to my friend Bill, if you are nomadic and musical by nature, you might stop traveling when you get there. Music is everywhere. It was outside on the street even when it was uncharacteristically cold (I mean cold…27 degrees cold. It was freezing in every building, because the buildings are built to keep the steamy summer heat out).
I stopped to hear a lone banjo player on Dauphine Street playing for no one, while ice formed at his feet. At the club Bachannal, patrons huddled outside under heat lamps while a Ben-Webster-sounding saxophonist and his band played through a raft of 1930’s swing tunes. I want to know what it is about that city that keeps music flowing as steadily as the Mississippi, even as the Polar Vortex tries to stop it?
Here in the top half of the USA when the temperature drops, we treasure the silence that snow and cold bring. The streets of New Orleans completely resist that notion. Starting yesterday, there were parades to celebrate Mardi Gras, which won’t arrive till February 17. Glitter was everywhere. And the music cut through the cold air like a warm knife through butter. I’m going to try and bring more of this energy to my life and not simply hibernate, waiting for spring. I’m going to get out my tenor banjo and see if I can melt the snow on my porch with it.