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Our Treme

Just finished watching episode 1 of ‘Treme’ with a great group of friends. Most of us lived through that Fall of 2005 here in New Orleans.

To the credit of the shows writers and producers, everyone agreed that they really got it right. Parts of it felt almost documentary and brought back some strong memories.

Browsing my image archive from that time — I was actually looking for something completely unrelated — I came across this image from October 15th, 2005. Of course, I love the fact that K is wearing her Treme T-shirt: the neighborhood, not the show.

New Orleanians Return After Hurricane Katrina

Relaxing in St. Roch just after the Federal Flood

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The 8th Ward Pickin’ Party

I’ve wanted to post something recently about the Monday night pickin’ party at the Hi Ho Lounge. We’ve been doing it every Monday now for well over two years. I’ve met and played with some great people and it has created its own little community of players and regulars. It has helped me hone my skill as a player but more importantly it is just a fun and comfortable place to play music and shoot the shit with friends.

Each week it happens and each week I’m still surprised that people show up. Who would have thought? Bluegrass and Country music on St. Claude Ave?

But each time I think about writing about it, I feel as though I can’t quite capture the feel. So I was pretty happy when Ian McNulty wrote this piece about it. I think he captured the quirky improbability of the whole adventure.

Thanks Ian!

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A Weekend of Projects: Large and Small

A great weekend, even if the temperature dropped 30 degrees. K and I managed to get a lot accomplished and still have time to watch Young Frankenstein.

On the large project front, we are taking the next big stab at the back yard which involves busting up the concrete slab where a lean-to shed used to sit. Been a while since we had a reason to pull the sledge hammer out of the attic so we made the most of it.

busting up the old concrete in back yard

And for a project of a much smaller scale, I took some time on Saturday to work on a guitar pick. Talking with John Rankin the other night about my tendency to drop my pick during complex rhythm playing, he suggesting several modifications to my right hand technique as well as some mods I could try on my picks themselves. These included gluing sandpaper to the pick, getting some grip tape for the picks (taking me back to my skateboarding days), and drilling holes in the pick to increase its friction.

I opted to try drilling holes in the pick as well as easing the upper and lower edges of the pick just a bit with some sandpaper to assist the pick in crossing the strings. Results so far are promising.

guitar-pick-modified

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Privy

Our friend Willie White stopped by this morning while k and I were drinking coffee on the front porch. Willie has a business taking houses apart and salvaging the architectural details. Willie also has a passion for collecting old bottles and other items; so he spends his weekends going around the city looking for old privies to dig. Privies, if you aren’t familiar with the term, and the places out back of old houses where people did what people need to do — before the advent of indoor plumbing. Apparently, people also threw their trash into privies and so digging these old privies can unearth all kinds of detritus from life in earlier times.

Willie walks around the yard sticking a long metal probe into the ground trying to divine what lies 3 to 5 feet below the surface. Apparently this is a bit of a black art. Willie let me try it but I couldn’t tell the difference between hitting rocks and bricks and hitting porcelain or glass. Proof that Willie knows what he is doing came when they located a Privy along the back property line.

They didn’t find anything interesting enough for them to keep but k and I now have a large collection of broken bottles and pottery shards from the 19th century. Including this c. 1910 (according to Willie) bottom of an Abita beer bottle.

Bottom of Old Abita Bottle

It would have been great to find some cool in-tact artifact. But just the adventure of digging a big hole in our back yard turned an ordinary morning into another magical New Orleans moment.

Oh, yeah. And before all this I went on a bike ride around St. Roch with Ed Blakely (the Recovery Czar) and our James Carter our City Council representative.

Digging in the yard was way cooler.

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