Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Central Grocery, The Praline Connection, and Kermit Ruffins @ Vaughan's Lounge 4/22/10

Kermit Ruffins @ Vaughan's
The HGH crew was in New Orleans this past weekend for the opening of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. It’s hard to say whether the food or the music was the #1 Star of this trip. Both were awesome. You’ll notice that most of our existence for the five days we were in town revolved entirely around those two things…and the occasional drink.

So it was on Thursday last week we arrived in New Orleans. While waiting for our room to be made up at the Hotel St. Marie we made our way to Central Grocery for a muffaletta.
The line was long but moved fast and in a short time span each of the three of us were sitting on the banks of the Mississippi river with said sandwich piled high with salami, ham, provolone, chopped olives, and oil, a bud tall boy, and a bag of Zapp’s craw-tator chips. Good livin’.

We slow played a few more beers, read our Jazz Festival editions of OffBeat Magazine, and tried to come up with a loose plan for the weekend. It being Thursday we decided our night should revolve around getting over to Vaughan’s to see Kermit Ruffins.

After dinner at The Praline Connection of catfish, crawfish etoufee, and stuffed bell peppers we arrived at Vaughan’s a little after 10pm.
The building at the corner of Dauphine and Lesseps streets is unmistakable as the spot. Crowds of people milled outside and into the street surrounding the run down building strewn with colored flags and lit up by neon signs. We paid our cover and made our way inside. It was as packed as you’d expect it to be the night before jazz fest starts, but it wasn’t impossible to get a beer and over time we were able to secure some real estate within close proximity to the stage. Riley even got a seat.

It didn’t take us long to see why Kermit does this show every week. It’s HIS night. He does what he wants. His friends come up to play with him. The ladies love him and between sets he sits and queues up tacks from his itunes to entertain the crowd. It’s a loose atmosphere with the only thing taken seriously is having a good time. Kermit’s drummer did a take on Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’ with locally influenced lyrics, trumpet player Maurice Brown came up to show his chops, and the band poked some fun at Kermit’s recent work as an actor playing himself on HBO’s Treme by playing a teaser of the theme song to that show.

Check a quick vid. It's dark, but you get the idea.

It was our first night in town and it might have been our most memorable. We put in 3 hours or so dancing with Kermit and friends. I dunno if we worked off that dinner, but we might’ve come close. It was a night in New Orleans as it should be. Good music. Good friends. Good fun.

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