Thursday, March 08, 2007

Delicious Chaos on Frenchmen Street

When I got to Frenchmen Street, it was exactly the wild scene I had expected. A lot of people were decked out in costumes, there was a large, pulsating drum circle in the middle of the street, and an "anything goes" vibe permeated the air. There was nary a cop in sight. (To be honest, I saw very few cops during my entire stay in New Orleans, which was a little eerie considering the recent crime wave that had swept the city.)

We poured into D.B.A., and I had a refreshing Rogue Chocolate Stout with a splash of Framboise. I ask you, does a better dinner exist than a cold stout? The New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars took the stage. For whatever reason, the NOKAS were one of those groups whom I've never been able to see live. Well, this show was worth the seven-year wait. These guys kicked ass, and D.B.A. went nuts. A small bar was suddenly transformed into a hurricane-soaked synagogue, and the NOKAS' infectious blend of klezmer with New Orleans rhythms had whirling dervishes spinning across the room in ecstasy.

The NOKAS take the stage. Photo by J-R.

Photo by J-R.

In New Orleans a purple woman might jump onstage and begin belly dancing with Ben Ellman.

- Photo by J-R.

A couple had gotten married, and the band wanted to get them up in the chairs with the audience doing the horah. I started summoning men out of the crowd to help me lift the guy, but they were completely clueless and had no idea what to do. Hadn't any of these people been to a Jewish wedding? At the very least, they had to have seen a community theater production of Fiddler On the Roof! Sadly, these guys looked like they probably order their pastrami on white bread, and it was quite possible that the only Jews some of them had ever seen had been hanging from a tree.

The groom was a big guy, and my fellow lifters made the move before everyone was set.

Bad. Very bad.

The chair was off-balance. It flew backwards and smacked me in the mouth. Gentiles! Can they do anything right?

We finally got the guy up in the air, and then it became a marathon test of endurance, as biceps and pectorals began quivering in pain. After we finally let him down, the whole crowd danced a makeshift horah. Even if your cousin Schlomo got married on Halloween in Amsterdam, you couldn't envision a more bizarre scene than this.

(Some have asked how Rich Vogel was recuperating from his serious throat infection that had him sidelined a few weeks ago. Well, judging from the shit-eatin'-grin on his face while he was doing a mean horah, I'm gonna guess and say that he's doing just fine.)

As you can see, no one was having fun at D.B.A.

The brothers Hevron.

The NOKAS finished their set, and I went outside to breathe in the mayhem of Frenchmen Street. I found J-R, Amanda, and Marshall. (Teddy had already been placed in a cab bound for home.) J-R bought a roast beef po'boy, and as people around us passed everything in sight, we made our own circle and passed that po' boy around until there was nothing left. After a long while of watching the craziness around us, we walked up to R bar for a drink. Then it was off to Marshall's car.

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