Happy New Year Walter. Bonne Anne.

Just returned from my marathon whirl down in Looisiana. It's just great to go back home, to my home away from home. I don't know if you're interested in some photos but here goes...

Some from Lawtell on New Year's Eve Day...way out at Roy Carriere's Offshore Lounge. I just caught part of his three day festival out in the country. You just drive out 190 to Lawtell and follow the hand painted sign announcing "Festival, 29,30,31" turn there over the rail road tracks, keep going to another handpainted sign "Offshore", and in no time, you there. Did the usual Fiddler in Louisiana circuit, which is no secret if you turn on KRVS in the morning and listen

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I learned a few things...like never fever again fly on the Christmas red-eye or anything to do with the 26th or you'll find you are sitting in an airport in Dallas all dead day long...and in this case I missed the Blue Moon Jam...and yes, that means the opportunity to jam with Cedric, so I heard. I did learn that next time I fly to Houston, no more Dallas for me. l ended up in Houston anyway...so a day late and a dollar or two short...I arrived in Lafayette after 24 hours in airports...Hertz had closed shop for the night...my smoked salmon was reeking havoc on my wardrobe somewhere between Dallas and who knows where...and I spent the next day with the 24 hour flu. Thank God for friends in Louisiana is all I can say...and ginger ale.emerged sometime Friday morning, picked up my rental car (saved money after all on that)...and put myself into high gear. I had a mental list of people to see, salmon to deliver, CDs 'n' stuff to buy, music to catch and jams to do. With only four days left. Thank God for cell phones. Happy New Year          
My pal and I drove straight to Floyd's Music in Ville Platte and stocked up on CDs, some on sale. www. FloydsRecordShop.com. I'd been listening to the radio so much when I lived down there I thought I already owned these CDs so I had a lot of catch up to do to feed my acute withdrawal. Racines, the grammy nominated Dominoes (Steve Riley and Mamou P-boys, 2005), Boo-Zoo's Trail Ride (Collection), Basin Brothers Cajun Fiddles (2007), Geno Delafose (1996!) That's What I'm Talkin' About, Geno's Le Cowboy Creole (2007), Bon Soir Catin's Blues a Catin (2006), Jeffrey Broussard and the Creole Cowboys, Keeping the Tradition Alive (2007)...and some other old ones. I've got the record album of the Carriere Brothers and now I've got the CD. I also splurged and picked up Rev. Daigle's Dictionary of the Cajun Language.
       

Friday night Keith Frank at Zydeco Club in Breaux Bridge. I bypassed the crowd lined up at Cafe Des Amis, couldn't get in for Corey Ledet, and made it over to the Coffee Shop down the street for the jam. Lots of friends and a mega jam. Lots of tourists/dancers/musicians are in for the New Years. I guess, technically, I fall into that category now. But when I'm down there I still feel at home. Michael Tucker, the Huvals, Joel and Lisa Breaux. The transplants. The old-timers. An international crowd. Grant Street Dance Hall for the Pine Leaf Boy, they were amazing, amazing, amazing. We do need to all watch the Grammy's next month now that there is a Cajun/Zydeco category well represented by PLBoys and others...Jon threw his PLBoy inscribed guitar pick out at the end of the set and it landed right at my feet...like a bridal bouquet. Me and my pal left after the PLBoy set (they opened for Asleep at the Wheel) so I could catch (Louis Michot) and the Lost Bayou Ramblers at the Blue Moon. THAT's what I'm talkin' about. Nothin quite like Louis Michot. I love all the LBRamblers.

   

They really ride a groove. Roy Carriere's Offshore Club in Lawtell kept a Zydeco festival going for the entire weekend through New Year's Eve. Unofficial word around town (from the sound man John) had it that Jeffrey Broussard and the Creole Cowboys were playing up by Richard's NY Day. Sunday jam at Tom's Fiddles/Lori's Art Studio in Arnauville was rockin' with a variety of music. Philip Gould and Bill (Philadelphia) made a swing connection. More jams/parties were on the books by New Year's Eve, filling in the openings for brunch, and dinner. The cell phone keeping us all posted on the latest rendezvous. It's hard to make a commitment to meet or be anywhere when the day unfolds so spontaneously. My ticket to Geno at Vermilionville suddenly conflicting with an invite for dinner at a toasty warm, wood-fired jam with friends in a small house on the bayou. Creole tunes and a mix of blues. But I made it to Geno's New Year's Eve in time for the first set, lots of dancin', some familiar faces in the midst of annual regulars no doubt.

 

     
Well to sum it up...Best buy on Mardi Gras Beads is at the Krystal Kottage on Johnston Street. Jars of Kary's Roux are well worth the effort with a little bubble wrap. Don't forget the cane syrup, like I did. Lafayette has a new grocery store out by River Ranch with everything from Peet's coffee to Zataran's crab boil. Oh yeah, and always take down more smoked salmon than you did the year before. I was at least three fish short with my gifts.