Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cajun Music for the Soul

After a day of errands and boat chores, Saturday afternoon it was back to the Bayou Boogaloo Cajun Food and Music Festival for us - we hadn't begun to sample all the cajun delicacies or hear all the different kinds of music that thrive in the Big Easy or the Crescent City, as New Orleans is often called. A little spicy jumbalaya hit the spot and having inhaled much needed sustenance along with a few frosty cold brews, we headed off to see the Radiators - a band that combines musical styles including blues, R&B, funk and good ole rock and roll in a foot stomping, gotta get up and dance beat!
The Radiators with the Three Trombones of Bonerama
Next up on the other stage was Bonerama - a very non-traditional brass band with three trombone players and no trumpet or sax but who rip off Hendrix and Led Zepplin licks along with more traditional New Orleans jazz and funk!! We somehow managed to snag one of the loungers so we reclined to the brass notes while we absorbed the whole mardi gras-like scene!!
The Jesters Decorated the Tent Over One of the Stages
The Dancing Jester

Time for ice cream and several more adult beverages before the final band of the evening Dr. John and the Lower 911, a combination of Elton John and Santana (at least in my mind - dressed to kill in a red suit and felt hat).
Bob and Stephanie Get an Ice Cream Treat
Dr John played the piano and organ (often both at the same time) but his voice and voodoo lyrics evoked the best of Santana's spanish/latin style)!!! Five time Grammy award winner, Dr John sings of his creole roots and his beloved New Orleans with a level of voodoo mysticism, funk, blues, rock and R&B, all while a skull lurks on his piano!!!
Dr. John
What a great way to bring down the curtain on yet another fun-filled, food-packed day at the Bayou!!!
Sitting and Watching the Bands

On Sunday we decided we were a little "museumed-out", so instead of heading to the Air and Space Museum over in Hampton (which I'm sure is great), we drove down to Virginia Beach to check out the Boardwalk. It really wasn't a "beach day" as it was pretty overcast but we figured we'd walk the 3 miles of the boardwalk and enjoy the beach vibe. The Boardwalk turned out to be very different than we anticipated - it was just that, a cement walkway that ran along the beach for 3 miles (it wasn't even made of wood!!!) There were some cool statues along the way - a whole grouping of memorials commemorating the birth of naval aviation which while cool smacked too much of history and museum to us so we didn't spend a lot of time reading all the plaques - after all we'd come to VA Beach to get away from history!
The Naval Aviation Monument
More to our liking was the statue of Neptune that fronted the beach and park and was the site of a great little steel band that we only got to hear for a moment before they took a break!
Neptune Watches Over a Steel Band
The rest of the Boardwalk is mostly old boxy hotels - no real funky little bars or even cool shops - it's just basically a street where you can walk along the beach (which by the way is very nice!).
The Boardwalk
At the end we decided to go inland a block and walk back along Atlantic Ave where there seemed to be more happening - turned out to be a lot of really tacky tee-shirt shops and beach stores. We did manage to find one cool joint - the Surf Dog where we were able to sit at an old style soda counter to eat designer hot dogs and a six pack of beer and hear all about the local surfing scene.
Lunch at Surf Dog
At the other end of the walk, we found an old Dairy Queen and couldn't resist a peanut buster parfait and other ice cream treats. Now maybe I'm dating myself here, but the last time I had one of those parfaits it cost about $1.50 - it's now $5.69!!!! Yikes - sticker shock!
Very Authentic Old Dairy Queen
While VA Beach was not exactly what we were expecting, we as always made the most of it, had fun people watching and got our exercise for the day.

We knew we had the culmination of the Bayou Boogaloo that evening and it didn't disappoint!!! Bob went straight for the mudbugs (as crawfish are called) and he and Doug had a heck of a time biting the heads and sucking the tails!!! Just a little too icky for me but there sure were a ton of people eating them in large quantities - I know they are like little lobsters but somehow they just look bizarre!
Bob Holds Up Two of His Crawfish
Knowing that life is uncertain, I started out with desert - a wonderfully light and sinful funnel cake!! A final trip around the cajun food stalls had us munching on alligator bites - yep, tastes like chicken!!!
Bob and Doug Wait in Line for Gator Bites
Then we headed over to the main stage where the highlight of the festival (at least in my mind) was about to play - Little Feat!!! Yahoo - they were amazing!!!
Little Feat
We spent the next hour and a half transported by Bill Payne on keyboards (who worked with Buffett on the License to Chill CD) and 3 of the best guitarists I've seen in a long time - the drummer and percussionist rocked out the house too.
Paul Barrere on the Guitar and Fred Tackett on the Mandolin Jam Together
The vibe out on the grass was electric as Little Feat jammed - everyone was dancing out on the lawn as you just couldn't help but sway to the music (that is if you're human!!) Little Feat brought up the trombone players from Bonerama and another great guitarist Anders Osbourne for one huge New Orleans style jamfest which brought the stage down!!!
Fred Tackett from Little Feat and the Three Trombones from Bonerama
Little Feat with the Trombones from Bonerama and Anders Osbourne on the Guitar
No one wanted to leave including the band so they played another couple songs before finally calling it an evening - but what an evening it was!!! We bought Little Feat's new CD Join the Band which is a huge compilation with many amazing artists including Jimmy, Mac, Michael Utley, the Dave Matthews Band, Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes and many more. Not wanting the night of music to end, we sat out on the bow under the stars listening to our new CD on our ipod eating a couple of beignets that Bob and Stephanie had sent over - unbelievably cool!!

Yesterday we were slightly at a loss - there was no more Bayou Boogaloo for us to wander over to - no more cajun delights to sample (which given how much we ate over the prior three days was probably a good thing!!!) - no more New Orleans music to listen to!!! So we decided to take the paddlewheel ferry across the Elizabeth River
The Paddlewheel Ferry
to wander around Olde Towne Portsmouth for the afternoon. What a hidden gem we found!! The historic district of Portsmouth has wonderful cobblestone and rock streets with colorful houses and churches of all architectural styles. It is a mishmash of huge federal, victorian, greek revival and georgian style homes with row houses, all with decorative ironwork, scrolled columns and intricate detail.
Row Houses
Some Houses Were Very Colorful
Some Houses Were Very Ornate
The Nineteenth Century Elks Lodge
This House Looks Straight Out of New Orleans
House Built By a Man Who Had 12 Kids
Row Houses
Now Just Where Else Would You Turn?
Just in Case You Didn't Notice the Bay Overflowing Its Banks!
The streets are lined with flowering trees that envelope you in their scent as you walk past gingerbread houses decked out with American flags and bunting.
A Patriotic Street
In between are memorials to the Confederate war dead
Monument to the Confederate War Dead
and those soldiers who fought in the Cuba Libre struggle.
Monument to Cuba Libre
Nestled among such treasures are the old Commodore Theater, one of a dying breed of classic single showing theatres - Harry Potter was playing believe it or not!!
The Commodore Playing Harry Potter
- a majestic courthouse
The Courthouse
and the Lightship Portsmouth which used to warn sailors of danger before the advent of lighthouses!!
The Portsmouth, Lightship 101 is Now a Museum
We spent a great afternoon immersed in a bygone era and then headed back to our temporary home at the Nauticus marina via the paddlewheel ferry!!! An early dinner over at the Mongolian kiosk at the Waterside Mall capped off a fun day and led to a relaxing evening aboard Gypsies.

Today we are off to the beach!!! We are headed to Croatan Beach over by VA Beach - we found out that all the locals go to Croatan to surf so we are bringing boogie boards and hope the waves will be rocking!! Tomorrow we are off to venture up the James River - we plan on anchoring in the Chickahominy River for a couple days and then we will head up towards Richmond!!!

Click here to see a Google map of our Nauticus location.

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