Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Eunice, Louisiana

Photographer Larry Underhill and D.J. Paul Marx on Radio KBON, Eunice, Louisiana

Day 2 in Cajun Country started out with a visit to the local radio station in Eunice, KBON, 101.1 FM.  D.J. Paul Marx was on the air, playing some sweet Cajun and Zydeco music while we toured the station and heard about the ghosts that inhabit the building.   The station is filled with music memorabilia from visiting musicians.  Naturally, Mr. Larry likes to lag behind the group to take those last minute photos.  Well, D.J. Paul pulled Larry into the booth and started interviewing him about our music tour.  I checked back to see where Larry was and was on the air too!  I've made my Louisiana radio debut.  The station offered to give me my own show, Monday and Tuesday nights, 6-10pm.  Hmmm?  I may have to check into that.

Our next stop was a visit to the Liberty Theater where a weekly "Opry" style show is hosted on local radio and TV in French!  The theater was built in 1924 and has been refurbished.  We were on our own after that to tour downtown Eunice and have lunch.

After lunch our tour took us to the Savoy Music Center where owner, Marc Savoy showed us around his music workshop.  He gave us a detailed demonstration on how he constructs Cajun accordions.  Fascinating.

Marc Savoy demonstrates the Cajun accordion
Accordion Construction

We stopped at a spot on the bayou and learned how to catch crawfish for our outdoor crawfish boil and picnic later in the day.  Many of us got to feel the mud between our toes as we waded out into the water.  You'd pay tons of money for this spa treatment back home!

We proceeded to Marc and Ann Savoy's home afterwards for a home tour and crawfish boil.  I'd have to say that this was the highlight of our Cajun Country trip.  Marc's and Ann's family is both talented and warm.  Everyone in the family plays an instrument and sings.  We were serenaded by the family and other friends and neighbors.  There was a BBQ and crawfish extravaganza followed by more music, dancing and just hanging out.   It was truly a wonderful day in Cajun Country.
Ann Savoy tells us about her historic home

Crawfish Murder

We're on our way to Lafayette today for the last few activities of our Cajun Country tour.  Back to New Orleans this evening.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Cajun Country

Alligators on Bayou St. Martin near Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

Monday morning we lit out for Cajun Country with our Festival International Tour.  There are almost 40 of us.  I'm so tired and have been busy every minute of today, so I'm just posting some photos today from this portion of our trip.  You can view ALL of them on my Facebook page

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Jazz Fest, New Orleans

Crowds at Jazz Fest, 2014 and Food Stands

We've been in New Orleans since Thursday!  My!  What a time we've been having.  We met up with our tour group on Thursday evening for a lovely dinner at the Bourbon House in the French Quarter.  It's a wonderful group of like-minded music fans.  We're all staying at the Bourbon Orleans in the French Quarter.  Our room is lovely and the hotel is beautifully decorated.
 Bourbon Orleans Hotel, French Quarter

On Friday and Saturday we trudged out to the Fairgrounds for Jazz Fest.  Luckily, the weather has been pretty good.  It's hot, but not unbearable.  
 Jazz Fest Attire

We saw some great bands (Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, Buckwheat Zydeco, Keb' Mo', Laura Mvula, the New Orleans Klezmer Allstars, Chris Smither, fantastic groups in the Gospel and Jazz Tents and more!  There are so many great groups, that you don't know where to turn first!
The Fais Do Do Stage at Jazz Fest

Along with all the music and interviews, there's wonderful regional food, crafts, artwork and music for sale.  We were totally slammed with sights and sounds at Jazz Fest this year.
Restored Shotgun Houses near the Fairgrounds

On Friday night we made it out to our L.A. Conservancy friends' home for dinner.  David and Gretchen have been living in New Orleans for a few years.  It was wonderful catching up with them and having dinner at their lovely home near Tulane University.  Gretchen prepared a delicious dinner for us with an emphasis on Louisiana heritage.
Saturday, after Jazz Fest, we met up with another L.A. friend, Miss Patti at Landry's in the French Quarter for dinner.  Patti usually visits L.A. once a year, so we just saw her last October.  We caught up on all the gossip!
Sunday was a leisurely day (thank you).  We lazed around in the morning, then met up with my cousin Marlene and her husband Reuben at Galatoire's for lunch.  Wow!  I'd never been to this historic New Orleans restaurant.  It was truly elegant.  The food is prepared and served beautifully.  

Cousin Marlene and Reuben at Galatoire's 
Eggs Sardou at historic Galatoire's.  Yum.

After lunch we walked over to the Historic New Orleans Collection to see an exhibit about the singing Boswell Sisters.  The Andrew Sisters got their whole act from the Boswells!  The Boswells were New Orleans natives and popular during the 1930s.  There is going to be a PBS documentary on their lives and career coming out soon.  It was wonderful meeting Marlene and Reuben.  We've been in contact for awhile, but I hadn't seen Marlene in over 40 years!  I'm so glad that we were able to connect.  I hope to return to New Orleans and visit with the rest of this branch of our family one day.
Today, we're on the road with our tour group to Eunice, LA....the beginning of our Cajun Country adventure!
To view more photos of our Louisiana adventures, click on this album
New Orleans Antique Shop on Royal St.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Vintage Photo Friday - New Orleans

Pontalba Apartments, pictured in 1930s

Yesterday, as we strolled around the French Quarter in New Orleans, we came upon the Pontalba Apartments.  We were lucky enough to stay here in the early 1990's.  Built in the 1840s, this is the oldest continuously rented apartment building in the United States.  It's famous and used in so many films, TV shows and documentaries about the French Quarter.  Here's a bit of history on this recognizable building.
Pontalba Apartments, 2014
It is fun being in the French Quarter, even though it's tourist season and the place is teeming with 'em (including us).  There are so many interesting curiosity shops, restaurants, sidewalk entertainers and historic sights to see!
Have a wonderful weekend, my friends.  I know we will!

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Quarter Stitch - LYS

We landed in New Orleans today.  Thanks again to my wonderful neighbors who are taking care of the estate back home!

Once we got to our hotel in the French Quarter, we figured out that we'd had a meager airport/Starbucks breakfast and salty snax on the plane.  We needed some protein for lunch.  It was 3:00 pm L.A. time, 5:00 N.O. time.  We were meeting up with our tour group at 6:30 for dinner.  We had just enough time to get a nice plate of local oysters and slurp them down.  YUM!  
Larry walked off through the Quarter to check out the record stores.  I decided to walk back to the hotel.  What did I spy on my way?  The local yarn shop, of course.  Really.  I was not looking for the yarn shop!  The yarn shop found me. I just happened to be drawn automatically there.

The shop is called The Quarter Stitch.  It's truly adorable and full o' fantastic and colorful yarn.  It's a high-end yarn and needlepoint shop.  There was nothing in this store that I could not find in Los Angeles.  I was prepared to just take some photos and be on my way.  No chance.  I had to purchase some souvenir yarn.  If you purchase souvenir yarn on a trip, it doesn't count toward your stash (so I've heard).  

The shop samples are wonderful

They wrap up your yarn in tissue paper and cellophane and tie it up in ribbons, like a big present.  Well, I guess it was a present from myself!

Puppy Needlepoint Canvases!

Souvenir Yarn

Tomorrow we're off to Jazz Fest.  I'll be meeting up with a few knitters and crocheters during down times at the Fest!

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Woo Hoo, Yeah, you right!  Larry and I are headed to Louisiana early tomorrow morning to enjoy a bit of Jazz Fest, meet up with old friends and relatives, listen to fantastic music and sample some fine cuisine.  THANK YOU TO OUR WONDERFUL NEIGHBORS FOR KEEPING A WATCH OVER THE OL' HOMESTEAD!
We're recreating our 1990 trip when we met each other.  I was working as Billy Vera's board operator on his KCRW-FM radio show.  Chuck Taggart's show, "Gumbo YaYa" was right after our show.  I got bit by the Louisiana music bug listening to Chuck's show.  He suggested I go to Jazz Fest and take Nancy Covey's tour that included a weekend at Jazz  Fest in New Orleans and a music-oriented tour to Cajun Country.  Thank you, Chuck.  I met Larry through a bunch of Los Angeles folks attending the Festival.  Going to Louisiana changed my life.  
We'll be in New Orleans, staying at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel in the French Quarter for 4 nights.
Bourbon Orleans Hotel
We plan on seeing many friends and hearing a ton o' fantastic music at Jazz Fest and beyond!
Map to the Stages at the Fair Grounds for Jazz Fest
On Monday, we head to Cajun Country with the rest of our group to tour the Acadian cities of Eunice, Erath, Lafayette and beyond.  I look forward to hearing Marc and Ann Savoy's beautiful music at their Crawfish Boil and dance.  We also will be visiting Zydeco musician Geno Delafose at his home for a BBQ and dance.  Swinging over to visit the Cajun Hank Williams, D.L. Menard in Erath.  In Lafayette we'll be visiting Chef Patrick Mould's restaurant for a cooking lesson, lunch and a bit of music provided by Michael Doucet.  We head back to New Orleans for one more day and then it's back to the other LA.
Bon Ton Roulet, my friends!  I hope to post a few photos from the road.
Crawfish Boil with corn and 'taters

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mary Jo's B-Day

Mary Jo and Darcy @Littlefork

Saturday night I met up with the KnitGrrlz at Littlefork in Hollywood to celebrate Mary Jo's birthday.      I do love this restaurant.  I was there for brunch in November and really admired  the menu.  Dinner is just as yummy as brunch.  First up, most of the ladies ordered a Thai Town Mule which consists of gin, lime, Thai basil-peppercorn syrup, house ginger beer.
Brit and Natalie

Darcy's Thai Town Mule

For dinner, we ordered a few small plates to begin:  BEET chopped salad, with crispy rice, herbs, créme fraiche horseradish dressing; loaded potato GNOCCHI with bacon lardon, cheddar, creme fraiche, chives; house smoked brook TROUT, with potato salad, house-made hot sauce; and BRUSSELS SPROUTS with panzanella, red onion, bell pepper, aged balsamic.  For our main dish, Mary Jo and I split the STEAK frites, montreal steak spice butter, maple onion rings, as did Natalie and Darcy.  Brit ordered MONKFISH Française with potato puree, garlic spinach.  Everything was truly yummy.  We will definitely return to Littlefork!
Beet Chopped Salad


Steak with MAPLE Onion Rings

After dinner we moved to Natalie's house for presents and dessert.  Natalie provided a simply divine Dulce de Leche cake from La Monarca Bakery.  

Joe was working at home on Saturday

I do love celebrating our birthdays!  We have such fun!  Happy Birthday, Sweet Mary Jo!

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