I’ve been seeing a lot of parades in New Orleans. I’ve been seeking out tubas since my second night here. I’ve been finding tubas and trombones in the wild. Yesterday, we followed the Ninth Ward Marching Band. They are more silly than serious; more funky than tight. We walked along the streets and sidewalks from where they lined up at Bud Rips - which is the name of an excellent bar.
For another night, Lisa and I packed some wine and supplies to descend upon the French Quarter. We witnessed some highly talented busking. We watched as a live brass band tried to knock the windows out of their frames in a bar. We sat on the sidewalk as an old longhaired man blew up balloons and released them with gentle persuasion. We watched as they found their fate. One by one, he inflated the balloons, and released them into the street. Some were picked up, some were stomped on, and some were run over by cars. Nobody took much notice of the source, but to the background of boisterous tuba, it was a beautiful scene to watch.
We saw an unknown brass band marching earlier today. We happened on them simply because we were on bicycles. We followed the procession as it turned on a side street, ducking between two large warehouses. A metal roof spanned between the two buildings, two stories above the street. The abundance of corrugated metal creates an interesting place to play drums and horns. For the second time in as many days, this spot was used for a brass band dance party. The parade broke apart, and everybody in attendance cheered and danced to the beat. One of the tubas spun around in circles, while trombone slides punched the air in cheerful abandon.
For the second time in two days, I was moved nearly to tears. I felt pure happiness as brass bounced off metal. I feel deeply satisfied and lucky to be here. I am experiencing simple and spiritual moments. This place and this time are both weird and fantastic.
Moments like these make me feel more happy than confused to be alive.