no. 212

I spent a day in New Orleans with friends, working our way up and down Frenchman Street. After a couple of sets from the Palmetto Bug Stompers at dba, it was my intent to go across the street to the Spotted Cat. Instead, my attention was waylaid by a brass band at the center of a growing crowd on a nearby corner.

I’ve visited many cities with vibrant music scenes, but I’ve never been anywhere else where the scene spontaneously pours out into the street the way it does in this town.

The corner show with the brass band quickly evolved into a dance party that nearly shut down traffic. It was just another Sunday night on Frenchman. Anywhere else, impatient honks would fill the air, sprinkled with profanity from angry drivers. Here, traffic just waited, slowly skirting by a pulsing, impromptu party.

—Mark Spence