|Butch Trivette at Vaughan's|
Sometime around 8:45 we all grabbed our go-cups and piled out of the bar to join what the flyer called the "World's shortest Second Line" - a block long parade between Vaughans and BJ's Sports Bar on Burgundy Street. Led by the brass band Egg Yolk Jubilee, we stumbled on the pot-holed street and along the uneven brick banquettes, under the dark cypress trees and the almost-full moon. My friend Becky came out on her front porch and gave me a hug.
The band stopped mid-block and, after a brief pause,cranked up a slow, ponderous and respectful version of "A Closer Walk with Thee."
"That guy Billy was killed right here in the street outside my house," said Becky.
I learned later, that in 2008 during Jazz Fest, two musicians Billy Ding and Mike Aaron were walking from Vaughan's Lounge to BJ's when a truck jumped the curb and hit them, killing Billy and injuring Mike. Mike recovered, but died of heart failure in 2011.
Each year, the neighborhood has held a block party in their honor, with bands playing in both bars. In addition to Egg Yolk Jubilee, the lineup included Little Freddie King,Meschiya Lake, Happy Talk Band, Butch Trivette, R. Scully's Rough 7,Guitar Lightnin' Lee and His Thunder Band, John Mastro, Bacon, Super Silence, and my nominee for the BEST BAND NAME EVER, Lauren and Her Resting Bitchface.
|Sylvia and Chris at the jukebox|
Last night was cold - damned cold, at 43 degrees with a wind chill dropping it to the 30s. Everyone was bundled up, hats pulled down low over ears, coats zipped up to chins, but, truth be told a little alcohol and some fine music does a lot to spark a warm glow. A couple more drinks at BJs didn't hurt, either.
When I heard writer Chris Rose read his work on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, he'd said, "They call it the Big Easy, but it's neither big nor easy."
Last night New Orleans felt like a small world. I hope, though, that the Bywater community all made it a little easier, for the memories of Billy Ding and Mike Aaron.