Jul 9, 2014

A night at the Rock ‘n’ Bowl

If you read my last blog post, you’ll recall my friends and I made the snap decision to skip a day at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Music Festival earlier this spring for a day drinking tour of the French Quarter instead.  However, that does not mean we were without options for seeing some great live music in the Big Easy. 

In fact, one huge reason we chose to go to New Orleans during the week between Jazz Fest weekends was to catch many great local and regional artists in much smaller venue.  During what many call “Jazz Fest After Dark,” most of New Orleans’ bars and night clubs known for live music are booked solid, as many acts scheduled for Jazz Fest try to squeeze in an extra gig or two on festival nights (the music stops at 7 p.m. on festival days) and during the week in between.  

So, when we opted for day drinking on our Sunday arrival day, we put Plan B into action.  And that’s how – after one evening nap and a quick cab ride later – my friends and I wound up at perhaps the most eccentric live music venue in the big Easy – the New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Bowl

You guessed it, part bowling alley, part live music venue, and genuine New Orleans institution, the Rock ‘n’ Bowl stands out on Carrolton Avenue in between the end of the St. Charles streetcar line and I-10.  Seriously with all the lighting at night, you can’t miss it. 

We have arrived!

Jul 2, 2014

The day I skipped Jazz Fest

One lesson you quickly learn when you travel as a commoner is how to go with the flow.  Your itinerary may not go as scheduled.  You may encounter detours along your journey.  And, occasionally, you may look at what you previously planned, weigh the situation you’re faced with and decide suddenly go in an entirely different direction.   

That’s what happened earlier this year with my friends and I on our first day in the Big Easy between New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival weekends. We had actually timed our arrival to make it possible to attend the first Sunday, as a couple of us were interested in seeing Eric Clapton headline that day.  And John Hiatt, and Tab Benoit, and Irma Thomas, and the list goes on … it was in my opinion the most packed day of the festival. 

It also didn't help that I insisted on posing for this picture.

A commoner dines at Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern, Monroe, Wis.

I wasn’t sure a place existed that could be the perfect representation of Wisconsin life, but then I traveled through Monroe, Wis., one week...