Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Snug Harbor

Working too hard can give you a heart attack-ack-ack-ack-ack.
Billy Joel

I love my job. It took me months to decide that. I don't especially love cocktail-waitressing, bartending is my preference, but this job at Snug Harbor gets me out of the house, I hear all kinds of good music, and am in one of the more interesting, long-running establishments in the city.

Charmaine Neville is always a treat. She brings down the house with rhythm and blues every Monday. Her shows are packed with New Orleans color, style, and entertainment. She is also a very vocal and active proponent of the downtrodden. She hosts a fish fry at her home on Friday evenings to benefit the homeless. And she always walks the talk, feeding people on the street on the way to her gigs - sometimes ordering it from S.H.

Irvin Mayfield is a great jazz musician. He often has his students, and alumni from NOCCA, a prestigious school for music, drama, and arts, join him on stage. He is always a crowd-pleaser.

And who can top Ellis Marsalis on a Friday evening for contemporary jazz? I love the crowds of music lovers that he attracts. They are always happy with the Master at the piano. His shows are solid and his style is laid-back. His sons, Delfeayo and Jason, have their own shows sometimes, and Jason fills in for Ellis's drummer sometimes. They are both great musicians and attract an eager audience of jazz lovers.

Last weekend, we had a Cuban Jazz ensemble - Juan Carlos - that brought down the house. They were so much fun to work to. I just love good music. I let it lift me.

Aside from the musicians, and regulars that stop by, the people I work with are as colorful as they come. The hospitality industry is filled with sensitive, creative souls. To be service-oriented is a calling just like any other.

The man at the root of it all was the owner, George, who died last summer, 7/7/07. He had no wife or children; just a niece who lives abroad. The operations are being run by a man who was George's best friend. Everybody who works there, and everybody who is a regular (and there are plenty of them) knew and loved George. Several have told me he was like a Dad to them. He would roll up his sleeves and work along-side anybody in the house when needed. Sometimes I feel his presence there. His legacy of humane treatment of sensitive artists, needy friends, and just anybody and everybody is a legacy I am happy to step into.


Kim Ayres said...

My son plays the trumpet. On occasions when I need to enthuse him a bit to practice I tell him I've a friend in New Orleans who works in a Jazz club and if he sticks at it I'm sure she'd take him along.

So who knows - maybe in a few years I'll be asking if you can pick him up from the airport :)

Jupiter's Girl said...

Yeah, yeah. I've heard your son play (the birthday song to his Mum). Let me know when we can book him. Thursdays are open. I'll take proper care of him.

Actually, jazz fest is coming up. If/when you all come to N.O., the end of April and beginning of May is the time to do it. People start talking about the jf months before the event.