The Binge Room

2009 May 4
by Don Hammack

Saturday’s trip to Jazz Fest and Bon Jovi-ness began a little later than we’d hoped, meaning it was difficult to find a good parking place. I settled for paying 20 bucks to park at house on the corner of Ursulines and N. Dupre. They had a little courtyard and were jamming cars in there pretty tight. They parked us, then let us use their restroom. We sunscreened up and headed to the Fest.

We got there in time (after a Crawfish Bread and beer stop) to see Bonerama, which I didn’t enjoy quite as much as I’d seen in times past. They seemed to be more jam band-ish that I remembered. And then we caught about half of Cowboy Mouth before making the trek across the Fair Grounds to see Bon Jovi. (Big ups to Curtis for the VIP sneak-in. Carla was most happy.)

They finished up about 10 minutes before their set was supposed to end. (Heard the heat got to them and they skipped a couple of songs.) We started making our trek back to the car. The folks had a big sign that said you had to be out by 7:30, but it became apparent that wasn’t a drop-dead time.

So, we asked to use the bathroom again. I said we weren’t in a big hurry, and Judy offered a beer. Well, who am I to deny such hospitality? (And I’d only had a couple during the day so I could drive back home safely.) We sat down and started chatting, and her husband Keith started chatting us up. I realized he was a Brit earlier (the accent, you know, oh, and the “LONDON” T-shirt) and we all compared Katrina stories. They’d gotten 18 inches in their house, I’d lost mine, etc.

Then came the big question: Would you like to see our Binge Room? I could see Carla’s antennae poke up. (Keith started going on about how if you drink more than four beers in a sitting, it’s a binge. Hey, we’ve all been there, but I don’t need stats to know that.) Visions of a S&M dungeon clouded our minds. We were worried, but took the invitation, ignoring the voices in our head that said, “You idiots! Never seen a horror movie! Look behind the door!”.

Relieved, we found a room that looks like a million bars we’ve been in. Antique auto license plates that Keith seemed really proud of hanging from the rafters, old concert posters from NOLA haunts (War, R.L. Burnside, etc.) on the ceiling, an old wood burning stove, an old ceramic covered water heater turned into a lamp. Turns out that Keith had spent some time as a roadie. He showed us a picture of him and Eric Burdon, said Burton stayed with them while in town. Keith had some other interesting memorabilia, including a photo of him being arrested at a festival in England.

We made it out of the Binge Room without learning anything new about deviant sexual behaviour, eventually got our car out and made the trip home, two new friends to the better. Adios, Jazz Fest. Cheers, Keith and Judy.

Enjoy the Nels Cline-Patrick Sansone guitar duel.

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