VIOLIN GIRL, Sunday morning, New Orleans, 1992.
The four of us set off for Heathrow late one Wednesday evening in Pontefract’s only stretch limo, at this time that mode of transport was always associated with rock ’n’ roll and not with prom nights and hen parties. We cracked open a couple of bottles of champagne and were careful not to spill certain white powders on the plush interior carpets and managed to keep the ashes from our herbal refreshments from damaging the fine upholstery.
Along the way we listened to the Stones, Hendrix, Dylan and Springsteen and some New Orleans rhythm and blues – the required feel good factor had been well achieved by the time we arrived at the airport. Too wired to sleep on the plane we eventually hit the Big Easy, checked in our hotel and decided to go out and have a quiet drink, a nice meal and an early night. It seemed a good idea …
Soon the quiet drink had turned into swilling industrial quantities of beer and bourbon on Bourbon Street, the notion of a nice meal had been forgotten and the idea of a early night would eventually end when the bars in the French Quarter welcomed the dawn chorus.
Along the way we’d rapped and laughed on the streets with voodoo queens, drug dealers, religious fanatics, musicians, transvestites, Elvis impersonators, mime artists, beggars, magicians, hookers, hustlers and cops. We headed back to the hotel, the effects of not having slept in well over thirty hours coming on stronger by the minute.
The beat went on and on … this lifestyle continued until we decided we had to move on, take a break and travel along the blues trail that is known as Highway 61 and visit Clarksdale, Memphis, Nashville and revisit New Orleans via Birmingham, Alabama. This decision was made as we nursed yet another hangover and drank another coffee in our local diner on the Sunday morning. I went for a stroll for some fresh air and, feeling the worse for wear, slumped onto a bench not far from the beautiful St. Louis Cathedral.
The wonderful sound of a violin jolted me from my state of self pity and, adjusting my Stetson and dragging my snakeskin boots into action, I saw the girl responsible for turning a bad morning into a good morning and took this photograph. I hope you like it.