Today we went (for the second time) to the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery to take a tour. The biggest difference between this time and the last time is that today it was open.
The tour was very interested – the distillery is actually owned by a popular local artist who decided to make rum as a hobby.
Another interesting fact: they store most of their barrels of rum on the second floor of the warehouse because of flooding. Our tour guide said that even though the building had eight feet of water during Katrina, only about 10 percent of their product was destroyed.
The tour was pretty reasonable ($5) and included a free mint julep beforehand, and free tastes of their four most popular rums afterward – including clear, amber, cajun spiced and 10-year aged.
Last night, we headed down to Frenchmen Street, only to find it had been taken over by Satchmo Fest.
The downside: most of the bars were closed to everyone except those who had bought a $30 wristband. The upside: jazz music being played in the streets, a very convenient to-go window and a small grocery store with cheap by-the-can beer.
We got dirty and sweaty while standing outside listening to “When the Saints go marching in” and watching people dance.
While watching one of the bands, there was a man dancing and sweating profusely. After the dance, he came up to us and started telling us that he was actually famous, but that he likes doing stuff on Frenchmen Street because people don’t recognize him. But I mean, how many times do you hear people in New Orleans saying that they’re actually famous?
Anyways, he told us he was really famous for recently leading a second line of 500 people across the Brooklyn Bridge without a permit. So, being me, I looked it up when we got home. And sure enough, he is seriously famous. His name is Darryl Young, aka Dancing Man 504. And he is like the king of second lining. Here’s just a brief excerpt from a NewOrleans.com story:
“Last month, Young spent time in Paris, France, with the Soul Rebels Brass Band, teaching teenagers the art of the second line and the history of our brass culture. If you’ve been to any frequency of live music in New Orleans, you know Young. Ever see the ridiculously muscular, shirtless, African-American guy just going absolutely insane towards the front of the stage? Sliding, buck jumping, stepping to the music, muscles flexing and sweat pouring, eyes closed as he truly becomes one with the performers. Yup, you know Darryl Young. He actually teaches dance locally, specializing in cultivating and propagating the art of the second line moves.”
And he really did lead that illegal second line across the Brooklyn Bridge this spring.