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Fair Grounds, all day
Final day of weekend one
Bayou Beer Garden, 9AM
The most important meal of the year
Prytania Theatre, 10AM
1933 sci-fi horror classic
Saenger Theatre, 3PM
YouTube superstar comes to town
Marigny Opera House, 5PM
Feat. guitarist and composer David Sigler
Eiffel Society, 7PM
Lord of the Rings burlesque
Maple Leaf Bar, 7PM
Feat. Walter "Wolfman" Washington and Russell Batiste, plus a crawfish boil
Bar Redux, 9PM
NOLA-based Balkan band
Zeitgeist Arts Center, 9PM
Helen Gillet presents Belgian avant garde films
Louis Armstrong Park, 1PM
A protest for freedom, jobs, justice, and sanctuary for all
Peoples Health Jazz Market, 6:30PM
CNN presents event, with post-screening conversation with anchor Brooke Baldwin
House of Blues, 7PM
Carver Club, 8PM
Treme club shifts its weekly show to the historic Carver Theatre
Cafe Istanbul, 9:15PM
Evening of poetry with Chuck Perkins, plus live music
Blue Nile, 11PM
Famed brass all-stars play Frenchmen
Ernest N. Morial Cenvention Center
Kick off day of tech conference
Marigny Recording Studio, 3PM
First annual showcase of the label's artists
Greater New Orleans Foundation, 4:30PM
Music from Irma Thomas, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Rebirth Brass Band
343 Baronne St., 6:30PM
Chardonnay vs. Pinot Noir
House of Blues, 7PM
Grammy-nominated French heavy metal
Little Gem Saloon, 7:30PM
Stick around for Honey Island Swamp Band at 11PM
Smoothie King Center, 8PM
50th anniversary tour
Feat. Rory Danger and the Danger Dangers
Octavia Books, 4:30PM
From "How to Be A Supervillain"
Hosted by Pistil & Stamen Flower Farm and Studio
Music at the Mint, 7PM
Feat. Tim Laughlin
The Sanctuary, 8PM
CD release show
Snug Harbor, 8PM
Feat. Marcia Ball, Joe Krown, and Tom McDermott
In support of newest album 'Whiteout Conditions'
Saenger Theatre, 8:30PM
Blue Nile, 9PM
Feat. Ivan Neville
Gasa Gasa, 9PM
Feat. Chrome Pony and Post Animal in support
Blue Nile, 11:55PM
Next generation NOLA brass
Pres Hall, 12AM
With Jon Cleary, Benny Bloom, & Friends
Fair Grounds, all day
Weekend two kicks off
Tubby & Coo's, 4PM
Star Wars party
Jazz in the Park
Russell Batiste and friends
Crescent Park, 5:45PM
Get sweaty and centered
Ashé Cac, 6PM
Live music, DJs, and dance
The Music Box Village, 6:30PM
Punk rock percussion
Rosalie Apothecary, 7PM
Class for women's health
House of Blues, 7:30PM
Benefit concert for his namesake foundation
The Historic Carver Theater, 8PM
Feat. Ian Neville, Nikki Glaspie, SSHH feat. Zak Starkey of The Who
The Howlin Wolf, 9PM
Republic NOLA, 9PM
Feat. George Porter Jr., Zigaboo Modeliste
Music at the Mint, 9PM
Live music to benefit the Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp
A Company Man
Newly Edited Memoir of 18th Century Clerk Offers Rare Peek Into Historic New Orleans
In 1730, Marc-Antoine Caillot arrived in New Orleans to record his observations about Louisiana, or 'New France,' as he knew it. In 'A Company Man,' modern Crescent City residents get a peek into their hometown in the 18th Century and see that much of the lure of 18th Century New Orleans persists into the 21st.
Almost ten years ago, the Historic New Orleans Collection unearthed an unpublished memoir by an eighteenth-century employee of the French Company of the Indies. Its author, Marc-Antoine Caillot, was a low-level clerk who had recorded his voyage across the Atlantic as well as his residency in colonial Louisiana. The original title of the manuscript was Relation du voyage de la Louisianne ou Nouvelle France fait par le Sr. Caillot en l'année 1730 (Account of the voyage to Louisiana, or New France, made by Sieur Caillot in the year 1730).
Now, with a wonderfully informative introduction by editor Erin M. Greenwald and a superb translation by Teri F. Chalmers, the manuscript has finally been published as A Company Man: The Remarkable French-Atlantic Voyage of a Clerk for the Company of the Indies.
The book itself is an attractive, colorful hardcover that is guaranteed to class up the shelves of scholars and history buffs alike. Interspersed throughout the account are Caillot's original watercolors, which were lovingly preserved by the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia. All of this serves the memoir's import as a unique artifact of its time, as well as an account of a young man setting sail into adulthood.
In March of 1729, Caillot departs France aboard the Duc de Chartres, one of the company's largest merchant ships. Initially a pleasant trip, the Duc soon runs into foul weather, in which Caillot observes his shipmates "continuously vomiting in the most awful manner." Though spared at first, Caillot soon falls prey to seasickness, and spends a week "unable to drink or eat or sleep," suffering from "dizzy spells and awful disgorgements."
Once cured, Caillot turns his eye to the culture of merchant sailing, describing ritual punishments, shark attacks, and bizarre tropical baptisms with a unique flair. The memoir is at its strongest while Caillot is at sea, but the sections that follow his landborne adventures are still engaging.
For one, his observations of New Orleans seem to echo our current predicament. Caillot writes that "disturbances are quite frequent and vice triumphs here with so much impunity, [though] it is not for lack of being reprimanded by frequent sermons, which [the priest] preaches with zeal, for the promotion of Divine Glory. I can attest that...it is partly because of him that justice is not completely abolished." As before, so today: big blessings are still poppin', despite the devil's frequent attempts to stop them.
When he's not stunned by the architecture of the nascent French Quarter, or describing the murky smell peculiar to alligator excrement, Caillot puts on a dress and celebrates Carnival with his very own second-line, complete with woodwinds and strings. The young clerk goes full drag, donning "a corset of white dimity, a muslin skirt, a large pannier, right down to the chemise, along with plenty of beauty marks too," which costume wouldn't be out of place on contemporary Bourbon Street (he writes of his get-up: "unless you looked at me closely, you could not tell that I was a boy").
Caillot promptly crashes a wedding at Bayou St. John, falls in love with a female boarder of the Ursuline convent, and deftly handles an attempted cockblock by an officer of a rival ship. The Carnival season then draws to a close, and Caillot writes, in his characteristic rococo prose, that "we had a great deal of fun, for Bacchus, having left his kingdom to go find Venus, suggested endless pleasures to us, but...the time seemed short and charming to me."
This account of Carnival celebrants and cross-dressing stands in stark contrast to the close of the memoir, which follows the French-Natchez War of 1730. Caillot observed the effects of the war from a base camp in New Orleans, and his descriptions of atrocities rival those found in Blood Meridian. (Ritual dismemberments, babes-on-stakes, and the like.)
In February of 1731, the French claimed victory over the Natchez, which allowed for a period of peace and calm, thus enabling Caillot to leave the "unlucky colony" of New Orleans in the "unfortunate country" of America. He set sail on the Saint-Louis on April 1, "as happy to the same degree as I had been sad upon arriving."
Clearly, New Orleans is not meant for everyone. This has always been true, whether you consult a Jackson Square chiromancer or a long-dead merchant sailor. A terrific historic document in its own right, A Company Man is also a testament to the weird eternal pull of the Crescent City, and contains enough seafaring adventure, festive revelry, and bloodshed to satisfy readers of all stripes.
Renard Boissiere, Linzi Falk, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Dead Huey, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via
Michael Weber, B.A.
B. E. Mintz