Thursday, January 2, 2014

7th City: New Orleans - The Saenger Theatre {Tour Life} Part I

In October 2013, I went on my first National Tour with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. I sang the Abyssinian Mass written by Mr. Marsalis with Chorale Le Chateau led by Damien Sneed. 

There are so many things to say about my visit to this incredible town, which is why this will be a two-parter. I don't want to leave anything out. It was around this time that I started to realize that my life had taken the most excellent upward swing. The magic of the tour was really showing itself and this particular leg was when it really started.

Firstly, the trip from Augusta to New Orleans was 12 hours long. Somehow, this was the most comfortable 12 hours I've ever experienced. We made some really good pit stops, including one with a HUGE Barnes and Noble & a Waffle House (duh, winning!) Not to mention that a mom of one of the mezzos in the choir (hey Amber!) made us all pie.

Maria, Jonathan, and Josh!
Even our rest stops were magic and fun. We needed to stretch our legs so naturally, NATURALLY everyone went outside and started dancing. What a blessing and treasure to know that there is a legion of musicians/performers who are on the same eccentric level as you.

Bobby and Martin!

I think we got to the Hyatt Regency, which was my most favorite hotel, around 8pm or 9pm. I'm pretty sure I was still sleeping so I was moving rather sluggishly to get off the bus. I noticed a small commotion outside of the bus but figured everyone was just excited to finally be in NOLA. Nope, turns out, Bobby Brown was outside the hotel, just minding his business smoking a cigarette. Maybe I dreamed that, I don't know, nothing seemed real anymore. But the fact of the matter is, Bobby Brown really WAS there and I was totally going to go do the running man with him. I wanted to say "Too hot to handle, too cold to hold, they called the Ghostbusters and they in control!". But I decided against that and just told him how big of a fan I am and that I did earnestly still listen to his greatest hits quite regularly. He asked me what I did for a living and I told him I was an opera singer on tour with WM and JALC and then, Bobby Brown imitated an opera singer and sang opera to me. Because, well, you know, of COURSE.

I was completely unprepared for the majesty that awaited me when I walked into the hotel. OH THE MAJESTY. It was like a cruise ship sailing to Narnia. And there were two Starbucks inside the hotel itself. I mean, sign me up! There were direct flight elevators and chandeliers and jazz clubs and restaurants. The tv even greeted me when I got to the room. Just, what? But I had to get ready for an event in town that one of the tour girls put together so I didn't fully take everything in. Next thing I knew, me and the girls were taking in the sights and the sounds of the French Quarter. It was there that I partook in my first mouthwatering, perfectly seasoned, crispy, exceptional, heavenly Shrimp Po' Boy from a local hole in the wall. If someone a year ago when I quit my day job told me that I'd be standing in New Orleans, in perfect weather, mid-October, eating a shrimp po' boy (that I still dream about to this day), after being sung to by Bobby Brown, while on tour with Wynton Marsalis, well I'd tell them they had a very active imagination.
Lauren, Belinda, Me, Anne!


  1. Shrimp Po-boys are truly one of the best pleasures on this planet! So happy you got to experience NOLA, this makes me want to go back!