“I have begun to surrender to the idea that perhaps I was just lucky with New Orleans,” Andrew Duhon told me as we sipped iced coffee in the Lower Garden District. “Traveling is an exercise in missing it and returning to fall in love with an new aspect.”
Andrew is a NOLA-based musician, songwriter, and poet, who tours all over the world. He admires the Delta Blues and old folk songs, emulating artists like John Prine and Lightnin’ Hopkins. But he’s also a poet, gaining inspiration for his lyrics from the likes of Walt Whitman and Robert Frost.
Andrew started writing music while in college at LSU and kept it up once he moved back to New Orleans. “I was a regular at open mic nights, especially Carrolton Station and Checkpoint Charlie’s,” he said. “I would take any gig I could get. I played a lot of cover songs until people slowly started requesting the songs I had written.”
After performing solo for a while, Andrew is now touring with two other musicians: Maxwell Zemanovic on drums and Myles Weeks on bass.
The chorus of his song “Tandem Bike” makes me think of an ideal afternoon in New Orleans. It feels like he’s singing to the city itself:
We don’t mean to be mean / We just ain’t that kind / We’d rather get lost / Just to see what we’d find / And we’ll ride around Uptown on my tandem bike / I’ll buy some records, and you’ll buy some wine / I’ll put on a song that I think you might like / Then we’ll drink till we can’t tell the day from the night / Oh its you, darling, it’s you / That I’d like to stumble into / Darling it’s you, darling, it’s you / That I’d like to stumble into
Check out Andrew Duhon’s tour schedule on his site. When he is in New Orleans, look for him at Carrollton Station, d.b.a., and Dos Jefes. You can also hear Andrew as a host on the It’s New Orleans: Happy Hour weekly podcast every Thursday at 4 p.m. Catch the live recording at Wayfare on Freret Street.
1. Who is your favorite New Orleanian, dead or alive, real or imagined?
Snooks Eaglin. I’ve always gravitated toward Delta blues, and Snooks kind of bridged the gap between New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta, in terms of musical style.
2. What first brought you to New Orleans?
I grew up in Metairie, but the first time I actually lived in New Orleans, I was in a retreat house on Rampart Street the summer between high school and college. I was hooked.
3. In your opinion – what’s the best neighborhood in New Orleans?
Bayou St. John. All the architecture just makes sense.
4. City Park or Audubon Park?
5. Describe the best meal you’ve eaten in New Orleans?
I can’t think of specifics, but my mind is going to someone’s backyard. I’m holding a delicious bowl of jambalaya.
6. Where’s your favorite brunch spot?
Elizabeth’s in the Bywater.
The jury’s still out on my favorite spot, but I love a green tomato and shrimp remoulade po-boy.
8. You’ve got friends visiting and it’s their first time in New Orleans – where are you taking them?
I’ll take to Frenchmen Street on Wednesday or Thursday to see the Tin Men or Jon Cleary. We’d walk around Washington Artillery Park and Jackson Square at some point. Then I’d take them to BJ’s to see King James and the Special Men on Monday night. I realize this timeline doesn’t make perfect sense, but it’s gonna be so great it transcends time.
9. What’s your favorite neighborhood bar?
Finn McCool’s – it’s right down the street from where I live, and the owners are super friendly.
10. What is your favorite New Orleans cocktail and where do you go to get it?
Jameson on the rocks, my balcony.
11. Snowball or Daiquiri? Where from and what flavor?
A blackberry “stuffed” snowball with vanilla ice cream from Sal’s on Metairie Road.
12. Best spot to see live music?
13. Favorite New Orleans musician or band?
It’s a tie between Snooks Eaglin and Jon Cleary.
14. Favorite New Orleans Festival?
Mirliton Fest in the Bywater.
Krewe du Vieux.
16. Where do you shop in New Orleans?
17. What is your favorite New Orleans museum?
18. Where do you go to watch The Saints play?
19. Describe New Orleans in one word.
20. When was the last time you fell in love with New Orleans and why?
Every time I leave town and come home. I used to love hitting the road, but now I’m surrendering to the fact that traveling is just an excercise. I got lucky and get to call this city home.
Photos courtesy of andrewduhon.com.