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Saturday, October 11, 2008

photo of Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and Tab Benoit
Big Chief Monk Boudreaux with Tab Benoit of The Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars
photo of crowd in front of Michael P. Smith's house
Uncle Lionel Batiste of the Tremé Brass Band takes a break at the house of Michael P. Smith during the second line honoring Smith
photo of poster
The 2008 Voice of the Wetlands poster by Richard Thomas
photo of Richard Thomas
Richard Thomas sketching the 2009 V.O.W. Poster
photo of Morning 40 at Tips
The Morning 40 Federation performing uptown at Tipitina's

About Town with A.J., the Boudin Man

Saturday, October 11

A nice day for a hat trick!

1:30 p.m.

Attended the second line memorial for Michael P. Smith.

Joe Cool Davis got things started at the corner of Second and Dryades Streets. Where else could it start than the corner where Michael took many of his pictures of the Mardi Gras Indians? I saw more photographers (professional and amateurs) at this second line than I have ever seen at a second line.

Yellow bandannas with a picture of a younger Smith and the words "Follow the Music" were handed out to the crowd.

The procession, led by the Tremé Brass Band, then headed for Tipitina's, where Smith was one of the founders. One of the stops on the way was at Michael's home where we were treated to refreshments of cold water and beer. Several of the famous pictures taken by Michael were out on display, and Professor Longhair was blaring from a boom box on the porch.

It was fitting that Michael's final public farewell was being held at Tipitina's. A musical tribute was held after the parade with performances by Deacon John, Marva Wright, Coco Robichaux and Michael Smith's daughter Leslie Smith. Indians from several tribes — some of who were subjects of Michael's iconic photographs — also sang Indian chants. Many of Michael's family and friends spoke, including Nick Spitzer of the nationally-syndicated "American Routes" radio show.

7:00 p.m.

Drove down to Houma to check out Day 2 of the Voice of the Wetlands Festival. Tab Benoit was scheduled to be playing with Jimmy Hall of Wet Willie and Louisiana LeRoux. We were also treated to Jumping Johnny Sansone sitting in on several numbers. Tab then brought up a very special guest. Big Chief Monk Boudreaux came up in his new suit with pink feathers and entertained us with a few songs.

Richard Thomas, the artist who painted the poster for the Voice of the Wetlands Festival, had a booth set up selling this year's poster as well as posters from previous years. He was busy sketching on a pad an idea for next year's poster.

12:00 a.m.

Headed back to New Orleans and caught the Morning 40 Federation for a rare uptown appearance at Tipitina's before calling it a night.

Not a bad hat trick!

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