After breakfast served by a hungover waitress who missed no opportunity to display her cleavage, a joyful Premium T. lead me to the Kitchen Witch, a cookbook store on Rampart Street. The Kitchen Witch features cookbooks used and new along with the company and counsel of owner Philip Lamancusa. We settled on two books, including a reprint of the 1824 culinary classic Virginia Housewife, or Methodical Cook. In it, you can -- among other things --learn how to prepare fried calf's feet over an open fire. We also picked up the beautifully designed The Africa Cookbook: Tastes of a Contintent (Jessica B. Harris).
From there, we moved on to Faulkner House Books, a wonderful shop the specializes in Southern literature and special editions. I wish I could say that I showed some restraint, but I did not. I found a copy of Yoknapatawpha, a collection of photographs of Faulkner's native Lafayette County (Mississippi) with quotations from his books. Beneath one photo of a mourning family is the caption, "If the choice is grief or nothing, I will take grief." That is the kind of writing that lands you a Nobel Prize.
We wandered over to French Market, starting to think that we might be able to go to the Fairgrounds after all. I found a couple of CDs. We stopped to watch a street brass band. Thunder crashed. We decided to stay put and went to a hole-in-the-wall called Fiorella's for lunch. Thunder boomed again and the rain came down for real. We decided against the Fairgrounds once and for all, and it's a good thing we did: A man at another table, after taking a phone call from a friend at the festival, announced the presence of 40-foot pools of water and trenches flooded waist-deep.
The rain eventually let up, and around 9:00 we took a cab to the Mid-City Lanes Rock 'n Bowl.We drove through a sobering stretch of Canal Street, with block after block of shut down, boarded up businesses. The Rock 'n Bowl combines a bowling alley with a stage and is partially illuminated with Christmas lights. It was great to see a largely middle-aged crowd boogie-ing the night away. Seattle is too buttoned-down for such shenanigans, but luckily not the Big Easy. We caught a terrific set from the Louisiana slide guitarist Sonny Landreth, plus got some really cool bowling shirts embroidered with our names.