A Landing a Day

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Posts Tagged ‘Trip Wamsley’

Lake Charles, Louisiana

Posted by graywacke on July 3, 2018

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”

I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town or towns I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. 

To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2407; A Landing A Day blog post number 841.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (30o 18.985’N, 93o 1.146’W) puts me in southwest Louisiana:

Here’s my local landing map:

And a closer look at my titular Lake Charles (both the lake and the city):

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of Bayou Arceneaux:

A quick note about bayous.  Some are quite small, and are deemed (by yours truly) as creek-equivalent, while others are quite large and are deemed river-equivalent.  The Bayou Anceneaux (which I deemed a creek) makes its way to the Bayou Serpent (which I deemed a river).  This was my first hit for the Bayou Serpent!

As you can see, the Bayou Serpent slithers its way to the Calcasieu River (4th hit).

I zoomed back to show how the Calcasieu eventually discharges to the Gulf:

I have a decent Google Earth (GE) Street View look at my landing:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

I sent the OD just a few hundreds yards north to get a look at the Bayou Arceneaux:

And here ‘tis:

See what I mean about it being creek-equivalent?

So.  I took a quick (and admittedly half-hearted) look at the little towns near my landing.  But I immediately knew, that absent an amazing hook with one of these towns, that I would feature Lake Charles.  Why, you might ask . . .

Well, there’s a man from Lake Charles (who, along with his wife and others) who I know personally.  Here’s the story:

Back in the early 2000s, Jody and I had a string of years where we went to the New Orleans Jazz Fest.  For those of you who have no clue, the Jazz Fest is a huge event, attracting many 10s of thousands of people to the N.O. fairgrounds.  Typically, the festival happens the last weekend in April (three days) and the first weekend in May (four days). 

The Jazz Fest features all sorts of music, performed simultaneously on ten (+/-) stages.  There’s jazz, gospel, rock n’ roll, Cajun and Zydeco music.  Light on folk; zero on classical.

We have a number of dear friends in New Orleans – Susan & Kelly, (parents); Rachael & Joel (kids, now adults).  Susan and Jody go way back to hippie days in San Francisco in the early 70s.  So, back in the late 90s – early 00s – we’d stay with Susan (who, at the time, lived within easy walking distance from the Jazz Fest). 

So, one year, we brought my son Jordan (age 13-14) to experience Jazz Fest.  Jordan and I were wandering around, looking for a stage to hang out and listen to music.  We walked near the Fais Do-Do* stage, which features Cajun and Zydeco music. 

* “Fais Do Do” means Cajun dance party.

Even from a distance, we heard some bad-ass bass guitar, warming up.  Slap bass, really funky.  I said to Jordan:  “we gotta check this out.”

So, the band getting ready to play was “Sean Ardoin and Zydekool.”  I had no clue who they were, or what they would do, but I knew they had a great bass player.

Well.  Sean came out, and he immediately had the crowd in the palm of his hand.  He was bigger than life, had a great voice, was full of energy (and, he had a great bass player).  His music was funky rock ‘n roll, anchored by Sean on the accordion.  I loved it, loved it, loved it.

When I hooked up with Jody and our friends at the end of the day, I said “Sean Ardoin and Zydekool” was far and away my favorite act.

More about his [former] bass player – Trip Wamsley – in a bit.  Here’s a picture of Sean at the Jazz Fest.  That’s his nephew Trey Ardoin (who we also got to know) with him.

The next year, Susan had some other house guests who also wanted to go to Jazz Fest.  They were limited to just one of the two weekends.  So, we took the other weekend.  With some trepidation, I went on line to check out the various acts for the two weekends. 

And, yes!  Sean Ardoin and Zydekool was playing the weekend that we’d be there.

Of course, we (Jody and other family members in addition to Jordan) went to see Sean at the Fais Do Do stage.  He was opposite Bonnie Raitt – ouch – but we had no doubt who’d we see.

He was great once again.  After the show, Jody suggested that we hang around and try to meet Sean.  Jody (ever the connector) led the way, and we connected.

Sean (more or less):  “I’ll be playing at Tipatina’s (in New Orleans) in just a few weeks.”

Jody chimed in (more or less): “that’s Greg’s birthday.  Greg –  wanna come back to New Orleans?  We’ll call it your birthday present.”

So, back we came, and our connection with Sean was further cemented when after the show, Sean mentioned he’d be at a music festival in Rhode Island that summer – the Rhythm and Roots festival in Charlestown.  Surely, we’d be able to come up at hang out a while.

So, up we went (from our home in NJ).  Suddenly, Jody was the unofficial band photographer, and we found ourselves hawking Zydekool t-shirts.  Our discussions went to the next time we’d see them, and Jody mentioned that she was thinking about a celebratory dance party, marking the 10th anniversary of her company, Hill Environmental Group.

Yes, the band was going to be up in the Northeast in October, and yes, they’d be delighted to play at our party.  The party, held at a historic unfurnished barn up near Princeton, was a smashing success.

And then Sean said something like, “in a couple months, we’re going to Rio de Janeiro to play at a music festival (the Jambalaya Jazz Fest) that features local bands from Rio, and bands from Louisiana.  Y’all want to join us?”

You’ll never guess what happened . . .

A quick Rio story – we were met at the airport by one of the organizers of the festival who was driving the band (and we, the “band parents”) to our hotel (on Copa Cabana beach).  We asked him how he was publicizing the festival, and he pulled out the front page of the entertainment section of El Globo, one of the local newspapers.  And there was a great photo of Sean at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, taken by none other than Jody!  We got instant street cred!

Obviously, we became friends with Sean and his wife Vanessa.  In the coming years, the band stayed at our house for all of their Northeast trips; we spent Mardi Gras in Lake Charles with Sean & Vanessa (including Zydekool playing at the Port Arthur TX Mardi Gras celebration).  That visit included the famous Ardoin family Mardi Gras dance party, where they invite 1,500 of their closest friends.  Sean & Vanessa have visited us in NJ (sans Zydekool).

We (mainly Jody and her brother Skip) put together beach party in the Bahamas (on the out island of Eleuthera) to raise money for school computers, with Sean as the headliner.

Sean calls Jody “Big Sis,” and Jody (of course) calls Sean “Lil Bro.”

So before jumping into some Sean videos, how about his erstwhile bass player Trip Wamsley (who was with Sean for several years back in the day).

Here’s a Trip Wamsley interview, with some interspersed bass solo.  He’s selling GK amplifiers, but he talks about himself and his music.  Note he’s playing a fretless bass . . .  


Here’s a piece Sean did for WXPN (Philadelphia!), where he talks about the roots of Zydeco music:


Here’s one of my favorites that I heard back in the day at Jazz Fest – “Mama.”  The song starts out a little slow (for a minute or so, but then he picks it up).  Pay attention to the accordion:


Here’s “Around the World.”  Talk about street cred!  You must pay close attention to the words at about the 1:47 mark!!!!


Wow.  You gotta listen to Sean doing Adelle’s “Hello.”


OK.  One more.  This is great:   a cover of Pharrell’s “Happy,” with great scenes of Lake Charles:


I’ll close with this GE shot by pmjparty, of a lake just south of Lake Charles:

That’ll do it . . .




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