Thursday, 6 November 2014

Jazz, Jackson & Joan of Arc – Part II

So, we were all standing by the Mississippi River and our tour guide started telling us about the Battle of New Orleans. I thought sure I'd go to sleep standing up - American history has never much grabbed my interest. But she managed to spice it up by throwing a few pirates in there.

Anna on the right...

Apparently the Battle of New Orleans  happened in 1814-15 as part of the War of 1812. Andrew Jackson defended the port of New Orleans against the British with the help of Pierre and Jean Pierre Lafitte and their men. According to Anna, Jackson had barely a cannon to his name, but these pirates had been stealing and stockpiling armaments for quite a while. In return for their help they were all given full pardons for their piracy.

There was also something about a bend in the river, the geographical name for which I didn't catch and cannot now find, which also aided the Americans in that it meant the British couldn't see around the corner and realise the weaknesses in the Americans' defense.

Earlier that day, Jan and I had been sitting in Jackson square trying to remember why Jackson was such a big deal in New Orleans. I think she remembered the Battle of New Orleans but we both remembered there was something about a woman... Sure enough, I spotted a book in one of the museums we visited and read the flyleaf: Being So Gentle: the Frontier Love Story of Rachel and Andrew Jackson, by Patricia Brady. It seems that Rachel was married to someone else and he hadn't divorced her as was believed when Andrew and Rachel married. So initially theirs was a bigamous marriage. Not a great thing when one is in politics. 

Oh, and Joan of Arc? Seems the French have presented New Orleans with another statue, this time of Joan of Arc.  It strikes me that given the love hate relationship of Britain and France and the same odd feeling between the US and France, maybe it’s not us…maybe it’s the French?

Much better photos here.

Anyhow, Anna’s tour ended with us sitting in on a free jazz mini-concert. The chat about how the piano player grew up in a musical household was fascinating; he was clearly an academic type, a teacher, as well as a jazz musician. Bill made a video clip of the jazz but can I find it? Nope.

So I leave you with something else.  Enjoy!


Carolyn said...

Sounds like a really nice day out! And I have to say it; "Anna on the right"... hilarious!

Shelley said...

Carolyn - I'm pleased you caught that - and appreciated my weird humour.