Almost twenty years ago, on my first visit to New Orleans, I saw Charmaine Neville perform as the opening act for her brothers at a club in Riverwalk that no longer exists. I often thought of going to see her again, but since she had a regular gig at Snug Harbor it was one of those things that I always put off. Next week, next month, another time...
Last night, after the awful Marigny/Bywater meeting, I caught the end of Charmaine's return gig at Snug Harbor. The crowd was rather small, particularly considering there was no cover. But the band and Charmaine were great--completely up beat and talking only of New Orleans's future, not the past.
After the show I wanted to tell her how I'd seen her perform all those years ago, before I had ever lived here, and how great it was to see her again, now. But before I got the chance she grabbed me and gave me a big hug.
"Thanks for coming back," I said.
"Oh," she said, shaking her head, "you can't keep me out of here!!"