Sunset Riff Jazz Club

Excerpt from Fleur deKey Chapter 5 – based on a real New Orleans locale

Orange evolved into mauve, changed into red, faded into purple, evolved back to orange. The continuously evolving colors backlit the stained glass wall behind the bar, evoking a sunset created by the pattern of cut glass. Echo swiveled her stool, glancing around the large room from where she and Hawke sat. The musicians on the small stage were already into their second set when they arrived and all of the club chairs surrounding low tables had been occupied. A favorite of locals and popular with tourists, the Sunset Riff Jazz Club, with its art deco theme, was an intimate upscale setting on the ground floor of the Royal Sonesta Hotel. At the heart of it all on Bourbon Street, the hotel encompassed the entire frontages of Bienville, Bourbon and Conti Streets.

Contented to wait until the musicians took their next break, she sipped her Pinot Noir and listened to the soulful voice of the female in the trio. Her raw passion put a gospel and R&B hurting on the song about bad news and not sleeping at night. 

Irvin Mayfield Jazz Club aka Sunset Riff

Irvin Mayfield Jazz Club aka Sunset Riff in Fleur deKey

Check out a YouTube clip of the real jazz club located in the Royal Sonesta.  Irvin Mayfield Jazz Playhouse  – the backlight at the bar does change colors.

Meet Victoria “Echo” LaBauve

Echo's FLASH!

Echo’s FLASH!

When I was nine years old, I daydreamed about being Nancy Drew – brainy, courageous girl sleuth who was well off and could travel anywhere solving mysteries.  Twenty years later thanks to my trust fund, I quit my job as an Investigative Reporter and founded the Insight Foresight Benevolent Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to discover and utilize inventive and effective ways to help others help themselves.  In reality, it allows me to indulge my nine-year old dreams of sleuthing to help others.

My name is Victoria LeBauve, but to those who know and like me, I am Echo.  I’m five feet, seven inches tall in my Tevas.  My eyes are green.  My hair is red and wavy and I keep it longer than shoulder length so I can tie it up on humid days – which means almost always since I live in New Orleans.   I have a distinguishing feature, a white streak at the crown of my head, exactly like my Poppy Rouge, which according to him is a blessing, not a curse.  My Grandmother Esme nurtured my joy of singing.  Regretfully, my musicality rivals that of my Poppy for being throaty and out of accord with the intended pitch.    Poppy called me his little echo, hence my nickname.

The crown of my head – at that white streak I mentioned – aches when I have a flash. I don’t see auras like Poppy – instead I have brain flares!  Intuitive flashes of colors and words.

Oh, I have a penchant for quoting Dr. Seuss and I inherited the Leger trait of foretelling dreams. Although, I must admit my sleeping thoughts are more like visiting Tim Burton’s adaptation of Alice’s Wonderland. I haven’t mastered the art of interpreting their meaning, but I learned to be wary of them since they usually make sense after the fact.

Hanging around with me and the Foundation can be a little wacky, but fun.

Beatnik and Ostrich Feathers

Fleur deKey Excerpt from Chapter 11: Riverfront: Promenading
Inspired by real life snippets from a Sunday stroll


Garbed all in black, sunglasses and a beatnik cap, a battered horn case sat open at his feet, seeded with tip money. His wiry grey hair and beard spoke of his age. He played another quick scale to keep the interest of the building crowd then paused to roll his long sleeves to his elbows.  A grandmother pushed a baby stroller up to his bench, sat and talked with the old guy while he oiled the keys on his horn, waiting for more people to join the crowd.  Finally he wet his whistle and raised the horn to his lip. Smiling at the grandmother, he played “Braham’s Lullaby”. The old man responded to the surprise applause with a dip of his head and shifted into a rousing, fun tune to keep the crowd’s interest.


Two benches farther, another street performer claimed his performance space along the walkway. His yellow painted grocery cart, decorated with Mardi Gras beads, ostrich feathers and a pink bra flying from a bamboo staff, also sported a multi-colored tire stretched around its frame as a bumper. The dark skinned, lanky boy arranged his instruments – a bongo drum, horn, Indian flute, maracas, tin can on the end of a stick – in and around his cart preparing to compete for attention and tips.

A Jazz Legend’s House is Demolished

Jazz Legend's Demolished House

photo by Chad Boutte

Inspiration for Fleur deKey

This photograph triggered the idea to discover a unique key in the rubble of a Jazz Legend’s House. It was worth more than 1,000 words.

Favorite Writing Resources

Here are some favorite resource sites that I’ve used in my writing

All about Words

VisuWords  — this visual word connection triggers idea
PowerThesaurusvery comprehensive list
Reverse Dictionaryto convert a phrase to one word
WordMenu — I purchased this for $35 – arranges words in categorized structure – allows you to download a trial
AutoCrit Editing Wizard – This is an affordable membership, but also provides has a free version. I use it for my second-to-final draft.

Other Fun Stuff

W Storyboard
Publishing Flowchart for procrastinators
Lifecycle of a Story
Emotions and Facial Expressions – from an artist perspective

do an internet search on NPR Voice Impressions – voice can add richness to a character

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