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Preservation Hall

CBS Sunday Morning is profiling Preservation Hall this Sunday, March 9.


Preservation Hall is a locale for a scene in Fleur deKey – although I took significant artistic license with the carriage house (doesn’t really exist).

EXCERPT from Chapter 26:     Familiar with the Hall, Hawke appreciated the stark simplicity of the shaded room they entered. A piano sat diagonally in one corner. Drums on a worn rug surrounded by mismatched empty chairs formed the Hall’s stage area. The size of the room limited the number of listeners who could sit on the long flat cushions, positioned on the floor in rows across from the performance area. Portraits of the musicians who first played the beautiful sounds of New Orleans Jazz lined the otherwise blank plaster walls.

She and Hawke sauntered out the back door of the hall into the courtyard in search of a volunteer. Eager to share his knowledge, the portly man they met in the alley way escorted them to an old carriage house beyond the courtyard and up an exterior staircase.

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.

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.

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