In the evening we heard Cory Arceneaux and the Hot Peppers at El Sid O’s Zydeco and Blues Club on Martin Luther King Drive across from the projects in Lafayette. Sid greeted us by coming up and saying “I’m Sid.” He went on to speak of his brother Nathan Williams whose Zydeco Cha-Chas have been nationally successful. The band was first rate, playing straight blues tunes as well as zydeco.
To our left was a craggy-faced man in a shiny brown suit with boots and broad-brimmed hat, silent with the ancient fatalistic physiognomy of a junkie pharoah. With him was a slender woman with a suit that could go to church, and a face like a sinking cliff, unmoving, beyond corruption. At times they would dance and he circled with a reptilian sensual intensity. A classy guy, he had ordered a bottle of whiskey which arrived in a plush bag. It was followed by a large tray with glasses, mixers, ample ice. Every now and then with a minimal but masterful gesture he summoned the rounded and smiling waitress and received fresh supplies. They seemed never to speak.
But if he was cool hip, hot hip was not long in arriving. The band paused and waved when a long-legged, loose-jointed character showed up. He duckwalked forward and exchanged bon mots with the band, then performed a rapidly mutating funny walk in front of the stage and back again. Only occasionally sitting to fidget, he jived around alone and partnered, making six or eight movements for each beat of the music. A veteran lady drinker from the bar joined him, but was instantly betrayed by high heels and hit the floor. With a grand effort, her partner modulated his movements to help her up, and she returned to her perch on a stool, looking thoroughly disgruntled.
Around midnight a warm and spicy odor began to arise from the kitchen where there had been sporadic action for some time. The band was in the same stage, really at that point, but we were ready to retire, suddenly slightly worried about Henry’s car in the parking lot.