10/30/09: A Rainbow at Portico/Jimbo Mathus Live at Coda in Monroe LA


I got a very late start heading out of town because my computer wouldn’t sign on to the internet and I was on the phone with AT & T for an hour trying to get it working, only to discover that there was a neighborhood outage. I wasn’t in a very good mood, and it was raining steadily, so when Boss King called and wanted me to meet him at Brother Juniper’s for breakfast, I said “Why not?” and headed over there. That wasn’t a bad way to cheer up, and soon I was on my way down I-55, but slow going since the rain wouldn’t let up at all.
Since I was running so far behind schedule, I decided not to stop in Jackson, and took the I-220 loop around to the westside and on to Vicksburg.
At Tallulah, I stopped at the McDonald’s for a cappuccino, and then headed on into West Monroe, with maybe about an hour to spare before the antique shops started closing. The rain had tapered off to just a drizzle, but rather ominous was the Ouachita River, which had risen so far above floodstage that it was currently just below the underside of the DeSiard and Louisville bridges. As I usually do anytime I’m in Monroe, I visited the antique stores in search of Grambling memorabilia, and this year I hit paydirt, finding Grambling annuals for 1959, 1960, 1963 and 1964 at the Cottonport Antique Mall. There was also one there from 1966, but I didn’t buy it since I wasn’t sure what else I would find at other shops. Down the street at the Ouachita River Trading Company, I found two more Grambling yearbooks, for 1991 and 1995, and then I headed over to Books-A-Million in Monroe to see if they had any new books about Monroe, Grambling or Shreveport, but I didn’t find much there.
The rain was starting to pick up again as I left the bookstore, but when I arrived at Portico Bar and Grill for dinner, it had stopped, and a beautiful rainbow had appeared in the east. For a moment it was a double rainbow, and then it became a single again, but an unusually perfect one, reaching the treeline at both ends. Inside, the restaurant was as cheery as ever, with a live band playing and waitresses and bartenders costumed for Halloween. Waiting for my filet mignon, I checked emails and noticed that Jimbo Mathus was supposed to be in Monroe tonight, playing at a bar called Coda, so I decided to go if I didn’t end up over in Grambling.
After dinner, I rolled past Carroll High and Wossman High looking for a high-school football game, but nothing seemed to be going on, except over in West Monroe. So I checked into my hotel room at the Jameson Inn in West Monroe, and then drove across the street to get a cappuccino at the Corner Coffeehouse. I had planned on calling my friend Dr. Reginald Owens who lived in Grambling, but I could not reach him, so I drove over to Coda, a new bar and grill in Monroe that had not been open last year, and got a table near the stage for the Jimbo Mathus show. Justin Showah, the owner of Hill Country Records came with Jimbo, and I got a chance to hang out with them briefly before the first set. Jimbo’s typical rock/country/blues mix seemed to fit the crowd just right, the high point of the set (for me) being his trademark version of “Casey Jones.” Thoroughly tired from a day of driving against the weather, I called it a day after the first set.

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