Friday, May 19, 2006

Standing on a Corner in Lafayette . . .

. . . in the state of Louisiana. I thought this would be a perfect spot to stop, grab a bite, and take a photo based on the Paul Simon lyric from the Graceland album:

Well, I'm standing on a corner in Lafayette
State of Louisiana
Wondering what a city boy can do
To get her in a conversation
Drink a little red wine
Dance to the music of Clifton Chenier
The king of the bayou

Later he's "Standing on the corner of Lafayette, across the street from the Public, heading down to the Lone Star Cafe."

I know who Clifton Chenier is, so I figured it would be no problem to find the Lone Star Cafe and get a picture of me on a corner.

Fat chance.

The closest I could come was the Lone Star Roadhouse, a chain, and the one in Lafayette was closed, with all the signs taken down. There is a Clifton Chenier branch of the Lafayette Public Library, but I only found out about that later. I have a feeling Paul Simon's Lone Star Cafe is the one in New York City, where he could be standing on the corner of Lafayette, a street.

Much of Louisiana was like this: unphotographable. But I have to say, it was stunningly beautiful as I headed toward Texas, bound northwest through Baton Rouge and Lafayette and up Highway 49 toward Shreveport. The scenery was rich; the light was wonderful, and I kept trying to take pictures. None really worked. So you'll just have to imagine it. A rustic shack buried in the woods, laundry hanging on the boards in the sun. Cows munching cud in their green fields, bordered by a slough and dark trees. A sign advertising Daiquiris: Drive-Thru.

And you'll have to imagine me standing on a corner, hunting for Clifton Chenier, King of the Bayou.


Anonymous said...

Maybe Next Time

Lone Star Saloon.
3546 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy
Lafayette, Lafayette County, LA 70503-5131
Phone: 337-993-0440

TheForge said...

Turn's out your idea that you'd need to take that photo in New York was right on. In Michael Tisserand's book "The Kingdom of Zydeco" he tells the story behind that last verse. See pages 330-332. In brief, Simon had dinner with Dick Landry and Penny Marshal at a restaurant on Lafayette across the street from the Public Theater in New York before heading down to the Lone Star Cafe to hear Terrance Simien the night of the Live Aid concert.

Adam said...

i think the lyrics refer to Lafayette Square in New Orleans. The square is surrounded by public service building any of which could be referred to as 'The Public'. Plus then it is actually 'in the state of Louisiana.
Plus that ties in with Clifton Chenier who was a Louisiana artist. the style of music he played was 'Zydeco' - a lend of cajun, creole, blues & jazz.
That Was Your Mother also mimics the Zydeco style...

I may not be right but its the only place which seems to fit most of the lyric... still haven't found a Lone Star Cafe in New Orleans but if there ever was one it's probably gone now...