The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #121693   Message #2660368
Posted By: PoppaGator
19-Jun-09 - 02:33 PM
Thread Name: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
"Wasn't this written by Eric Bogle about an actual Irish bar on Bourbon Street in New Orleans??"

I rather doubt it. I don't recall any Irish bar having existed on Bourbon Street at any time that I've lived here, which is since 1969.

There have been a couple of notable Irish pubs over the years in the French Quarter (but not on the Bourbon St, "main drag"), none of which would seem to likely candidiates for "Plastic Paddy-dom."

One, Danny O'Flaherty's on Toulouse Street, was a thriving business until Katrina. Danny was and is native Irish, a notable performer as well as landlord/entrepreneur, and in fact a native speaker of Irish from the Galway Gaeltacht. The main music room was an excellent venue, with good acoustics and a well-enforced be-quiet-and-listen policy. Danny had a relatively strict traditional-music-only policy, employed a small group of local musicians who fit the bill, and also provided a venue for many touring Irish/Celtic acts (icluding a few Mudcatters). While some of the clientele might plausibly have been accused of being "Plastic Paddies," I don't think the establishment could be tarred with the same brush.

After O'Flaherty's had gone out of business, a new establishment opened just off Bourbon St., "Sean Kelley's." At first, this new pub began employing many of the same singers and musicians who had been regulars at O'F's; more recently, there has been some controversy over how management had been treating the performers, many of whom refuse to appear there any more. The place is very bright and shiny (haveing been so recently renovated) and might very well be considered a "plastic," pseudo-Irish theme pub, but I think it is too new to have served as Bogle's inspiration.

The other notable French Quarter Irish-pub-with-live-music would be the Kerry on Decatur Street. This place is even less obviously and self-consciously "Oirish" ~ the music is NOT always Irish; it is normally more-or-less acoustic (folk/blues/country, almost always without drums and often featuring multiple harmonising vocalists). It's "Irish" inasmuch as they stock every available brand of Irish whiskey, and they know how to pour a decent pint of stout; also, the staff usually includes a few recent immigrants from Ireland (as did O'FLaherty's). The clientele almost always includes a number of tourists, but is predominantly made up of neighborhood regulars ~ and keep in mind, the French Quarter of New Orleans is not your run-of-the-mill neighborhood. The atmosphere is very relaxed and unpretentious, with no corporate imperative to playact at Irishness. (No one has to say "Top o' the mornin"" or any such crap.)