Unlike the other times I've been here -- my first trip was in 1988 with some college friends -- I couldn't even find any decent music in the French Quarter. Walter "Wolfman" Washington was playing out at the Maple Leaf, but with no car and not a lot of time (and 35-degree weather) I wasn't in the mood for that trip. I walked up and down Bourbon and Royal Streets and heard almost nothing but disco and club music, or dreadful rock-blues cover bands playing way too loud. There weren't even any street musicians, but perhaps it was too cold for them.
I finally happened on a Bourbon Street bar called Huge Ass Beers (I give them credit for at least not trying to be falsely authentic) with a couple of guys playing blues in the back. Nothing to write home about, and I didn't get their names, but they were having a good time and so were the other folks in the bar, mostly a hardcore band from San Diego and their girlfriends.
This morning I had coffee and beignets at Cafe du Monde, which is at least still there and intact, and walked around a little more. Even in the heart of the French Quarter there are a lot of boarded-up storefronts and for-rent signs. I'll be glad to get back on the train.