Last night, 2006 Grammy Award winner Irma Thomas put on a fabulous nearly two-hour show, singing her throaty up-tempo rhythm and blues, bare-footed through the second half, her plain black dress shimmering in the stage lights, her voice bringing tears to my eyes. And the songs: "After the Rain," "In the Middle of It All," "Another Man Done Gone," "These Honey Dos," and my favorite, "Time is on My Side." Unforgettable, the Soul Queen of New Orleans, there on the stage, glittery lights behind her, stomping on the stage in her bare feet, her entire body quivering with the emotion behind, "If you don't know love, you don't know, you don't know, you don't know."
Irma Thomas, personable, approachable, immediate, told a story about shopping in Wal-Mart right after Katrina. A woman said, "You here?" And Irma replied, "Yes, darling" (everyone says darling or dear or honey here). The woman said, "But you're Irma Thomas." And Irma replied, "That's right, honey. But if they've got something that will cover all this, I'm here, just like everyone else."
This wonderful, unforgettable artist, 67 years young, celebrates her creativity and her life with pure exuberance. What a memorable night and what a memorable close to our month in New Orleans.