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Jimmy Buffett attended last Sunday’s NFC Championship game in New Orleans between the Saints and the Minnesota Vikings, but before the teams took the field he donned a Sean Payton hat and performed in the parking lot with the Creole String Beans:
Local Y’at jukebox band the Creole String Beans were playing a tailgate party last Sunday afternoon on the back of a beat-up flatbed truck for the Down Undas tailgating club. While the band was on a break, a car drove up, delivering New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival producer Quint Davis and Who Dat fan Jimmy Buffett to the party.
“They join the party, partake in beer, oysters, and revelry,” said Rob Savoy, the Creole String Beans’ bassist and national contract manager for JazzFest. “Buffett sees one of the guys hosting the party wearing one of those visors with the furry hair sticking out of the top that make you look like Sean Payton. He knows he has to have one. He asks Doc Macina (organizer and King of the Down Undas) for the hat. Doc says he’ll give it to him if he sings a song. Buffett tells him this is the best deal he’ll ever get in his life.”
Buffett climbed up onto the flatbed and discussed possible covers with the band. They settled on the Frankie Ford classic, “Sea Cruise.”
“He added special lyrics of ‘Who Dat’ and ‘Drew Brees,'” Savoy said. “Overall he rocked it, the crowd went wild and swelled to triple its original size. The official oyster shucker, Shukah Khan, offered him a raw oyster between verses. He borrowed a guitar and said, “‘Margaritaville’ in D.”
What was an intimate crowd of long-time Saints fans and friends swiftly swelled into a sea of people, all singing along to Buffett’s signature tune as cars whizzed by overhead. After the song finished he smiled, high fived the band members and went back to the party.
“Walking to New Orleans” is Paul Leslie’s 330 mile walk from the Margaritaville Cafe Panama City Beach in Florida all the way to an undetermined location in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. Paul will be walking from January 31, 2010 to February 14, 2010 to raise money to help rebuild the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans still recovering five years after Hurricane Katrina. The walk has been mentioned on over 60 radio stations nationwide as well as in newspapers, magazines, and on television.
Miles Hampton of Radio Margaritaville will be presenting an interview with Paul Leslie on Saturday, January 23, 2010 during the 7PM to 1AM (ET) slot. Tune into SIRIUS 31 / XM 55 / Dish Network Channel 6031 or you can listen from anywhere in the world on www.radiomargaritaville.com
Dennis King (DK the DJ) will be presenting an interview with Paul Leslie on the Island Time radio show on Monday, January 25, 2010 from 10PM to 1AM on WBWC the Sting 88.3.
Hear the webcast worldwide @ www.wbwc.com
Jimmy Buffett has posted on his official site that his two shows in Bora Bora last week raised $40,000 for a local school:
Along with Coral Reefers Mac and Robert, Jimmy had some good times down in the [South Pacific] sunshine, playing two shows in Bora Bora in January. Both shows featured a local Tahitian girls’ choir during “One Particular Harbor,” and during Saturday’s show, local musician John Gabilou sat in to sing “Bora Bora E” with Jimmy. Enthusiastic crowds of locals and tourists alike packed the club both night, and raised over $40,000 for a new local playground and park – which will of course feature a tire swing or two!
Update – Tom Moffatt has more details about the shows and the journey leading up to them:
In the following years we often talked about returning. It finally happened … after Jimmy’s surprise concert at Jimmy Buffett’s at the Beachcomber in Waikiki, we headed for Tahiti for the show’s last weekend at Bloody Mary’s. Thanks to managers Craig Gould and Rick Guenett, and owner Dexter Hewett, all proceeds from ticket sales are being donated to build a playground for the children of Bora Bora. And thanks to another dear friend Francis Teai, the Tahitian government provided the best technical equipment to make it a truly first-class presentation. And Gabilou flew in from Papeete to provide a special introduction.
Needless to say, it was very special with Jimmy concluding his performance with a rousing One Particular Harbor.
The crowd wanted one more encore. Well, I had witnessed Jimmy and his brilliant sidemen, guitarist Mac McAnally and steel drum virtuoso Robert Greenidge, working for hours on a special Buffett arrangement of Some Enchanted Evening, and was delighted when Jimmy wisely chose this as his final offering.
The Margaritaville Casino and Resort project in Biloxi, Mississippi has been on hold since 2008 and it now appears that construction will not get under way again anytime soon:
The construction cranes are about to be taken down at the site of the stagnant Margaritaville project on Biloxi’s Casino Row.
Harrah’s executive John Payne called WLOX News Wednesday to let us know that over the next few weeks, the cranes would be disassembled. However, Payne emphasized that his company still intends to find new partners and complete the Margaritaville expansion.
Payne said the idle cranes cost Harrah’s $10,000 a month. Since they’re not being used, the company determined it would be more cost effective to remove them from the east Biloxi property.
The developers have been looking for partners since at least November of last year.
Unveiled in 2007, the original plans called for a $700 million resort with 798 rooms, a full-service spa, a pool/deck area with cabanas, bar and tropical landscaping, all on 46 acres of land south of U. S. Highway 90.
A plan to turn the Trump Marina Casino in Atlantic City into a Margaritaville-themed casino and hotel fell through in June of last year.
The first Margaritaville Cafe in Canada will open in late spring or early summer in Niagara Falls, Ontario:
Margaritaville Canada Ltd. has signed a lease with the owners of the Skylon Tower to open the 14,000-square-foot, two-story restaurant on Fallsview Avenue, across from the Niagara Fallsview Casino and Resort.
Margaritaville is scheduled to open by late spring or early summer, said George Davidson, Margaritaville Canada president and chief executive officer.
The restaurant is moving into the site of the former Wolfgang Puck’s Cafe, which closed last summer.
Margaritaville Canada is investing “several million” into the Niagara Falls project, Davidson said. The restaurant is the first of several the Calgary-based company has planned for Canada. The company has the exclusive Margaritaville rights for Canada.
“The (Niagara Falls) location is just spectacular,” Davidson said. “You couldn’t find a better site between all the activity and overlooking the falls.”
Davidson said the restaurant site is currently being expanded. Part of the renovations call for a second-story outdoor patio that will offer dramatic views of Niagara Falls.
Margaritaville will have a 350-person seating capacity, an increase over Wolfgang Puck’s capacity by more than 175 seats.
The restaurant, during the peak summer season, is expected to employ at least 250 people on a full- and part-time basis.
Davidson confirmed plans are in the works for other Margaritaville’s across Canada. One will anchor the revamped Calgary Stampede grounds and complex.
“You can probably guess what other cities might end up with one,” Davidson said.
He said locations in Toronto and Vancouver are being considered.
As for the restaurant’s namesake, might Buffett be making an appearance in Niagara Falls.
“You never know,” Davidson said. “He has been known to stop in his other restaurants from time-to-time.”
The Calgary location is under construction and there are reports that a location will open in Edmonton. And last month we told you about the possibility of a Nashville location.
See where the other Margaritaville Cafes are located here.