It was early in the morning. Dew was still moistening the ground. Frenchmen Street was only being patrolled by folks still wiping the crust from their eyes and other places that early risers in New Orleans get crusty at. The Jam Van team ourselves were a bit crusty. I having spent the night prior inside of the van with my faithful dog, the rest of the crew having found couches and floor space to curl up. We’d been traveling for quite some time, partying all the way. It catches up to you.
So we set our couch out on the side of Frenchmen. I laid down on it, tied my dog to my ankle and waited for the first act of the day to arrive.
Sasha breezed up to the van in a pretty yellow dress, she looked brighter than anything around. Smile across her face, eyes wide, she didn’t introduce herself with much boaster. Just a “hi, nice to meet you,” and still with the smile. My dog took a liking, brushed up against Sasha’s leg, wanted to get his ears scratched. She gave him a little love, it’s hard not to.
Then she climbed up the steps, a flourish of that yellow blurred past our eyes, the dog looked on longingly. “No boy, you stay.” In to follow went a bass, a guitar, and then the door shut. All that came out for the next thirty minutes was melody. There was the boaster. There was the sass. It came out in the tunes. Accompanied by the simplicity of a band called the Sidewalk Strutters, Ms. Masakowski was quintessential New Orleans. From the snap of her fingers, to the twinkle in her eyes, she wowed us.
When she stepped out, the dew had dried, my dog had gotten into a fight with a passing chihuahua, the street had awoken, but she still remained the brightest thing on the block as she sashayed off to her next gig. Leaving us just the flit of a memory, and the brilliance of her songs.