Chackbay New Kid Girl

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In a white-walled room with pretty flowered curtains and a matching bedspread there was a young girl named April, who focused properly on her studies and other important things but was also focused on a guy named Joe McIntyre. Also there was Donnie, Jordan, Danny and Jon. Together, for the non-cogniscenti, they were called the New Kids On The Block. They are still called that.

April was about 10-years-old at Sixth Ward Middle School when the attachment began.


“I wasn’t one of these girls that went super overboard with all the stuff like posters and bedspreads. I just listened to them all the time and had lots of T-shirts and buttons,” she said. I still have them. And the cassette tapes. “Oh man, just thinking about all those pins, you couldn’t just buy them anywhere. You had to get them at the mall, at the Sound Shop.”

The New Kids are anything but new at this point, as just about anyone knows. But that didn’t stop April and a whole lot of women who are now well over 30, and a few who are younger, from crowding into the Smoothie King Center Friday night.

In a space that smelled of perfume and the sweet and sour aroma of thousands of drinks, where the screams were overwhelming when the performers took the stage, one by one, in leather capes and hoods, and suddenly it was not 2015 anymore.


“It was more like 1988,” Mrs. April Bourgeois Rome said, as she recounted the special effects, with all the smoke and steam and things flying in the air.

My own experience with NKOTB is limited; I confess to being a huge fan of the CBS TV series “Blue Bloods,” on which Donnie Wahlberg appears regularly as a detective who is he son of the police commissioner in New York City and the brother of another cop, who doesn’t always play by the rules, and to be honest it is difficult for me to imagine him dancing on a stage with his band-mates. But that’s just me and I mean no disrespect.

So there was April wanting to scream with all the other women in the place and she did just that. But a recent cold – a really bad one – morphed her screams of adoration into strangled coughs. And that’s how each scream ended.


The coolest moment came when Joe brought his own son up on the stage to join him.

“I just kind of put my hand over my heart like every other mom in that audience did and thinking how cool would that be to have my kid up there doing something like that ,” April said.

But it was a night to remember, and the memories will remain with April like the other two times she saw the New Kids perform, once in Baton Rouge and once in New Orleans. A lot has changed since then at concerts, like no cigarette smoke. Which is just fine with April. But I digress.


So she came home to Chackbay and the next morning there was no hoarseness in her voice, which was a disappointment. But that was because the coughing wouldn’t allow her to scream loud enough. Which meant she was able to talk about the concert with her own child, Savannah, who is 10-years-old and loves to dance, but he didn’t want to come with her because – well, you know – but has indeed been exposed to the New Kids music. Living with April as her mom it can’t be helped.

“She loved the video snippets I took and couldn’t get over the confetti and streamers and how parts of the stage moved up and down,” April said. “She’s been calling me ‘New Kid Girl’ all day.”