In October 2015, three years after his band Scissor Sisters went on an indefinite hiatus, frontman Jake Shears bought a one-way ticket from his home in Los Angeles to New Orleans, where he worked on a bluesy new self-titled solo album. Shears, 39, had long fantasized about living in the Big Easy, but it was only after splitting with his partner of 11 years that he took the leap. Still, he insists the album isn’t a breakup record: “It’s very much about finding yourself,” he says. While getting acquainted with his new home, he fell in love again. Now, he says, the city “feels like a person to me.”
1. Drinks: The Phoenix.
“It’s kind of [the area’s] leather bar. There’s a big, dark room upstairs. There’s a sex shop in the back. There’s a great jukebox. It’s open 24 hours a day. It’s so old-school and a lot of fun.”
2. Dinner: Mimi’s.
“A neighborhood bar, really unassuming. But they serve incredible tapas. That’s my favorite spot for casual, quick, delicious food.”
3. Music Venue: One-Eyed Jacks.
“It’s this old theater [where] locals hang. I shot the video for [my single] ‘Creep City’ and played there. It’s got a great vibe.”
4. Inspirational Place: Crescent Park, on the Mississippi River.
“The last song [on my album is] ‘Mississippi Delta I’m Your Man.’ You don’t see the river in the city. When you step over the levee, you see New Orleans in a whole different way.”
5. Touristy Spot: Preservation Hall.
“It seats about 50 people. [The Jazz Band will] do 45-minute shows, about four a night. It’s life-affirming. The band did a lot of the horns on my record.”