It’s So EASY

I had the great privilege of travelling to New Orleans for work in the middle of last month. I say privilege because that is what I mean. I love New Orleans. The ramble that follows is an attempt to explicate all the ways and reasons why I LOVE New Orleans.

 

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This I Love

New Orleans (NO) doesn’t even try to pretend to be anything OTHER than what it is. The city may accuratley be described as–dark. Dirty. Dangerous. Desperate. Vibrant. Teeming. Cultured. Sweet. Sticky. Hot.  Beautiful. Comforting.

There is no pretense in New Orleans. The artiface is cracked, weathered-plain as day. The authenticity of NO is LONG standing, aged, eclectic, weathered-plain as day. The generic Vegas style neon lights of Bourbon Street hang from the archways of buildings that are hundreds of years old.

New Orleans stinks. Of rot. Decay. Sewage. Sweat. The river. The food. Flowers. It is also, hands down, the easiest place to breath that I have ever encountered. The air is moist. Wet, even. NO is slow and SLOWING. It’s fluid. Moving in NO is easy, it has to be. You can’t run. Just stretch. NO is languid. It’s easy to BE in NO.

Easy to be a fool. A woman. A body. A student. A novice. Present.

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Hurricane Party

 

NO East is fucked. The 9th Ward. Bernard Parish. They are all bankrupt. Katrina destroyed what was then the fastest growing (NO East) part of the city. Today there are hundreds of structures destroyed in Katrina that remain in exactly the fashion that they were left the day the storm passed. There is debris and clothing, rubble, rotted sand bags, vacated (and uncleaned) hospitals. From the French Quarter, just blocks from the tourist center of town to the City’s limits there are hundreds of buildings waiting to be torn down, reoccupied AND fuck-just plain answered for.

Some of my favorite artwork in NO is reflective of Katrina and NO as a whole. They put a lot of stock into where they live and it shows. In a straight NO vein Michalopolous is one of my favorites. In relationship to Katrina Terrance Osborne’s Hurricane Solution Series is STUNNING!

 

The Eats

 

This is how the eating went in NO. If you don’t like to eat, you suck. NO has the greatest food! For example, you know what they do with nusciance critters? They eat ’em! Nutria recipe, anyone? No, I am not making that shit up. Focus. This is the food in relative order of ingestion (some came with cocktails, it’s NO, duh.). I arrived on Sunday afternoon and Sunday evening’s meal consisted of Blackened Catfish and Sangria at the Red Fish Grill. Sunday night/Monday morning involved some greasy ass (i.e. perfect) ffrench fries from some corner store on Bourbon (No, I couldn’t tell you the name then or now).

Monday brunch was at Mother’s! Breakfast (for me) at Mother’s consisted of a “Breakfast Biscuit and grits w/butter. The w/butter is a bit of an overstatemet everything at Mother’s comes w/butter. The shit will KILL you but GOD is it worth it!! Not incidently, it was outside of Mother’s that I got caught in a torrential down pour wearing ALL white! Perfect. Dinner on Monday was at Pierre Maspero’s down near Jackson Square. Chicken and andouille sausage gumbo as a starter and Blackened Chicken pasta with a mojito for a main course.

Jackson Square

Jackson Square

 

Tuesday morning I spent in the swamps!!! Guess where I got the Nutria recipes???? Monday afternoon I had a late lunch, Muffuletta sandwich at the River’s Edge at Jackson Square. I HATE olives but when in Rome, er,…uh NO. Alas, my final meal in NO on this trip was at Lil’ Dizzy’s Cafe and consisted of fried chicken (ranked second best in the city but they assured the vote had been rigged by the winner), mac & cheese and pecan pie. Duh.

 

And the Band Played On

 

Not sure why I ever think I need to go to NO with a plan. I am not in charge. I thought I had a musical plan for this adventure but I was wrong. There was music. In NO there is ALWAYS music. Hit a couple of local record shops. I love vinyl. So does Peaches and The Louisianna Music Factory.

On Sunday night I found myself club hopping on Bourbon with some coworkers which while ordinarily not my scene was interesting because the plan was to take in as many kinds of music as was possible in a single evening on Bourbon St. (presumably while one is still able to stand). Live music abounds on the street and in the clubs, some of which sucked, most of which didn’t. We managed to take in techno w/ accompanying DJ AND a live band. I have never heard Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing quite like that (Oh, yeah, NO really really digs Journey.). Then there was the blues club. R&B, the singer was from Switserland or some shit (blond, blue eyed, NORDIC for sure) and belting out Aretha. FTW? The ROCK band (thought I wouldn’t?). Then  the Country club, no, I’ll pass on the bull riding kids, you go right ahead. It was not a bad haul for a single evening.

On Monday night I got the chance to catch the 726 Jazz Band at Preservation Hall. Mostly, I just wanted to see a performance at the Hall.  But, then it was the end of the third set and I had stayed the whole show. They were fantastic. I love jazz. I love NO style jazz. And Preservation Hall ranks up there with Snug Harbor as favorite venues in NO goes.

So there you have it. Any number of reasons why I love NO. Well, except the swamp details. That will get it’s own post. Oh, and one final reason…

 

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They build their houses in the sky BECAUSE it’s practical.

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