Monday, May 11, 2009

New Orleans, LA: In the Footsteps of Ignatius J. Reilly

It could be a symptom of a larger problem (restlessness in SF) but I was quickly and easily seduced by the Crescent City during my visit to see Diné last weekend. I could really see myself having a good life in NOLA. The PROS: you can wear a wig anytime and no one bothers you about it; no open container laws; all kinds of creative activity and juicy characters; DEE DEE; Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager; lower cost of living; the city is haunted! The CONS: no kombucha; few unions (few union jobs); I look really fugly in humid weather; this yanki intimidated (or freaked out) by the South; the city is haunted! Nonetheless, don't think I haven't already started creeping on unionjobs.com and nursing programs in the area.

But back to zee main event!:
Dee Dee picked me up and we drove straight to a drive-thru daiquiri bar near the airport. If you ever find yourself at this establishment I do not recommend investigating the frozen drink machines. You will find that a "Sex on the Beach" is a lot less sexy when you see that it was made in an a rusting second hand Slurpee machine glazed with syrup and horse flies. Perhaps the health department does not make the trek to Kenner. We put that horror behind us and drank them on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Diné gave me a driving tour of the formerly flooded and still recovering Florida neighborhood and I saw THE levee (it isn't tall at all!). We rested briefly at the charming home of my hostess in the Bywater neighborhood then ate some local fare nearby at 13 Restaurant on Frenchmen Street in Marigny. I was really struck by the beauty in the ancientness of the architecture on our walk from home to dinner. I was often overcome with the feeling that I was walking among modern ruins.

We continued on to the obviously Soviet-themed Pravada where the bartender preceded to heckle me and treat Diné to free drinks. The nerve! Luckily, Sarah, Raf, Michelle, Kat, and the rest of their 15-deep crowd came to the rescue. We stuck around for the bit then spent the next hours boogieing in the packed streets to live Brass music. This level of ruckus is not a scene you would encounter in NYC or even in San Francisco primarily because the cops would be all over everyone and their mother before you could crack that second can of Steele Reserve. Not the case in this town. At some point towards the end of the night we met up with Dee Dee's friend Davitt and went to Mimi's until we were too haggard to remember how we arrived in our beds the next day.

Saturday morning got off to a slow stop but we eventually met Davitt for coffee and a snack at Coffea. We took a stroll around the Bywater and stumbled into Dr. Bob's expansive indoor/outdoor art studio. He is certainly a colorful character and I think I learned a lot about the city and its people after 45 min of his storytelling. We declined a share of Dr. Bob's "water weed" and continued to the French Quarter. Here Diné bought a hubba hubba dress at Trashy Diva. We then stuffed our haggard faces with beignets from Cafe Du Mode on the bank of the Mississippi River. The search continued for good juju but everything at the voodoo store seemed too in authentic to buy. Eventually we made it back to Burgundy Street to rest, freshen up, and wig up for the evening. We met some of Diné's pals for drinks in Mid City then came back downtown to attend a birthday gathering at Always Lounge, still burnt out from the night before.

We began Sunday morning with homemade smoothies then headed in time to Mid City to friend Catherine's house en route to JazzFest. JazzFest - whoa - human and humidity overload. Not to mention that we were both wearing sizable wigs, which were not popular with an aggressive crowd of boomer Neil Young fans. We stayed for some songs (regrettably not Southern Man; regrettably missing Ariana and Allegra), ate crawfish bread, ate pasta Monica, then left before the thunderstorm.

Diné's colleague from work and his friend rescued us and took us to the closing night of drag queen Varla Jean Merman and the Mushroom Heads! at the sparkling Chat Noir Cabaret in the Warehouse District. The show was truly entertaining. I did not feel my ADD itching once throughout the multimedia and fantastically costumed performance. I was however VERY jealous of the costumes - they fit like a glove! The four of us then dined back in the Bywater at the Country Club (a must visit - perhaps worth moving here for this glamor alone). We rounded off the night first at Markey's and then to Saturn Bar for NOISEFEST, which was indeed very noisy.

Just as we were about to hit the hay at 1am I checked my itinerary and learned that my flight was at 5:15am and not 8:30am. It was a real #fml work day for the both of us!


If you read the fine print you will see that JaxDax features a drink called "Sexual Harassment"


Dax on Lake Pontchartrain


site of Levy Pants from aCoD; Chez Dee Dee


Dee Dee and Raf; Cornell in NOLA


street Brass party




Dee Dee and Davitt @ Coffea


Bywater stroll


Dr. Bob and his art studio




beignets @ Cafe Du Monde


Ruby's first introduction to the Mississippi; blossoming honey suckle everywhere..and..err.lawn jockey


Mid City;"burritos" on Frenchmen


Jazzfest is all about the food


and also zee wigs; Neil Young

2 comments:

allegra said...

realllly sad that i missed your experiences in my land! i am very depressed to leave...in 2 weeks. i really want to move back and i absoluetly agree that you would love it here! celine is going to tulane so i plan to viist during all of my breaks. i would love to get the whole gang together to visit. wouldnt that be a hooot?

Ruby Fuerza AKA Lucille Brawl said...

IT WOULD BE A HOOT ---> LET DO IT!! (fall or winter? NEW YEARS?!)