07 January 2005

New Orleans

Back to reality, but feeling pretty wrung out. I arrived in Tallahassee on Monday, but did not go back to work until Wednesday because of a cold I had picked up in New Orleans. Hopefully I'll get to see some people this weekend and feel more at home.

Adam and I had a pleasant, but otherwise uneventful trip to New Orleans. We took the scenic route from Houston on New Year's Eve, driving along the coast of Louisiana's Highway 82. We stopped for a beer in Cameron, the went up to Intercoastal City, just to see what Intercoastal City looked like and maybe have another beer there. We saw a Halliburton sign and got the hell out. We thought about having a beer in Abbeville, but decided to crack on for New Orleans, as I seemed to recall they had beer there.

We had dinner at the Brewhouse, then went to check on our friend, John Burris, who works as a Lucky Dog vendor. Burris was an FSU student that Adam had taken to Mardi Gras about ten years ago. Burris wound up packing his bags and moving there, working any odd job he could find and staying in damp cellars and drafty attics, or trashed apartments that combine both features. I was pleased when he started working for Lucky Dog, as it gave him a more stable job with some cultural significance. It fits well for his chosen lifestyle, which is to work long hours for days and weeks at a time until he saves up enough for a vacation. He'll spend a month or two in Europe or South America until his money runs out, then comes back and repeats the whole process.

In the novel A Confederacy of Dunces, the main character, Ignatius, works for a time as a hot dog vendor. In 1998, the Lucky Dog manager, Jerry Strahan, wrote a book called Managing Ignatius, and told about the various burn-outs and transients that he has employed over the years. This year Adam and I got our own peek behind the magic of Lucky Dog. New Year's Eve is one of John's busier nights, and when we dropped by to see him, he asked if we could run by and get some supplies for him. I thought we were just dropping off a request, and someone would deliver them later, but we were put to work. Unfortunately, the lady working at Lucky Dog did not realize we were gentlemen volunteers, and did not have any patience for anyone who did not know the system. We left with a shopping cart filled with hot dogs and condiments, and a large box of buns precariously balanced on top. We then had to navigate through the crowded French Quarter. Adam pushed from behind, and I was in front guiding us around potholes and people while Adam made constant demands that we go faster and keep the cart level. It's amazing how people who see you coming and know what you are trying to do will still not get out of the way. We arrived without any serious mishap, but John was amused that the box of buns had ripped and wondered how we managed to do that. "We don't know what we're doing!" was our reply.

We hung out with John for awhile, then went to the Cathedral for the countdown. There were supposed to be some fireworks, but it was too foggy to see anything. The vampires were insufferable. More bar hopping. I am more than happy to just relax in some place like Jean LaFitte's, but Adam likes to go from place to place as quickly as possible.

The days were spent in Adam's car as we cruised through neighbourhoods looking for something to buy or rent when he moves here later this year. I have learned quite a bit about New Orleans and its various neighbourhoods, but it will all be forgotten if it takes me another three years to get back. I had hoped to pick up a few souvenirs for the babies at O'Flaherty's, but we never made it back in time. We started out the next night at Molly's at the Market, where they were raising money for the tsunami victims. We checked in with Burris again after eating. Fortunately, it was a slow night for him and he didn't need anything. The New Years crowd was giving way to the Auburn-Virginia Tech. crowd, and Bourbon street was getting really obnoxious. We went into another Molly's, supposedly a locals hang-out, but it was flooded with Longhorns. For some reason, I expected better from the Texans . . . oh well. One obnoxious crowd was exchanged for another when we went next door to the Dungeon, a goth hangout. My patience was severely tested by the blaring death metal and necrophiliac artwork. Then four extremely large goths came onto the dance floor and did this wild flailing dance designed to look like they were ripping each other apart. Across from me was an otherwise perfectly normal looking grandmotherly type watching the entire proceedings with a very unnerving grin.

We finished the night at O'Flaherty's and went back to the hotel. We had given Burris our spare key so he could come in and crash after work. I awoke sometime in the early morning to hear Adam in the other room complaining about Burris' snoring. The snoring did not disturb me, but Adam's complaining did, then they both started giggling about it. We did manage to get up in time for check out, then spent another day touring the city. I liked the Algiers district best, and would probably settle there if I had the means, and were willing to move to New Orleans. Adam dropped me at the train station, and headed off back to Houston.

So that was my big trip for the year. I'll probably be in Houston again in March to meet some relatives from California who were interested in the family research I had done. I imagine I will be snapping at any opportunity to get out of Tallahassee for awhile.

No comments: