i amy have eaten a river rat
I had wanted to go to Cafe Du Monde for cafe au lait and beignets. The line was around the corner. We parked and walked until we found Cafe Beignet. That was good enough for us. I liked them a lot. Beignets taste a lot like funnel cakes. They are fried dough with powdered sugar on top. I asked for some honey to put on them. This was unheard of and no one seemed to think it was a good idea. I think I’ve just created the new New Orleans rage.
We got back to the hotel because it was time for our Swamp Tour. We were picked up in a van and driven around for a cemetery and garden district tour. We stopped at Anne Rice’s house/mansion, where we saw Anne Rice playing with her dog in the backyard. We stopped in front of a cemetery, and learned how people are stacked in these above ground mausoleums. Once on the boat we were taken to Miss Mary’s house on the swamp for lunch. This was the selling point for us on this tour. We were told that Miss Mary lived on the swamp her whole life. We wondered what she looked like, what she was going to talk about, what she was going to feed us. We were very excited to meet her. I pictured this large black woman with a big warm apron spooning out plates of food, calling me “Chile” and sitting down to tell us the neighborhood swamp gossip.
When we arrived, we were at a very different Miss Mary’s house. Miss Mary was not in. It was her sister Earline. She was a very small white woman, and her house was distinctly Baptist. We had a plate of red beans, rice and sausage while we listened to her talk about her family’s history. We saw pictures and heard about all of the people in her family, including her twin brother Earl. I was not at the table the time she admonished us for eating the pickles out of the bowl. “Use the fork, that’s what I put it there for.”
Afterwards we were encouraged to walk around the house and see all of the news clippings she had put out for us about her family. Apparently her father was a trapper on the swamp. He made his claim to fame by trapping and selling nutria for food. There was a quiet moment between me and Eric where we wondered what exactly was in the red beans and rice.
We went to the backyard where Earline called out all of Miss Mary’s peacocks and peahens. They all stared at us and there was much picture taking. We got back on the boat where I heard someone say, “What were those birds again?” and I wondered how exactly you go through life never hearing of peacocks.
Our tour guide had a bit of a sense of humor. Our tour started with a selection of wasp nests. They would just pour out of the nests and start buzzing over to us. He’d have to stop the boat and kill them because we were screeching and running from one side of the boat to another. The wasps weren’t mentioned on the brochure.
“Here comes an alligator,” he said, and started throwing marshmallows over the side of the boat. “Yeah, he knows Mr. Marshmallow Man come down here, he come to get him some marshmallows from Mr. Marshmallow man.” The alligator just ate the marshmallows and then left. He wasn’t too threatening. We saw the rest of the tour sans killer animals and got back to the shore. Once we got on the van it started raining, and we headed back home.
We headed down to Bourbon Street to check out the Saturday night action. We went to show Charlotte Pat O’ Brien’s and the place was packed. We got a table. Once again they wouldn’t do “Too Darn Hot.” I wrote a request for “All that Jazz” for the woman who looked like Velma Kelly. She called me over and said that she knew “Too Darn Hot” but she wasn’t allowed to do it for some reason. She said that she’d do “All that Jazz” when she got back from her break. “It’s my favorite song,” she said. “You know I played Velma Kelly once. I’m not a piano player by choice.”
She wasn’t kidding about liking “All that Jazz.” She played the whole song. Usually they just do a couple of verses. We were very happy. I sipped everyone else’s Hurricanes and then had a couple of Amaretto Sours. Eric tried a Mint Julep. Lawrdy.
We ate on a balcony restaurant where I finally got my crawfish. We had some beers and went down to walk around the street, which was quickly filling up. I couldn’t believe how many children were walking around with their parents. Men asked to see my tits, and weren’t satisfied with the small peek of cleavage I showed, so I didn’t get any beads. Eric and Kevin caught beads from some strippers. We walked up one way and down the other and took a cab back. We sat around trying to figure out what we wanted to do with the limited amount of money we had left. Eric, Kevin and I went to a bar around the corner. The R bar was a nice little place with a jukebox and a pool table. The boys played pool while I talked with whichever one was not in the game. I looked around when Eric went to the jukebox.
“Hey, I’m not positive,” I whispered to him when he got back, “but I think this is a gay bar.”
He looked around. “Hey, I think you’re right.”
Once the men next to us started putting their hands in each other’s pants and pulled themselves into the nearby restroom, we were pretty sure. The jukebox was very good and we had a great time sitting around talking. Eric went into pool mode and wasn’t talking to much to us. Kevin and I talked about what we plan on doing for the next few years, and about what we hoped would happen. I mentioned to him how I get sad whenever I say goodbye to him and his mother because I always hope it isn’t the last time I see him. He told me not to worry.
It was getting later and later and our flight the next morning was at seven. This meant we had to leave around six to make it to the airport on time.
“Let’s just stay up all night,” Eric suggested.
We opted for breakfast, followed by a crawling into the room around four-forty five. We slept for an hour and then got up and packed. Four very groggy people drove to the airport. We said our goodbyes, and I was a very weepy soul for the airport the next morning.