my initial impressions
We got into New Orleans late last night. The plane was late getting out of Houston because they had “cargo on board that had to remain in Houston.” I shouted out to the plane, “Okay, who brought the drugs?” but no one answered. I calculated that staying on the ground for an hour and a half has cost us over thirty dollars in drinking and laughs. When the plane takes off they start offering drinks. Eric gets a beer and I order a white russian. The drinks are on the house… or plane. Whatever, they’re free.
It is at this moment that I realize I don’t really know how to make a White Russian. I pour too much vodka. Then I pour too much Kaluha. Then too much milk. By the time I get it right it’s time to hand the drink over because we are landing. Oh well.
Eric’s mom and brother pick us up at the airport and show us the rented red convertible. We hop in and drive around the very hot town.
We found a place to eat in the French Quarter called Poppy’s. We eat and then go to our room. Eric’s mom and brother have been joking with us that the place is very old and very New Orleans. We get there and find out that we are sleeping in the Louis Armstrong Suite of the bed and breakfast. There are cracks in the floor where you can see the room underneath you if their lights are on. I joke about lying on the floor and crooning “What a Wonderful World” to them while they sleep.
Today we’ve gotten up earlier and we plan on walking around and eating seafood. We stop at the market long enough for me to buy a hat. It becomes my best friend on the trip. It keeps my hair up and my head cool.
Two minutes in and a man has me by the shoulders while he is making balloon animals for me telling me that I’m too pretty to be single. He asks me if I would rent him by the hour. He said he gives good head. I tell him I’m taken, and then he grabs Eric and puts him in balloon handcuffs and makes me a balloon whip. He asks me if I still let him have sex with me even if he hasn’t given me a ring. He asks what kind of boy is he. I tell him he could ask his mother, who’s standing right there. He says he doesn’t give a fuck, and that my pussy should be more expensive. I give him five dollars and hope that we can leave quickly.
We walk another five feet when Charlotte is encountered by a man on the street who tells her that she’s having too much fun and he’ll have to get ten dollars from her. Somehow he gets ten dollars and she gets a hat. We are losing money quickly.
We find a restaurant where we’re told they are out of crawfish. I have very large shrimp. I see a cyber cafe across the street and think of you guys. We eat and discuss what we want to see while we are in town. We walk and walk and walk until we are very tired. The aquarium is too expensive. We can’t find the zoo. We find the riverwalk and it smells like horses. We can’t find any horses. It is very hot. We stop for a few drinks. We go through the guide book. I notice that New Orleans is very similar to Austin in terms of heat and the bars. I feel like I’m on Sixth Street. We went walking around again, and went to the Voodoo Museum tour. We watched a video on the history of voodoo. There was a section about Chicken Man who is known for biting the heads off of chickens in his rituals. He stopped doing that a few years ago because, according to him, “Chickens got tired.” We walk back to the bed and breakfast. We sleep for two hours. We go out for dinner and eat at a place called the Garlic Clove. There they tell me that crawfish are out of season and I won’t be able to get any while I’m here. I don’t give up, though. I order the garlic mussels. We eat garlic bread and roasted garlic. We can hardly stand out own breath.
We drive to the casinos. It is so hot that we just keep repeating, “Lawrdy, it’s hot,” in a lovely Tennessee Williams sort of drawl.
I can’t believe I lost eighty dollars in forty minutes. Kevin and I walk back over to find Eric, who is at the craps table. “Dad, we need money.” He hands me ten dollars.
“You kids keep playing your video games,” he says, and takes another sip of his drink. I smirk at him. He hands us another ten. I lose ten dollars in one minute. I hand the other ten back to Eric. We watch him until he starts losing, curses us as the kiss of death and then we walk away. We leave the casino. I have never been in a casino for only an hour in my entire life.
We take Eric’s mom back to her room and we go out to have fun on Bourbon Street. We find Pat O’Briens. We knew that we were supposed to go in here– everyone recommended it, but we didn’t know why. Once we found the piano bar, we were pretty sure this was the reason. Dueling pianos in a dark room hammered out requests while everyone sings and drinks hurricanes. When in Rome, right? We order hurricanes all around, and then we find a table in the back. The table next to us has a woman and a man both asleep on the table. We feel like we’re really in New Orleans.
I’m drinking this drink but I don’t really feel anything. In fact, I feel just fine. Hey, I’m gonna make a request. I can’t believe we’ve already heard “Piano Man” twice. They don’t seem to know my request. They don’t know “Too Darn Hot?” What’s up with that? I’ll try some of Eric’s drink. I’ll have this other drink that someone gave me. Drinks are fun.
The table next to us still has sleeping people on it. They’re sleepy. Funny sleepy people. The guy at the table next to them takes their full glass of hurricane and replaces it with his empty glass. That’s funny. Drinking is funny.
I sing “You Never Even Call Me By My Name” like I’ve been singing it since I was knee high to a grasshopper. I’m hot. I find the restroom, and I have to tip a woman to get a paper towel to dry my hands.
I sing like I’ve never sung before. I can sing. I sing good. I said something and Eric and Kevin laughed. I’m the funniest mother fucker alive. I’m soooo coool. Uh-oh! I think I spilled something. That’s funny, too. The guy playing the piano looks like “Just Jack!” Funny!
We’re leaving? So soon? We gotta go. Gotta go. Gotta go.
I’m still walking. New Orleans sure has a lot of puddles. Lots of little puddles with liquid I don’t know. Sometimes the puddles are chunky. Look out! Chunky puddle! Chunky puddle time!
No one else will dance like M.C. Hammer with me around the chunky puddle.
LAWRDY, IT’S HOT!
Is that a naked woman in front of me? What’s going on? It’s sure dark in here. What? Who? Where? Oh, I’m stepping around another chunky puddle. Some guy told Eric he knew where he got his shoes. Eric said he did too. The guy told him he could tell Eric what’s a henweigh. Eric laughed and moved me away. There’s the car!
I get in the bed but I can’t put my head down. The room keeps spinning and spinning and spinning. I ask Eric to help me. He brings me aspirin and some water. It’s no good. Too spinny. He walks me to the bathroom where we sit for a long time while I try and figure out what’s going on. I can’t stop feeling sick. He suggests that I should try and make myself sick. This never works for me though because– oh.
Hello red red hurricane. You smell like garlic. Garlicy rum. Chunky puddle time!
Hey, I feel better. I feel tired. I… Eric is so nice taking me back to bed. I flop my head down on my pillow and I think to myself, what a wonderful world.