Saturday, October 4, 2014

Doin' the NOLA 9

Hajnalka told me to add that she was at my side every step of the way, just so you know.

Landed at MSY.
Shuttled to FrQuarter.
Hiked through Bywater.
Swallowed Scotch on Bourbon.
Hoofed it downtown.
Cabbed it home.
Slept like baby.

The Saenger marquee shouted down Rampart
CHICAGO in big black block letters
As the St. Charles streetcar clanged
Louder for my attention, but still
I asked the ticket hawk, "the Band?"
"Naw, dawg, da Musicool. We got plenny bannareddy."

Walked St. Claude from the Bywater,
Two, maybe three miles to Bourbon
Passing lots of lots and lots of ramshackles with blown gutters.
Passed Meatshops, Family Dollar, Mickey D's
(Free coffee all this week only!) How'd he know I was coming?
Eschewed the RTA #88, being daylight and all.
Sticky hot daylight.
Passed a poorfolk's Parish Medical Office,
Covenant House and a ray of sunshine--
Louis Armstrong's Archway entrance to Louis Armstrong Park.
A few feet from a 12-foot-tall statue of Satchmo
I booked a ride from a United Cabbie.
"Next Tuesday at 11am, right? $33 to Louis Armstrong Airport, right?
You got my number, right? You got my address, right?"
"Yeah, man, be cool. I be willin' if y'all be willin'. Dis N'Orleans not N'Yawk!"

Caught "Kid" Merv and--his?--quartet while
Parked on the coolest green metal bench. I'd
Return to this bench every morning at 10:30am
Every evening at 6:00pm.
The homeless guys got to know my schedule and
Stretched on adjacent benches. As if they knew
Their place was now my place. San Fran without the hills.
And Philly, and Baltimore, and Washington, and New York,
And Providence, and Hartford, and L.A.
Saw none at Gettysburg or Quebec.
Maybe I just wasn't looking hard enough.

Walked Magazine, five, maybe six miles--
Checking out the 30-room mansions in the
Garden District. 25-cent Martinis at the
Commander's Palace. Ate roast stuffed quail,
Had Brandied Bread Pudding with my 2nd Martini.
Strolled the Cemetery across the street on Washington
Trying to come down off a high-flying lunch.
(It would take 5 hours).
Trolleyed back Mississippi-side. Aren't the days
Getting hotter, longer? I'm getting thinner, but eating like
A pig and drinking like a whale.
Book passage while on the Riverwalk for the Natchez
Sunday Brunch Cruise with the Dixieland Band.
It has to be done once in every life, no?
Got gumbo?

No rain all week. But there was at odd moments

Guilty as charged: The conspicuous consumption of Andouille Sausage,
Alligator Sausage, Boudin, Etouffee, Crawfish File Gumbo,
Shrimp Creole, Red Rice and Beans, a Central Grocery Muffaletta,
A Johnny's Po'Boy, 8 dozen oysters (only 3-dozen were grilled
With Butter, Oregano, and Garlic), Beignets, and a liter and a half of 100 Pipers Scotch
Sucked through a catheter hanging from my backpack while hiking the Quarter.
No room yet for more Sazerac, Brews and Hurricanes--
Caught the NCIS New Orleans crew shooting a Halloween scene.
Glad I set my DVR! Missing Person of Interest, The Blacklist, and ModPo!
Copped my green bench at 6:00pm to hear "Kid" Merv blow some riffs.
Great listening. Eyeballed the tourist parade. What a friggin' plug-ugly
Nation we live in. (Me with only 3 teeth talkin'.)
Shiver my timbers mate,
There goes a Dude in a Jean Lafitte outfit, rapier and all.
And get a load of that slavegirl with him!
Who let them off of Bourbon Street?
I cannot describe Bourbon Street in less than 1,001 nights.

Rained today until noon. Boarded the Natchez. Don't eat the Ham.
Had 3 refills of the fruit salad and a Bloody Mary.
Tossed a fin to the Band to play St. James Infirmary, thought
I might need it after the brunch buffet.
Thought about Mark Twain while looking at the oil refineries,
And smelling gasoline as we churned up (could have been down)
The Mississippi. Twain liked living in Connecticut.
My favorite Yankee. God, it's friggin' humid here.
Just so you know, Long Island Iced Tea packs more punch
Than the Pat O'Brien Hurricane.
The rain tapers off and I stroll the Quarter. Check out Frenchman,
Royal, Chartres for the 3rd time. Bourbon for the fifth! No pun, really.
Did I tell you about the oysters at the Blind Pelican on St. Charles and Euterpe?
$3 a dozen during happy hour. Swear to God! But you gotta buy a beer.
Heard two concerts this week:
The U.S. Marine Band performing at St. Louis Cathedral, and
The Rhythm, Blues and Soul Concert at Louis Armstrong Park.
Two of the best concerts I've ever attended. And both free!
Bought some spices at the French Market to experiment
When I get home, because I nailed a 103-year-old Housekeeper's
Cajun and Creole Cookbook (the cookbook yo!) with more
Than 1,000 original home recipes at an Estate Sale
In the Garden District. Price $1.00. Lovin' it!
The coffee is free through September 29. Ain't life beautiful?

One more day. Home tomorrow night.
My heart beats furiously as I play with my maroon
Beaded necklace and stir the mint leaf in my Sazerac with my tanned finger.
Although I'm toast I leg the 10 or so miles to Tulane by way of Loyola.
Through Audubon Park, the closed Zoo, and back 10 miles down Magazine Street
To the Red Trolley back to my Green Bench.
I slip my last fin to "Kid" Merv and the gang as they play "When the Saints..."
I hug him good-bye and tell him to look me up when he gets to New York. He
Smiles and lights a Lark.
I picked up a Round Loaf of Herb and Garlic Bread at a fancy
French Bakery in The Garden District.
In the Quarter I slip into a crowded deli-cum-liquor store
And a slicer guy who looks smashed thin-slices me a quarter of
Mortadella, Genoa, and Provolone, he's got no Cappiocola,
So I pass on the ham (visions of the Natchez Dance in my head).
These victuals are my economy meal for my return Delta flight.
Saw a lot of statues, besides the ones at the Art Museum in New Orleans City Park.
Saw General Beauregard, Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Satchmo.
A statue to honor Immigrants.
New Orleans is a great walking city and I did it justice.
I'm glad I was able to do it.
Warts and all, pound for pound, it warn't half bad.

Gone, man, gone. And, oh yeah--
Don't forget, Hajni was at my side every step of the way. Just so you know.

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