I know our moms don’t wanna’ hear about us drinking, but hey it’s New Orleans! We met our friend Daniel in the French quarter, then went to Bourbon Street, and started drinking. Ah the freedom of open containers! We started street drinkin’…sweet drinkin’ right away. I started the night off with a whiskey- ginger ale, Ashley a cheap beer, and David a piece of pizza and a high life. The smells of New Orleans are very interesting. One second you smell delicious beignet pastries, the next- horse poop, one second-jasmine, the next-vomit, magnolia trees then stale beer. I think that this stands as an analogy for the city. There is so much good here but also so much bad. Wonderful music, but good music often comes out of years of oppression as an uplifting escape from the colonizer. Seeing the tourist sections of town filled with hundreds of thousands of dollars of worth of antiques and art and then seeing a place like the ninth ward where things have not been repaired seven years after Hurricane Katrina is devastating. New Orleans filled my heart with joy and sorrow all at the same time. I am seriously considering moving back to a place like New Orleans to find policy work after graduate school now. Then I can work and have music too! J
We went from jukebox to jukebox the rest of the night. Jukeboxes in New Orleans are so weird; you got Bessie Smith next to Hall and Oats next to Kenny Chesney. We ended up at Checkpoint Charley’s, finally drunk enough to sing in the street where we met Doctor Love (whom played broom guitar), and Conan (Alfalfa from the little Rascals if he hadn’t killed himself and instead become a painter of dancing skeletons). Conan played harmonica but only in G, so Ashley and I played all of our G songs. He had a court date at nine a.m. so we could only hang out and drink with him until seven a.m. As long as he had time to go home and brush his teeth I suppose. When we told Doctor Love that we were from Gainesville, he said “those people would tie me up.” That made me sad that he thinks Gainesville is full of hate mongers. Gainesville is so unfriendly to homeless people, and apparently they know it all over the country. He had a feather in his hat for each cardinal direction, and I’ll tell you, played a mean broom guitar.
We ended up at our last bar of the night around seven a.m. to be greeted by a smile-less, ornery bartender whom looked as though she belonged more in a library than a bar, and other patrons just getting off work and needing to relax. This is truly a city that never sleeps. We met an old black man named Singleton who was less than friendly to us. It took some warming up and a very large shot of whiskey to get him to talk with us. I was attempting to utilize my ethnographical skills as an anthropologist and eventually he warmed up and basically told me his whole life story. Well, at least some of it. He told me about his three daughters and kept saying “I have daughters older than you” all night. He also said that he thought I was 'giving him the eyes.' Which I was not!!! After hours of talking I can only remember now that the love of his life died from cancer and that he impregnated an exotic dancer and had no idea until a beautiful sixteen year old came into where he worked and said “I think you are my dad.” He cried.
Finally at eight a.m. we headed to the continental breakfast at our hotel. We attempted to play banjo for the breakfast patrons to no avail because we were too drunk. I woke up pretty embarrassed about that but hey, I’ll never see them again! We slept pretty late but then got up Thursday to start the whole thing over again. We were all so hung over that the first thing we needed was food! We all shared a muffaletta sandwich and I had some bomb beans and rice. Went to a voodoo store, saw a Jesus key chain, thought of Kenny. Saw a Joan of Arc statue, thought of Chelsea. Saw a giant loom, thought of Brie. Ashley and I went busking (moms-do you know that word? It means performing music on the street for tips), but New Orleans is in the major off-season so there were hardly any people there at all but we did make about fifty bucks before I got bored and wanted to see the casino. Our friend Daniel said that a female friend of his makes up to $1000 a day busking during peak season in Spring. David and I wasted ten dollars each at the casino and then forced ourselves to leave before we spent anymore money. We really went there because we wanted to eat a ridiculous buffet. The buffet was a huge pirate ship but alas there was no food on it since it was like two in the morning on a Thursday night so we ended up getting gyros and passing out knowing we had a long trip in the morning.
After two days in New Orleans, we are on our way through Texas. We have decided to just get to Olympia as soon as we can, because even though there is so much to see, we don’t wanna’ run out of money and be homeless when we get there. J Man I love this city, New Orleans that is…so much in love, that I couldn’t update this blog until I’m leaving the city. This was my first visit to New Orleans and I highly recommend it to anyone that loves drinking, music, and dancing! Next real stop is Albequerque but we will probably sleep tonight somewhere just past Dallas. The kitties are doing fine in the car. They just sleep the day away. David and I are thrilled about that. There’s probably not too much exciting adventures to be found in the state of Texas. I wanna’ get outta’ here asap. It’s weird, all you guys usually text me. I haven’t gotten any calls or texts in two days but I guess it’s because you guys are not calling us to hang out, but I miss you. Man, I miss playing pool at Nelly’s already. Play a game for me guys! We love you Gainesville. <3>