New Orleans Lost
I personally am in mourning as I peruse over the pictures of the near complete destruction of my favorite city in the United States at the hands of hurricane Katrina. My thoughts are with those still in peril at this time and I hope against hope that they are rescued and reunited with their loved ones as soon as humanly possible. For those of you that have never been there, I offer my condolences to you as you have missed witnessing one of the preeminent party destinations of the Western Hemisphere. The entire city thrives on this insane over-indulgence of every vice imaginable and acts so base that they are not even discussed behind closed doors in most other areas of the US seem to be routinely performed on the streets of the Big Easy during Mardis Gras. It is an incredibly twisted place, and I would not have it any other way. In tribute to this Principality of Pandemonium, I am offering ten things that I find absolutely awesome about The City on the Bayou:
There has just been nothing like it since the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah. Except maybe the White House under the Clinton administration.
The French Quarter.
Sleazy, breezy and unlike any other entertainment district anywhere else. Not for the hopelessly homophobic though. When I first heard the French Quarter flooded, I was initially devastated but could not help but smile at the vision that popped into my head of hundreds of transvestite drag queens trying to swim through the storm surge to Baton Rouge wearing nothing but fabulous make-up, French ticklers and Spongebob Squarepants water wings.
Tasty, exotic, unique and fiery, Cajun delicacies rank among my top three favorite regional cuisines (following the Thai and French schools of food preparation). New Orleans is one of the places where I trust the food so much that I did not even think twice about sucking the entrails out of a boiled crustacean head just because a local suggested it (I’ve since made a habit of that and highly recommend it). The spicier Cajun delicacies can also bestow upon those who regularly enjoy it a renewed ability at emergency improvisation, a fact that anyone who has been forced to use orange sherbet in lieu of hotel toilet paper can readily attest to.
Harry Connick Jr.
The music is great and has helped me “close” many a deal in my time. I hope you got out of there, buddy.
Lax Attitudes Towards Public Nudity
An old navy buddy of mine was five foot, one inch tall, weighed over two hundred pounds and looked like a hairless Shar-Pei disfigured by spinal bifida. At the height of Mardis Gras, he had thrown up on himself and passed out in the restroom where we suspect some of the more mean-spirited revelers decided to use him as a human urinal. He regained consciousness as he was being lead out the door of the establishment and, after offering some resistance, suffered a minor beating. We followed him back to the hotel from a distance to make sure he got there safely, but we did not actually want to be seen with him. He was a pitiful sight, stumbling down the sidewalk incredibly intoxicated, clothes disheveled, soiled with his own vomit, reeking of stale urine and crying his eyes out as if his mother just died. Then he suddenly stopped, took a hand full of bead necklaces off from around his neck and thrust them towards a striking blonde girl passing by while yelling, “SHOW ME YOUR TITS!” To our utter astonishment, she lifted up her shirt, thrust her breasts towards our friend and gave them a hardy jiggle before reaching out and taking the beads from him. Essentially our buddy, while covered in his own regurgitated waste (and, allegedly, the waste of others), incomprehensibly intoxicated and in a state of mental anguish that looked like the larval stages of a complete mental breakdown, managed to do with a gaudy 25 cent necklace what he could not accomplish anywhere else in the country while cleaned up, sober and brandishing a loaded revolver.
The New Orleans Police Department
It is hard to find that level of integrity, honesty, professionalism and dedication to the preservation of law and order inside of a police department since the Medellin cocaine cartel’s Pablo Escobar lost his grip on the Colombian government in the late 1980’s. It is much easier to let all of your inhibitions go in the midst of a massive street celebration when you know you can easily bribe your way out of whatever fun you get into.
New Orleans is one of the few places in America where you can try to help a lost foreigner, pantomime directions in a futile attempt to break the language barrier and try in vain to figure out where the poor soul is visiting from before eventually finding out that not only was this “foreigner” born in the United States, he is apparently also speaking English and thought that YOU were the one that was lost.
I challenge you to find another place outside of the ruins of ancient Greece where urban blight is THAT picturesque.
Not a sex symbol of the classic sense but I have to admit that something about that Goth bondage look on a geriatric dominatrix drives me absolutely wild in a very uncomfortable and secret way.
Or more accurately, the explicit, alcohol-induced lack thereof. I wish I had more of them, since from what I have seen the disaster that has struck may have been big enough to permanently alter the character of that great city forever. I really hope that I am wrong on this point and that my opinion has been formed based upon the over-sensationalized way the media covers everything else in this country, but somehow I don’t think I am this time. I have a feeling that if I am wrong, it is going to be the people of New Orleans that prove me so by picking up the broken buildings, mopping up the surge sludge, opening up the bars, firing up the restaurants, warming up their instruments and suddenly announcing that the 2006 Mardis Gras will go on as planned like none of this had ever happened. I think that to be highly unlikely but if there is a kind of people crazy enough to do something like this, it’s those lunatics living in The Big Easy. I hope that they know how hard the dry part of The United States is rooting for them.