Monday, August 2, 2010

More on New Orleans

Okay, Chelle is off to her conference for a bit, so I'm able to take a minute to catch you up. First, it has been unbearably hot and muggy. We were watching the local news last night, and apparently yesterday's temperature of 100 degrees set this summer's all-time high for New Orleans to date. Even the shop owners are cackling at the tourists walking down the sunny sides of the street. "Why don't they at least walk in the shade?!" giggled a man behind a counter to us today. "Dunno," we shrugged. The good thing about the "to go" cups is that I was carrying club soda with lime around all day. Everyone can think I'm drinking vodka tonics all day long if they like, but I'm just staying hydrated.

We found Queen Doreen Ketchens again today and I picked up one of her CDs and we chatted with her a bit. Turns out she and her band traveled to California this past year to see if they'd have any luck in the music biz, but they weren't in the right places. Sacramento and Modesto aren't exactly known for their music scenes, and they were regretting not trying North Beach in San Francisco. I was telling a friend today that really there doesn't seem to be the audience for her brand of jazz that there is for country music, rock, pop, and the like. They are really good, but they do a lot of improvisation and to so many ears, that sounds like utter discord. It's most exciting to hear live. Well, I wish her and the band a lot of luck. One of these days ... but until then, they'll be entertaining tourists on the streets of the French Quarter.

We made it down to Cafe du Monde this morning but it was so hot and humid I passed on the coffee with chicory and went for a frozen cafe au lait instead. The beignets were everything everyone raves about, with a ton of powered sugar dumped over top, as you can see in the photo above. I tapped each doughnut before taking a bite. My mouth was still covered; I looked like a very messy cokehead.

It wasn't peak temps yet, so we hopped in one of the carriages in front of Jackson Square (named for Andrew Jackson; statue to the left) and tooled around the French Quarter with the sassiest tour guide ever. She quickly sized us up as a gay couple and showed us all the gay bars. I made friends with the mule, Bullwinkle, and afterwards we tipped her extra to get Bullwinkle a treat. She handed us a banana to give to him. That was a trip. Who knew mules like the whole thing, including the peel? He hoovered the whole banana right out of my hand and stood there gumming it for a while before swallowing it. Here is a pic of the two of us, with him looking a mite bored.

After all this, it was too hot to make it over to the St. Louis Cemetery as we'd planned, so we strolled around a bit and checked out some of the voodoo shops. Funniest charm ever: if you're being sued, get the "Make Other Lawyer Stupid" doll. And don't touch the altar; it's bad luck, even if there are saints candles all over it.

Tonight it'll be dinner at Red Fish Grill and chillin' in the air conditioning here in our room. I'm making my way through a book about the St. Louis Cemetery and learning no end of fascinating geeky crap no one cares about but me. Like, Plessy of the famous Plessy v. Ferguson trial is buried there. And the tombs are above ground for the obvious reason that you can't exactly bury anybody around here when the city is below sea level. The famous Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, Marie Laveau, is buried there, too... or so they think; it might be her daughter. They move dem bones around. But more on this later (I hope).

I forgot I video recorded just a teeny bit of the Jazz Brunch here at Le Pavillon on Sunday, so here's a quick snippet of the grandeur of that. I posted on Facebook that everybody in that room except me was drinking a mimosa. This is a tough part of town for a recovering alcoholic. Even the pecan pie turned out to be bourbon pecan pie. Oops.

(No worries; I had only one bite.)

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