Easy Does It

7 Sep

I honestly don’t remember my first visit to New Orleans. I drank too many White Russians (we called them Lebowski’s back in college) and I got nauseous and passed out on the second floor railing of Tipitina’s. I can tell you that the band Moe played, but I could not tell you a single song they played. I remember when the show started and I remember my buddies tapping me on the show, telling me it was time to leave. We got in the jeep and we drove to baton Rouge. End of story.

I had every intention of going back sooner than later, but then Katrina hit, the levees broke(?)
and I had moved to the other side of the continent.

Well I finally had a reason to go back. And I’m glad I did. I like this town. It reminds me of Galveston but on steroids. East Austin during South by Southwest resembles a toothless NOLA. It just doesn’t have the edge this place does. ATX wishes it could be this weird. Sure there are tons of bros and hipsters here, but on every corner of every block is a vague reminder of the things Juvenile, Lil Wayne, and Master P rapped about in the late 90’s.

The grittiness cannot be ignored and making this trip makes me want to watch that show Treme. I can understand why David Simon came down here to film.

Early impressions:

This guy

Definitely some dime pieces down here, seems like every girl is inked up in some way. Not opposed to it, but sometimes its nice to not know everything about a person by looking at the small of their back and arms.

The flat streets make bicycling in this town so ideal. So many people ride (without a trace of irony) old school Schwinn’s with the fat bottom seats. Sure they are heavy as fuck, but the do just the trick. The next time I visit here I’m bringing my longboard for sure. My host took me on a bike ride through City Park—New Orleans’ version of Central and Golden Gate Park. The park is huge, lots of biking room and beautiful old trees draped in Spanish Moss. I imagine it would be a little spooky hanging out there. I’m not saying I believe in ghosts, but I don’t not believe in them either—especially in a city as old and haunted as New Orleans.

I took a stroll down to the French Quarter and peeped that out. It just didn’t feel the same without titties flashing and beads falling down into my face and chipping my teeth. Bourbon Street felt like an older
and more charming, less tacky Sixth street (Austin). If the Castro District in San Francisco extended out towards Fisherman’s Wharf then it would be New Orleans’ Canal street.

It is true about open carry laws here. People openly walk around with their drinks in hand. Imagine if this town were as relaxed about prostitutes and weed as they were about booze. This place would be the shit.

I have to give this town some credit. After the flood I didn’t expect it to be so lively. The city seems to have recovered. If I were white I’d come down and buy a house here and chill for a few years, writing screenplays and drinking highballs. But I’m not and I have no intention of living in Louisiana as a free black man.

The light bulb went off in between long drags of a cigarette and swigs of beer. I understood the appeal and got why they called it “The Big Easy”. I didn’t want to do anything but listen to Tom Waits, and drink beer and smoke cigarettes on my host’s porch. Of course after my third beer I passed out and woke up with the sun in my eyes.

Its a fun spot. I’ll definitely have to come back for Mardi Gras and hit up my new favorite spot, Parasol’s. Great Po-boys and I’m sure when they get seafood gumbo again (its seasonal) its gonna be worth the return trip alone. When I come back I’m certainly hitting up the Voodoo Museum, the African American Museum, and the uptown area of New Orleans.

We’ll see what February is like. Unlike other places like Austin, Portland, New York City…..
I don’t see New Orleans becoming overrun by hipsters and yuppies anytime soon. Louisiana is a crazy place to live. I don’t see people clamoring to pull up the stakes and get down here. But maybe its a great place to camp out during the winter.

2014-08-29 19.19.46

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