Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Last Tango in NOLA

It’s Sunday evening, my last night in New Orleans, and I’m looking for something cool to do away from Bourbon Street. I find it at the Spotted Cat on Frenchman. There, a gypsy princess named Alli pours the drinks in front of sign that warns that cash is the only payment method accepted, a great little band, the Rites of Swing, plays loudly on the tiny stage and the spitting image of a young Sharon Stone sits at the other end of the bar smoking a cigarette. I’ve been in some great bars over the last couple of days, but this is my favorite almost immediately, it’s dark, loud and just a little run down. After a couple of beers I head to the restroom. The toilet is running, the handle broken, thank God I didn’t have to shit, and not only are there no paper towels, there’s no paper towel dispenser, or blow drier either. On the wall next to the mirror someone has scribbled, "What will your contribution be?"
"I don’t know," I admit as a I wipe my wet hands on my jeans and head back out to the bar. As I sit, Sharon and I make eye contact and we both hold it just to the uncomfortable point of needing to say something. Then I break free, she’s wearing a ring and that’s one line I won’t cross. I’ve done it before and I paid one hell of a karmic price years later. So instead I write, this town has been the easiest place for me to write, it seems like the noisier the place the better and the pages pour out of me as the band plays on and conversations are born and die around me. I write about the day, the bar, and I write a response to a letter from a friend that I shall never send.
At some point I find myself drunk and cash out, as I get up Sharon and I glance at each other one last time and I walk out.
I head to the Clover Grill and have a great waffle (no need to say more about the Clover, it’s the same at 1am or 1pm, loud, packed, and just short of exploding), then start meandering my way through the bars and shops on my way back to the hotel. I drink in a tiny metal bar, cross the street to catch a great Southern rock combo singing ’Sweet Home Louisiana,’ then find my way into a row boat sized voodoo shop to pick up a few souvenirs, the signs warn not to touch the merchandise as bad things shall ensue...I don’t.
Walking back to the hotel I think for the hundredth time what a great European feel this town has and how much I miss that. No place in New Mexico has that feeling except maybe for Santa Fe. But Santa Fe is also arrogant, a vain woman who thinks that she is hotter than she really is and even if you wanted to you’d never be good enough. Then there’s Ruidoso. She’s a whore, pretty but diseased with no interest in you but your wallet, and she fakes her orgasms. New Orleans is a whore as well, and an old one at that. I’ve seen her without her makeup on though and she’s still a looker and she honestly seems to be having a good time with you.


Sarah said...

Just for the record, a grilled cheese would win in a fair fight...

You are an awesome writer!

Eric said...

...but if it's prison rules, I'll take the taco.
Thanks, so are you, I've been enjoying your blogs a lot.

eleKtrofly said...

i agree with sarah, man-- you are an awesome writer-- so vivid i feel as tho i was there, myself.


thanx for the free slice the other day; delicious as always.

Terroni said...

I love the towns as women...makes me think about how I would characterize Baltimore.