Addendum to Volume I:
As my cousin pointed out in the comments, Daniel, our part-time friend from Pat O’Briens, was a spitter. He was definitely enthusiastic. He was on my side but moved to Kama’s side because I was smoking and the smoke was drifting in his face. Score one, Nanner.
Here’s one of the jokes he told once he found out where I was from: What do you call the moisture between two West Virginians having sex?
Har, har, har, har. Kama and I found that exceptionally funny, especially since our family is so inbred.
Pandora asked about the necklace I’m wearing. Yes, I made it. More about that later. And this is the third time that Seven and I have breathed the same air. More on that later as well.
If I’m not mistaken, jeebiduss, the hours melted together, I forgot to mention a character that Kama (or was it Pete?) and I met on the street. He was sitting against a building, holding a guitar. He was also wearing a rather large, purple-ish wizard hat. As I walked past I said, “Nice hat.”
He strummed on the guitar and asked, “What hat?”
That cracked me up but also reminded me to be careful who I spoke to and looked in the eye.
NOLA Volume II:
Some of you may not be familiar with New Orleans or the French Quarter, where I spent a great deal of time, okay, almost ALL my time. (Watching Katrina footage does not count). The French Quarter is separated from the rest of New Orleans by Canal Street, which runs north and south on the west border, Esplanade Avenue, which runs north and south on the east border, the Mississippi on the southern border, and N. Rampart on the northern border.
The great thing about the French Quarter is that the blocks are really short. The 13 1/2 blocks from my hotel to the Cafe Du Monde felt like nothing. Of course, I probably walk a mile or more a day at my job, so maybe it was just me. But it also didn’t seem like a very long walk to St. Louis Cemetery, which is about 10 blocks from Cafe Du Monde.
If you would like to follow along via a map, here is a nice one I found.
My hotel was located a block and a half on Carondolet (Bourbon) west of Canal Street. The House of Blues was located on Decatur Street, about two and a half blocks east of Canal. Cafe Du Monde is on Decatur/Dumaine. The St. Louis Cemetary # 1 is on Basin and St. Louis. Jimani is about dead center of Chartres street between Iberville and Canal. I was unable to locate the bar where I listened to music and met Pete, The World Famous Windex Man. It was on Bourbon.
Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo is located about on the corner of St. Ann and Bourbon and The Clover Grill is on the corner of Bourbon and Dumaine, that would be three blocks north of the Cafe Du Monde. Also, find the corner of Decatur and Canal on the map. This will be important later, there will be a test.
Now that you know where you’re going, let’s get back to the next part of my trip.
It’s 11 p.m. and I’m walking east on Bourbon Street. The police have arrived and barricaded it so you are free to walk in the street. I have purposefully left my camera in the hotel room. My purse is small and non-lumpy. My hair is still in a ponytail. I’m wearing jeans and a t-shirt. (This ploy to appear “local” must have worked because one guy stopped and asked me the location of the Renaissance Hotel (I’m assuming he meant the one at 700 Tchoupitoulas, which was a good 6 blocks from where he was) and some ladies asked me the location of the nearest pet store, of which I had no clue.)
I had meant to return to one location in particular. One where I had heard some great music while walking back to the hotel. I think I found it, but again, I don’t rightly know exactly where I was on Bourbon. I know I hadn’t gone far enough to be in the Gay District, which was where the Clover Grill was.
Keep in mind that when I say I’m walking East on Bourbon, this is directly after walking east on Decatur off of Canal. Yes, I haunted the House of Blues in hopes of catching a glimpse of a member of Alice in Chains. A few big tour buses were outside but they actually were for a different band that was playing there. Pete and I found that out later.
I watched the band for a while and growing tired and bored, I headed out for a pack of cigarettes, which surprisingly were just as cheap there as back here. This is when I ran into Pete, The World Famous Windex Man, or so he calls himself. Pete is a self-described salesman and tour guide. He’s been in 46 of the 50 states and according to him, used to wash car windows with Windex for money. He said this continued until the first time he heard the term, carjacking. He was quite familiar with the names of many of the towns near where I live.
Pete is black, about 50 years old, has one bad eye, and a drinking habit. (I tell you this so you can find him when you get there.) However, he was also someone with which I felt an instant rapport and comfort level. As we wandered the streets of New Orleans we shared stories and he pointed out interesting places, regaling me with the vast list of famous people he has met in the city of New Orleans. He also told me where Brad and Angelina live and about a meeting he had with Angelina. It seems he knows everyone and I felt very safe with Pete.
We stopped by Jimani to get him a beer and so I could use the bathroom. The food looked delicious but I wasn’t hungry. The staff was very friendly. I’ll definitely go back there. Pete and I talked about the aftermath of Katrina and just about everything else, including my quest to meet Alice In Chains. This resulted in us making a few more passes by the House of Blues, which also resulted in us seeing, not one, but two members of one of the bands peeing in the street. One didn’t even have his pants on, just a long shirt. Once we made another round, Pete asked one of the guys who they were and they said, “Haste the Day,” which neither of us had ever heard of.
While sitting at Jimani, I turned to Pete and said, “Willy, what…? *Pause* Why did I just call you Willy?”
Pete smiled and said, “You a clairvoyant too. I have a twin brother we used to call Willy when he was a kid.” We made another swing past the House of Blues and Pete and I started making the final trek, or so I thought, back to my hotel room.
Pete is one of the most interesting, congenial people I’ve ever met. He works for tips and he’s not cheap, even though he gave me the “there ain’t nobody else around and you’re cute” discount. My hip was really hurting and I was just exhausted. As we turned the corner of Decatur and Canal, I noticed a couple coming across Canal from the direction of Harrahs, which is located further south on Canal.
The man seemed intent on overshooting Decatur and barreling our direction. So much so that Pete and I both turned. His lady friend had stopped and he stopped and whirled mid-step.
Pete, the ever friendly one with a voice and reason and sense, said, “How ya’ll doin’?”
The man froze for an instant, sizing us up, then mumbled, “All right.” He grabbed his lady friend’s hand and off they went on Decatur. I stood frozen at first, not answering Pete as he jabbered on. I then wandered up Canal, stopped mid-step, turned in the direction of Decatur, turned back toward Bourbon, wandered a few more steps, and turned again toward Decatur.
Pete said, “Nanner, you all right?”
“That was him, Pete.”
“Jerry Cantrell. That was Jerry Cantrell.”
“Who’s Jerry Cantrell?”
I whipped open my purse and showed him the CD cover from “Boggy Depot.”
“Remember, Pete, that’s why I’m here. I’m seeing Alice in Chains and he’s the guitarist.”
“Well, damn it, why didn’t ya say something?”
“I really wasn’t sure. I’m still not sure but, I’m sure, but I’m not sure, but I think I’m sure. That’s him right here on the CD cover, you tell me. ”
“Hell, I don’t know! I wasn’t looking at him, I was lookin’ at her! Did you see how tight her jeans were?” Score one, Pete.
“No, I was looking at how tight his jeans were, Pete!” Score two, Nanner.
Pete drug me back to Decatur Street as we laughed at each other. We peered into the darkness and found… an empty street. Fuck.
We went back to the hotel where I grabbed a few bucks and then we made another round. The blocks seem much longer when it’s between 3:30 and 4:00 a.m. and you haven’t had much sleep, and, you’re kicking yourself in the ass.
At 4:09, my head hit the pillow and my foot was still kicking my ass. Score one, Jerry.