Saturday, June 21, 2008

First time I went to New Orleans

Joanie and I used to give each other trips for birthday presents. I’ll never forget sitting on the floor of her apartment as I opened a large envelope. It had a home made card in it that simply read New Orleans. This would have been early to mid 80s.

The year before, after just having missed a plane for Mexico, Joanie fell to the floor of the airport sobbing. “Okay,” I said. “Let’s drive down to New Orleans.” Our spirits lifted immediately. Just then a group with a chartered plane invited us on with them. We went to Mexico. But now we had the New Orleans bug.

My birthday is near the end of January and by the time we got down there it was about a week before Mardi Gras. I highly recommend this time to visit New Orleans. The locals are ready to party and the tourists aren’t there yet to make it unbearable.

We decided we had to take Highway 61 down through the Mississippi delta. This took us way out of our way and all we saw was a lot of poverty and desolation. Blues is about the only thing this landscape could inspire.

Joanie had gotten us a room at the St. Louis Hotel on Bourbon Street. We had a beautiful wrought iron porch to hang out on.

I was still doing a lot of coke then. We ran into a guy on the street who was trying to sell us some. “Try it before you buy it, try it before you buy it,” he chanted. I dabbed a little on my gums and they went numb. I bought some and went back to the apartment. I ended up shoveling a load of talcum powder sprayed with car starter ether up my nose. I was crazy in those days!

Bourbon Street shut down around 3:00am but there were streets behind us that never stopped. One night we ended up in a small pool hall back there. As Joanie and I were playing I noticed an absolutely gorgeous woman watching me. I was a little embarrassed because I was with my girl friend but I was flattered. She winked at me.

I walked up to the bar to order a couple of beers. The woman moved down and sat next to me looking into my eyes. She was beautiful. If I hadn’t been with Joanie I would have followed her anywhere. The bartender stuck his face between us and said, “You faggot, leave the boy alone.” I’ve always wondered at what point I would have discovered the truth if I had been left to my own devices.

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