Thursday, February 09, 2006


Since I enjoy forming everlasting opinions on cities in a 45-minute span, I will tell you this about New Orleans: The fences are all blown over, it's forever night, nobody knows where Duvall Street is, and pizza costs four dollars a slice.

Josh The Pilot and I pulled in at about two in the morning, and as we drove across the I-10 bridge I started noticing leveled trees and knocked-sideways street signs. I began to feel creeped. It looked much like Orlando in the aftermath of Charley, had Orlando ever shown any semblance of personality or, you know, a soul.

In good news, an enormous sign on the Superdome announced "REOPENING SOON!" The sign was half-missing. So, to all of you who've asked how the reconstruction is going... thumbs up!

(Given what transpired at the Superdome... is anyone... really going to want to go there for a good time? It is akin to attempting to party at a mausoleum, or the Johnstown Flood National Memorial. These days, when I think "Superdome", I don't necessarily consider myself READY FOR SOME FOOT-BALL!! How will Hank Jr. sing about this next season? "The flooding is over, Manning's gonna blow 'em away!")

You have likely heard that New Orleans is sinking, which is to be expected of anything built by the French. The downtown area actually did not look that bad. You knew that something had happened, something awful--there were flood water marks on some of the statues and such-- but it wasn't obvious; merely a lingering stun-wisp of awful. Kind of like channel-sufring past Son of the Mask just as the credits are rolling.

I wanted to see three things in the French Quarter:
1) Preservation Hall
2) Margaritaville
3) Some semblance of a jazz band

I had to settle for one out of three, which according to my E-Z Grader is a 33% and therefore a whopping F-. YOU FLUNK, FRENCH QUARTER, and I hope you have a good excuse.

Largely I hunched around in my windbreaker going, "I'm lower than sea level!" It was the absolute highlight. So I've been on the top of Pikes Peak AND eight feet below sea level, for a distance differential of 14,118 feet.

(There has been more math in this post than in the whole entire blog. Enjoy it while it lasts.)

I was surprised to find that you can buy beads on Borboun Street, which seems like cheating. Having seen how elaborate and expensive they are, I can now understand the whole shirt-flinging thing at Mardi Gras. I know I would totally cheapen myself for eight cent's worth of plastic parrots retailed at $14.99.

We wandered to Preservation Hall, which I wanted to see since Buffett used to play there and has since written a song about how it's now tacky and toursity and awful, and I wanted to see how bad it really was, because if if anybody knows anything about avoiding the evils of corporatization, it's Jimmy Buffett, from high atop his throne of bumper stickers and coconut boxer shorts some five blocks away.

Pilates, it's time for Pilates! Hold, please.


BT said...

and... and... You cann't do that to me at the end of the day. And what?

2xgtld said...

I formed an opinion of N'Awlins based on our visit there with a 1y.o and a 2y.o when my husband was interviewing at Tulane. Toddlers go to sleep at 7:00pm and need naps from 1-3, leaving us to experience Bourbon Street at 9:00am. Rank miasma and wisps of terrible things- even then. I think that's part of New Orleans. But my son did use his spoon for the first time to eat jumbalaya (room service) and the St. Charles trolley car was great fun to ride up and down and up and down and did I mention the up the street and down the street of the trolley car? So, for us, no jazz, no booze, no Ragin' Cajun- just a muffaletta eaten on the trolley car. My husband got the job but didn't take it- and I have to admit I'm grateful we didn't have to deal with what everyone there had to deal with.

Btw, MB, we moved from Florida three weeks before Charley, which hit our just-sold house. The whole 5 years we lived in Florida- no hurricanes. We're feeling pretty hurricane-lucky!

Nicko McDave said...

Speed reading can be bad for one's brain. I whizzed by one paragraph too quickly and only caught a segment that read "a whopping F-. YOU". I had to go back and read more slowly to figure out what the heck you were swearing at.

Yourself, apparently!

Becky said...

One of my husband-the-teacher's co-workers is fond of giving not just minus grades, but DOUBLE minus grades. Since they used to swap students for math and English, he'd get papers back for his kids with things like, "Needs work, D--"
scrawled in giant red marker.

Third graders, mind you.

I can accept the F- for the French Quarter as long as you don't add insult to injury by doubling the minus!


Owen the Reader said...

Ya, much of it is still partial hours and things that we've taken for granted all our lives are there, after a fasion, just not how or when we're used to seeing them. What? No 2am DirtyMart PoBoys? The bars CLOSE?!? THE END IS NIGH, RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!! Overheard last week: "... it's actually sort of like the weekend after a really good 'Mardis." The more touristy the place, the closer to core hours they're gonna stick.

BTY: the Verde Mart, aka DirtyMart, makes the best shrimp poboys in the OH MY GOD ITS NOT GARLIC BUTTER ITS CRACK BUTTER OH YES YES MORE YES MORE NOW but be warned they're more than habit forming. The kitchen is reliably open only late afternoons and evenings. From Jackson Square go away from Canal on Decater until you see Angoli's on the left (Esplanade is too far), turn left and go 2 blocks up, look to your right. Don' be shy of the place, it's more afraid of you than you are of it. ;-)

And yes, there's much destruction, so much more you don't see outside of the touristy areas, but New Orleans is wide, much more so than it looks, and 3 million people safe make the losses pale, or should. Just ourselves, we started with an MIA list of over 160. Two weeks ago the last were accounted for: none missing, none lost, two minor injuries. We were so very lucky, it could have so easily been so very, very much worse.

"Our city lay bleeding its soul down long dark highways." Now that lifeblood returns, slow, tentative, somehow different, disjoint, disconnected. But we live yet.

Mike Marchand said...

I know I would totally cheapen myself for eight cent's worth of plastic parrots retailed at $14.99.

*goes to and orders a gross*


Julie in Napa Valley said...

For your next below sea level experience you might want to try Death Valley in August. Sounds like it would be just about as much fun.

Attitude Amy said...

Names: Irish names are almost always good. Patrick is great but you don't want a kid called Pat. And it is inevitable that they will call him or her Pat. Which means they will be destined for fatness. Any famous people called Pat? Besides that lady/man on Saturday Night Live, which by the way "I rest my case" while adding more issues including gender confusion. They don't call Patrick Demsey "Pat" for a reason. The guy has to maintain a certain physique for his career...and so people won't start calling him Pat.

Ever noticed that? Some names almost certainly cause weight problems...(along with laziness, high caloric intake and bad genes). Peg or Peggy is another fat person name. Never met a Peggy that didn't look a little piggy.

Perhaps someone should write a book of fat kid names as to help us avoid having over weight children. Sometimes they are thin as youngsters and grow into their fatness though, (Usually someone like a Patrick). The parents start out calling him Patrick and then one or two days at kindergarden and there you have Pat sitting in a corner with a Hostess Cup chewing on his or her own hair rocking back and forth wishing their name was Lemon or Apple or some unusual destined for fame stage name. And it's all becuase some teacher decided to change the destiny on his bith certificate to Pat's-ville fatsville.

Supposedly your child will take on seven characteristics of the person you name them after. You need to google that name. Naming this child can be very dangerous. You can't just name the kid Damien or Stalin and not expect his birth mark to turn into a 666 stamped on his forhead. This whole seven characteristics thing is even in the Bible. God changed folks names to ones with special meaning. Jesus did it too.

Did you know that Spencer means "butler". "Yah...congratulations...your kids gonna be wearing their 'well thought out and researched' NAME on their work uniform the rest of their lives. Way to go. Just name them something that sounds cool." You could ruin this kids life before it even starts.

Olympia Ducakus in Steel Magnolias said something about gay men always having certain names. If sexual orientation is important to you then rent it. Man, this is stressful stuff. Oh, gosh I just remembered that whole numerology thing too. And if they're a Piscies their lives will suck forever. That must be why birth control packs resemble sun dials. Its some sort of warning to females to restrict sexual intercourse nine months before March.

This is all before you start picking out cribs and the clothes and 'breast milk or formula'. I don't think I could handle the stress of thinking about others thinking about naming children let alone the stress of thinking about others thinking about their sister having a baby.

Good luck with this naming a human being thing. Or as I like to think of it, choosing a perfectly innocent person's destiny for them in one fale swoop of a hospital typewriter. Just don't pick Damien or Stalin...or Adolf...

MB said...

My mommy is a Peggy, and the only time she was fat was for nine months, when it was my own fault :) But I get your point. I have a book for character naming that not only gives the meaning of the name, but what people think of when they hear it. For "Mary Beth"? "Pretty, petite blonde." So as we can see, the people are NEVER WRONG.

Jenib said...

Amy, knowing you personally, I could hear your voice speaking to me from that post and imagine your facial expression. After I quit howling in laughter and wiping the tears away, I am convinced that I am going to have to remodel my home just to add a suite for you.


Attitude Amy said...

...And that ladies and gentlemen is why I am not a "public" speaker. I write before I think and then cower behind the safety of my very old outdated laptop. It weighs ten pounds easy. No shrapnel is getting past this sucker. Safe from anything besides a direct hit.

MB, I am glad to hear your mother is one of the exceptions for all those other unfortunate Peggy’s out there.

When I hear Mary Beth I think of, "virgin, Christ, Little Women."

Are there going to be ink blot flash cards later? Oh, please say there's gonna be ink blot flash cards. I love shouting out inappropriate things that immediately come to mind without really thinking. Or, I could just save it for my Blog or my comments on your Blog.

Does anyone know if Mattel or Fisher Price sell the Psychiatrist Ink Blot Flashcard game? And do they have it on CD-Rom? Perhaps a travel version? Thank God those games go with age requirements rather than IQ requirements. Whewww.

Jenib said...

Amy, I have copies of a few Rorschach blots if you need them...I can scan and send over. It's more fun than twister, I promise.

Brian said...
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