I was dead. And they dropped us off at the right place: a New Orleans cemetery full of ornate and gothic looking tombs. Had there been one opened, I might have just stepped in and gone for a very long sleep. Instead I slept on the grass surrounded by props from an Anna Rice novel.
Later, but only partly recovered, I joined Laura, Evelyn, Dorita and Bret. Together we wandered over to the Confederate Museum: the un-dead in T shirts and shorts. Enroute we passed soup kitchens less than a mile away from the Tourist area. It’s good to be reminded that real life is less pleasant beyond the febrile tourist bubble.
The Confederate Museum was dark and evocative and reeked of romance and despair. Or maybe that was me, still badly hung-over. What was interesting was a beautifully made ‘crown of thorns’ given by Pope Pius VIX to Jefferson Davis. With it came a note, comparing his burden to that of Christ himself – though resurrection has yet to come for the Confederacy. The note was interesting though.
With no sense of direction, and no pigeon to follow, we took the wrong tram back, and in consequence, had to change trams somewhere in the business quarter. Unexpected moments can prove to be golden. The sky turned a sudden, biblical grey and the heavens opened. The downpour was immense, too much for the drains. A New Orleans flash flood - and businessmen, their trousers rolled up to their knees, paddling down streets with briefcases covering their heads.
We were running too. We had an appointment to keep. We ran through water – Evelyn struggling to keep up - our minds fixed upon Pier Six and a Mississippi Steamboat. Just then we could have done with one.
The boat was magnificent. All it needed was Bart Maverick on board and an animatron of Mark Twain. Sunshine would have been nice. Instead we had grey skies and rain, but hey I was on the Mississippi, trying to imagine those early French explorers in their flimsy canoes.
Hangovers don’t last for ever and by early evening I was hungry. We ate at Seaport, a restaurant serving the obligatory Creole Gumbo and Jambalaya. I remember having two servings.
That evening me and Laura hit the French Quarter again. We went to a place called the Bouree and saw a fine Cajun band – the melodeon player using the stage like a young Elvis Presley.
We also went to a Transvestite Bar, and that was an eye-opener. The only thing that has ever made me uneasy about transvestites or those who’ve gone a stage further is that so few of them look quite right. They may have achieved perfect peace in side of themselves, but often you look at them twice in a street, out of curiousity, and then look away again out of politeness. It’s a shallow response, but not judgemental, at least in a moral sense. For me, it’s a matter of sexual aesthetics.
But the ‘women’ in this club were beautiful. There’s no other way of putting it - as the actress said to the bishop. And there was none of the boredom shown by the ‘real’ women in the strip club of the night before. They were sharp and thoroughly enjoying themselves.
In the club were a bunch of young rednecks who felt obliged to heckle just in case anyone thought…..
And so another night in New Orleans came to an end