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mask of mardi gras
giving up new orleans for lent

2001.02.26
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2001.03.02







who is that masked forkman



> did you get me beads?


   i have beads for you, i have beads for me, i have beads for Toto, too. Deb, Chris, Jen and I collected so many beads we gave most of them away on Tuesday afternoon by the hand-full, so we wouldn't have to discard any when we left New Orleans. I kept telling pretty girls "show me your smile," and they did, even when they didn't want beads. I kept a ZULU parade badge for Chris Zuleg.
   The parades are where it's AT. Never had to expose myself for beads, but others did. who-wa-wee! one horseman in a parade pulled up Jen's see-through shirt in exchange for a special necklace, but Jen thought it wasn't as hostile as it appeared to us guys.
   HINT: stand at the end of the parade route. When there are less than six blocks left in a 3-hour parade, the float riders often throw _bags_ of beads into the crowds to make certain none are left. HINT: Stand with a pretty girl wearing only two necklaces and a see-through blouse. Arrange to keep all her beads elsewhere, so she never seems to catch any. After two parades as the bead collector, Deb could not stand while wearing all the beads we four caught. Imagine Deb bundled with five poofy scarves about her neck, such that she can't see out of them herself...
   i had superior ki to all about me. i gently refused to give up hold on anything i caught, unless it was also caught by the 15 year old girl next to me for one parade. only one fellow broke a string rather than release good beads. oh well. most of the time people shared, especially when we caught handfulls or bags of the same necklace. one young fellow wanted to trade for a Leviathan badge so badly he became hysterically befuddled in his own beads trying to untangle the one i asked for in trade. I had six Leviathans, so i just gave one to him when his friends started laughing and walking away.

> how was your trip? i want to hear.


   Mardi Gras in New Orleans was excellent, the haunted French Quarter tour was OK, the used bookstores were plentiful. The architecture was delightful. But the nightlife ... ah, the nightlife. i was decadent, out until at least 3 AM every night, wandering the streets, watching the people, drinking mango daqueris and smoking clove cigarettes. Bourbon street was a great party, seven or nine blocks long, preventing all non-pedestrian traffic from dusk to dawn. saw lots of tits for beads, when the cops weren't looking. police departments send their people to New Orleans for Mardi Gras every year for crowd control training, but i saw no fights or violence. the first night horse-cops passed us by with a nod, despite the three open Budweisers in our hands.
   We stayed at the Quarter House, a condo on Rue Chartres, the edge of the french quarter. It's a collection of buildings connected together ad hoc, such that the tall thin hallways have bends and branches every twenty feet. The room was most excellent: stained glass, glass and brass chandelier, huge bathroom (great for 4 people!), in-room washer & dryer, but we spent little time there. It seemed proper that we watch silly movies (Amateur and Tank Girl) one evening when we needed to get off our feet and pack before heading out for our last night.
   New Orleans is neither friendly nor hostile to vegetarians. The food was orgasmic. I had gumbo and jambalaya, muffetta (sp?).The BEST restaurant was right next door to our condo: the Cajun Kosher Deli on Rue Chartres. Alone of all restaurants, we ate there twice; Chris the vegetarian ate there three times. i wish i could recall the others, all were good but for one mediocre meal, but i had abandoned all palm pilots and notebooks, me who entered there.
   I recognized Jackson Square and the Saint Louis Cathedral, which were the only places i recall from my previous trip. I didn't stop for a hot dog again, but it seemed the same hot dog vendor was still there. July of 1985, it seemed every third shop was selling beer, brass figurines, or ceramic masks. Unlike '85, the present french quarter shops seemed diverse, not to be selling the same things, although there was a common theme of daqueris, feather masks, and of course BEADS BEADS BEADS all over town.
   my only missed opportunity was that i chose not to record any blues in the bars. they all seemed too loud, and there was so much enthralling decadence on every street that i could not bear to remain in one establishment for a 50-minute set.
   despite the termites and flooding, i covet a 20-room estate on 1/4 a city block for $650K. Neighbors like Michelle Shocked, Anne Rice and Trent Reznor. Trent's neighbors supposedly banned Courtney Love--too many celebrities for one neighborhood.
   first set of pictures are at chris's site.
   i want to live there. i want to be there. To be, there. French Quarter. Garden District. Ambiance.









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