Had the good fortune to be in New Orleans for some of this year’s Mardi Gras festivities. Me, Shane Essary and Harry Koniditsiotis went down on Thursday and left on Monday (Mardi Gras being Tuesday). We were there under the guise of working on Harry’s documentary, “Who the Hell is Alfred Medley” (check it out here). We stayed with Harry’s folks in Metarie. I’m not sure if guise is the right term. We did get the interview we went for. We caught some parades and had a good, relaxing time. We’re old friends of the kind that everything is pretty drama free. I’m proud of us. I was relatively kind to my liver and I think I leaned a few things:
- Places, or your relationship with places, change as you get older. I have been to New Orleans in a variety of capacities from filthy rock and roller to rolling in on the corporate jet. Common to every trip is an excess indulgence. I have literally found myself at my front door in Memphis and not been able to put together the events that transpired between that moment and being tossed out of a bar on Decatur Street (Thanks Woodsy). This time it was King cake. Mrs. K had a different one every morning, along with her home made baklava, salami and cheese. It was fantastic. I have to tell you, folks down here ain’t playing about the King cake. We were in a comic book shop when the bakery next door ran out and had to lock their doors. There was indignant anger expressed in at least half a dozen accents. We were expecting a mini riot. We caught some parades and ate good food. I got a shower everyday and never had to use a portalet (what we call port a potties) so 40 year old me is calling this one a win!
- While I’m glad I have the memories of being in an invading army of dudes with greasy hair and greasy jeans, I’m equally thankful for the opportunity to crash with locals and experience the city as they do. I’m sure that this is the best way to truly experience any city but forgive me if I choose to believe that no place has local pride like New Orleans. Hold on, now, I’m not defecting or anything. I’m still fiercely Memphis as it gets and I get it, a lot of us are proud of our town, but it's the exception and not the rule. To a person, everyone I have come across in New Orleans, that was from there, was eager to share their town with an outsider. Also, I have never met so many natural story tellers in one place. Mr. K ran restraints in the French Quarter since the 60’s, so he’s full of stories. We went in a music store to borrow a guitar and to shoot the Saturday morning cowboy song, and instead of telling us to get out the owner told us stories about being in a band in the 60’s and making enough money to buy a new car in high school.
- Everybody, from all walks of life, participates in Mardi Gras. Rich, poor, from the most counter culture crazies to the most basic bitches (unisex of course) get in on the party. The people watching is better entertainment than some of the parades.
- People say “brah” a lot. I mean A LOT. To the point that it sounds like a sick bird. “Brah brah, brah, brah.” What’s the deal with that?