A blog meant to represent, as most blogs do, extracts or excepts from day-to-day life.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Miss New Orleans

I was supposed to go to New Orleans next week, but I changed my mind. I've only been there once before, but I miss it. I miss the crowds of people waiting for tables at Jacques-Imo's Friday night, the perfect flash-fried whole flounder, and the waitress who de-boned it for me. And I miss Jacques-Imo's simple baby spinach salad with the one-fried-oyster garnish, the best fried oyster I've ever had, so good it changed my mind about fried oysters. (I normally like them raw.)

I miss walking down the street and being struck here and there by the scent of Confederate Jasmine.

I miss drinking big rum-and-cokes in the car while driving from party to party, bar to bar. I miss eating the best cheese fries in the world at 3:30 in the morning and finally leaving the bar at 5 in the morning.

I miss all that New Orleans style, wardrobe choices that people couldn't pull off anywhere else in the world that look so perfect in that city.

I miss seeing Papa Grows Funk on Monday night at the Maple Leaf Bar, and I miss randomly running into James the brewer, a friend from Texas and a new New Orleanian, dancing to the funk, his big Panama hat spinning and bobbing above the crowd.

I miss the old, worn out front door at Faulkner House bookstore in the French Quarter and the dignified proprietress inside who welcomed me to her shop and treated me like a New Orleanian even though I felt like a tourist everywhere else I went. "You've been here before, haven't you?"

I told her that, in fact, this was my first time in the city. She welcomed me and showed me around her shop. We talked about Andrei Codrescu, his newest book, and the party he just had at his French Quarter flat. We talked about Dallas and a book of Hurricane Katrina photography by Dallas Morning News photojournalists that had just won a Pulitzer and seemed to be on backorder everywhere. I'd wanted to see if I could order it for my friend and hostess in New Orleans, as a birthday gift and an appreciation for letting me stay at her house. The proprietress couldn't order it, so she showed me other Katrina books by local authors. I found one I liked, Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans? I wondered if it'd be a suitable gift for my hostess. "Oh, you're a good houseguest," the proprietress said.

I decided to keep the book, though, and I'm glad I did. What would it mean to Miss New Orleans, anyway? To Miss New Orleans... well, that's something I'll just have to get over.


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