May 21, 2010

Leaving the Bars

Nude Descending a Staircase
Now, in the city of New Orleans, a good time can be broken down into twos:

Hang out at a bar

Or

Hang out at a house (bar)

Both are pretty much the same choice in a city that looks with suspicion on people who don't drink.

If you tell your friends you're not drinking tonight, they'll inevitably say, "Oh, you don't drink?" and then whisper to each other, "Is he an alcoholic?"

Now, those who drink a lot are certainly prone to rules. If you hang out at bars, you'll find it's common practice to treat the bartender like a god. Don't mess with her (or him). Or you'll be kicked out.

Walking down South Carrolton Avenue near the Riverbend on most nights in the Spring, it is easy to find people outside drinking, grilling, walking, drinking - the local bars are filled and people are sitting out on patio decks in front of restaurants (this city has more food than the Vatican has indulgences) or coffee shops.

There's a grocery store near Dante and Cohn streets where people get a six pack: people ride their bikes along Carrolton, drink a bit, eat crayfish at the Fly (the park behind the Audubon Zoo). My buddy's getting married this coming weekend. He's having his birthday at the fly, a cozy municipal park with an unobstructed view of the Mississippi River.

A bit of nostalgia pervades this post.

This post is a valediction of sorts. I'm saying farewell. So, I conjure up images of a city.

New Orleans sleeps. The denizens here are notorious for the eazy but we still show up for work and we still dress snazzy when the occasion merits it.

It's funny. For a city that places emphasis on laissez-faire, it's easy to deconstruct that concept and rather interpret the city as rather insular and rigid.

We do party here. But our festivity borders the vicissitudes of human suffering. Just today, a man doused in a sheen of silver paint loiters in front of the Robert's on S. Claiborne avenue. He looks like a misplaced French Quarter performer. He shuffles around the parking lot as if lost.

On Facebook, a random user bemoans a LA Times article that paints a laissez-faire city more interested in the beat of tourist dollars and the mambo rather than colloborating to stop the oil leak in the gulf.

"Oh, we don't deal with crude oil, just the end consumer's access to gasoline."

Why so angry? The city is a paradox. When the mirror is put to the Cresent City's face we balk and turn our convivial nature to indignance.

Here the party scene is a masked insouciance for opting out of social responsibility. What can you do but pop another shot, neat. I think I finally understand Walker Percy's quote about dispelling anomie with a glass of bourbon. He must've lived here!

We love our traditions and culture (laissez-faire) but fail to wake up from our Mardi Gras slumber and DO something.

Our city is beautiful. The city struts herself like boys on a bar. We pop dollars (at Liuzza's last night, a feverish 30 something women showed we here stash of dollars she saved for her vacation here) and a group of petroleum engineers in front of John Besh's August raved about food but wouldn't even answer question about the danger of oil exploration. The metaphor for the city (a paralax view) is of the nude descending a staircase.







- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Search This Blog