Feel the Big Easy

“See me, feel me, touch me, heal me”, as the famous lyrics go from The Who. But what does this matter in the grand scheme of things down New Orleans way?

Well… “A horse walks into a bar, and the bartender says what’s with the long face?” It might sound like the lead in to a comedy routine, but it is just something you might see on an ordinary day in New Orleans…

It is easy enough to ‘see‘ New Orleans… the all-out alcohol theme park that is Bourbon Street, embellished with ubiquitous beads, as it provides the backdrop to a perennial staging of the brotherhood and sisterhood of global redneckery. The hobos competing for hard earned dollars that the tourists wish only to pour down their own throats. The quintessentially potholed grime of French Quarter chic.

Kenaz Filan vividly captures the ‘seeing‘ of New Orleans as “a hospice where morals and good character could die in a suitably entertaining fashion.” Probably most usually accompanied with a suitable greeting and copious amounts of your favourite liquid…

But, is it enough just to ‘see‘ New Orleans? I guess for the inebriated it is, but this is so much more than a city… this is a way of life wrapped up in a diverse cultural history and presented through the medium of a multicultural human gumbo.

Look a little closer and you might just experience a whole new world of beauty and wonder. Because to get to know New Orleans you need to ‘feel‘ the real Nou Awlings.

It may be indelibly stamped with the sounds of jazz and the blues, most evocatively experienced by the street procession behind a traditional New Orleans brass band…

… but why not also listen a little closer to the daily soundtrack… that of competing freight train and steamboat horns that blast across the city; and the churning of streetcar wheels grinding through spacious avenues. Not to say of the constant chatter of back stories and life’s experiences being exchanged in the cauldron-like heat of the day.

However, for a recognizably noisy metropolis there is no shortage of places for quiet contemplation. This is a city truly ‘born on a bayou’, a remnant of which is routinely ignored by tourists who only see City Park on the opposite side of the streetcar terminus. But, for those with a fuller functioning compass, tranquility and a little historic charm (e.g. Pitot House) await…

Then again, if reinventing gravity is your thing, the meditation garden in Audubon Park offers up an Isaac Newton experience, as your breathing exercises are occasionally interrupted by acorns falling from the overhanging oaks…

The French Quarter may be a hotbed of Spanish and Creole architecture, but this is a city of Cajun influences amongst so many other immigrant representatives. Once you have got your head around the voodoo intsrpretations of Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya-Ya, the street names of Tchopitoulas, Terpsichore and Capdeville, then prepare your tongue for Crawfish Etouffee, Okra and Louisiana Seafood Gumbo, Beef Po Boys, Jambalaya, Muffulettas, and Alligator Sausage. But make your choice of establishment a little more discerning… why settle for a faux tourist French Quarter restaurant when the real deal is a shack only 15 minutes walk away at Li’l Dizzy’s in the Treme?

Then there is the quintessential flirtation with death! They might offer some lotions and potions to hold back the grim reaper, but don’t bet on it…

… But, when the voodoo strikes you down, try reserving a plot in a city of above ground cemeteries that is constantly battling high water table and below sea level inevitabilities!

Be warned, nothing happens too quickly here; there is no better embodiment of the Welsh phrase “I’ll do it now, in a minute!” than a native or adopter of Nou Awlings. In fact, some take the slower pace of life to a whole new level…

And, with a view to doing their own thing, rather than following the spirit of America, just how un-American can you get? (Some things were just meant to rile those Fump Truckers!)…

Until we speak again, I make no apologies for reminding you of the prescient words of Dan Baum, that New Orleans is “a city-sized act of civil disobedience.” Come, look, but above all else, feel it!

Dumbfuckistan resurrection

Let it go folks… once President Obama was out of the door there was no longer an option for dignity and oratory. One Clinton may have dignity, and another may have oratory, but none of them have both. As for the new incumbent… well, viewing from afar is like watching a good friend skidding down the road heading straight into a slow motion car crash.

The 8 year experience of slick Obama speak has lulled us into a false sense of expectation. The new zeitgeist of the nightmarish dark hours tweet fest is beginning to look something altogether different…

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Little did we know that the poor little bum-crack combover was being spied on, by the order of the outgoing President and through the skilled practitioners of the UK spy industry…

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There is no value in challenging these facts, because they are carefully disguised in an evidence-free shroud where conspiracy theory has become incontrovertible. To mangle a quote from Groucho Marx “I have facts, but if you don’t like them, well, I have other facts!”

George W Bush might well have been the prime architect of Dumbfuckistan, but for those of you who have lamented its passing, fret no more. Evidence is beginning to pour in from the focal point of the free-world to suggest that Dumbfuckistan has been resurrected and is thriving again in its assault on rational thought.

For a start, just the other day I was browsing my weekly digest of national and international news, when I nearly choked on my personal sense of my place on the planet. It seems the new administration of the country that wants to tell the world how to be has just scrapped requirements on major telecoms providers to take reasonable measures in order to protect our data from the hands of unscrupulous vultures. Then there is the perennial Republican favourite… “want guns, have guns, get your hands off my guns buddy.” Good news for the equal rights for the mentally disturbed lobby, as those declared mentally incapable of managing their own affairs are at least free to buy guns!

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It seems this freedom from rational thinking is rapidly filtering down from the White House and Capitol Hill, to State legislatures. Why, only the other day the good folk of Arkansas realised a way of grabbing a bargain before deadline day… it seems their stocks of killer drugs are fast approaching their sell-by-date. A State that has not executed anybody in 12 years has found a solution to the dilemma of wasting perfectly good stocks of lethal injection juice… let’s have some mass executions while stocks still last!

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If the so-called Islamic State were ever in need of some fresh thinking, there is an abundant source of ideas simply oozing from the resurrected state of Dumbfuckistan.

As for Bella, she was always well prepared with a copy of the relevant constitutional amendments for any challenge to her right to take down any animate or inanimate object of her choosing.

Got my papers

Until we speak again, sleep tight, and try not to let those early morning tweets bight!