Notations From New Orleans

By Michael J. Legeros

Her birthplace; my birthday.  We went to the Big Easy this weekend,
for four decadent days in the city that's never shy.  She's been be-
fore; I'd never been.  We rented a car, slept in the Garden District,
and did a ton of driving, walking, and trolley-ing.  Here's a hand-
ful of quick impressions...

Day One

  o Oh, the humidity!

  o A calliope can be heard for several city blocks.

  o A calliope is a steam-powered pipe organ used on paddleboats.

  o The engine rooms of said steam-powered paddleboats are damn hot.

  o The New Orleans International Airport fire station is located on,
    duh, South Firehouse Road.

  o And the Fire Chief has a daughter in Raleigh.

  o One-way streets suck.

  o IMAX.  3D.  Underwater.  'Nuff said.

  o An evening movie ticket at the Cinema Six in Aurora cost $6.00.

  o Our consensus on AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME:  sloppy,
    but very funny.

  o Newer Winn-Dixie grocery stores have self-checkout lanes with
    computers that talk to you!  A human still takes the cash, tho.

  o How to determine if hotel valet service is a crock:  are cars
    parked on the street?  Are the cars that were parked there last
    night still there the next morning??

Day Two

  o Airboats are damn loud.

  o Airboats are boats propelled by propellers.

  o Touching the teeth of a live, restrained young (four-foot) alli-
    gator is not for the faint-hearted.

  o Zapp's potato chips are produced in Gramercy, LA.  They don't
    give plant tours, but they do give samples.  If you're nice.

  o If your waitress in a small-town Cajun cookery doesn't return
    after taking your order, it's because fried chicken takes 20
    minutes to cook.

  o Sugar cane in June ain't that sweet.

  o Street cars really do go clang-clang.

  o The lack of brassieres on Bourbon Street was not in the least bit

  o Jazz.  Blues.  Jazz.  Blues.  Jazz.  Blues.  Jazz.  Blues.  Jazz.
    Blues.  Jazz.  Blues.  Jazz.  Blues.  And a whole lot of Zydeco.

  o Best response to street-corner solicitors handing out Handouts
    For Heaven:  "No thanks, we're already going to Hell."

Day Three

  o Cemeteries are best visited as a thunderstorm approaches.

  o Plush armadillos sell for 50 cents at Garden District yard sales.

  o The drive to Baton Rouge is damn dull.

  o The reason we went there:  to see her grandparents.

  o Ferrara Fire Apparatus are manufactured in Holden, LA.  My travel
    companion's description of my reaction to the plant tour:  "his
    eyes never stopped darting around."

  o The Causeway at Lake Ponchatrain is the longest bridge-over-water
    in the world and it takes about 25 minutes to traverse it, if you
    don't stop where you shouldn't to take pictures.

  o Friday night in the French Quarter is fun.

  o Saturday night in the French Quarter is funner.

  o Average number of kosher entree items on a given menu:  one.

  o Message to all chefs and restaurateurs:  pickled pizza toppings
    are a poor substitute for fresh veggies in Pasta Primavera.

  o Ten bucks at a coed nudie bar buys admission and cheap beer for
    two, a personal introduction from a stripper, and, if you're
    lucky, a textbook demonstration of how to descend a fire pole.

Day Four

  o Downtown parking is damn expensive.

  o Tickets to the House of Blues' Sunday Gospel Brunch are $28 per

  o Said brunch is an all-you-can-eat Southern-style buffet, served
    with orange juice mixed with champagne.

  o Morning After in the French Quarter smells like it sounds.

  o Most shops in the Quarter are open on Sunday.

  o The Little Toy Shoppe stocks Corgi and Siku die-cast, among

  o Best souvenir not purchased: red apron reading "Don't f*** with
    the cook."

  o The four-screen theater at the Shops on Canal Street makes an
    excellent air-conditioned rest-stop.

  o Our consensus on THE DREAMLIFE OF ANGELS:  dandy drama from
    France about two twenty-something girls struggling to survive on
    life's lower rungs.

Final Tallies

  o Best meal:  two scoops of hand-dipped Haagen-Daas Belgian choco-
    late-chocolate ice cream.

  o Number of pounds gained:  3 (estimated)

  o Final mileage of rental car:  450

  o Number of blocks schlepped:  117 (approximate)

  o Notable defects in hotel room:  leaking coffee maker, clogged
    bathtub drain, missing remote control.

  o Things we wanted to do but didn't:  take a walking tour, spend
    more time at the cemeteries, visit the zoo, hit the casino, at-
    tend the Art Museum's Degas exhibit, and sleep a whole helluva
    lot more than we did.

Copyright 1999 by Michael J. Legeros



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