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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 disturbing. 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 person. 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 others. 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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Copyright 2021 by Michael J. Legeros