Clarksdale and Vicksburg convinced me that no matter what, I was going to New Orleans – I was a few days ahead from my plan, I’d just got energized by the power of music, I’d got the money for this journey… New Orleans, here I come!
As it was a last minute decision, I posted on CouchSurfing emergency group and while I was still in Vicksburg, I tried sending some messages, yet I had nothing. Suddenly Beau answered he’d host me, I was safe. The journey itself was horrible. First I drove with an old man with an extreme redneck accent, extremely white, saying that I am brave to travel looking like I looked, ‘y’all have a nice pair of titties’… he was at least a hundred, so as he said ‘y’all don’t have to be afraid of me, I’m too old, but I woulda be scared’. Then I caught a black trucker who kept on saying ‘you giiiirl, show me your white legs’ and he was completely harmless apart from some creepy questions he’d started asking… I told him to leave me by the first intersection. There I caught a ride with an older extreme conservative dude. I realized I left my beautiful like me sign ‘New Orleans’ in the truck ugly like it’s driver, so the older man took me to Walmart, bought me a sharpie and, as he didn’t understand I’d find one in the garbage somewhere, he also bought me a carton box. I made a new sign, stood by the road and got a ride from a nice man in a pick-up truck. At that time I already loved pick-ups. He offered that if I still stand where he leaves me, I can stay for the night with him and his family. I didn’t have to, cause I caught those super scary gangsta dudes in bandanas driving a sports car to Baton Rouge. For the hour of our ride they didn’t speak at all, only texted, both of them, all the time, I’ve already started thinking, that maybe they were texting each other with a plan of my masacre. I had no idea what they spoke about and they had no idea where they were. We already passed the intersection on which they took I-12 W and I should have been taken I-10 South. Damn!
So they left me on a highway where I thought I’d die, but luckily [spoiler alert!] I did not. I did caught a ride with a Danny Devito looking guy in a sport car. His name was Bob. Perfect name for a Danny Devito looking person! We drove together for about 10 miles, he wanted to cancell his plans and drive me to NOLA but I asured him I’d be alright. So I caught a ride with a policeman. A small, ugly policeman, smiley. He was really nice. And then he turned really creepy. He had a gun in his car (but didn’t want to show me). He told me a story about a 14 years old girl from LA, who escaped home, hitch-hiked to Chicago and had sex for accomodation with random people. That’s Louisiana for you! He wanted to kiss me before I went away and he almost did. I had his phone number in case something happens.
I had a cup of good, as for the US, coffee on Bourbon street, walked around looking for a place to stash my backpack and the guitar but nobody was helpful. Finally I had a beer in this bar and took a train to Napoleons Ave. Beau picked me up, he looked exactly like I thought he would, just his eyes had something different, something you respected him for. His brilliant idea was: let’s go and check out the cementary when it’s dark. I swear, the sunset in New Orleans is purple and the city is full of powers. All the traditions, tragic histories, different religions, ritual all around and most important: musical rituals everywhere, give NOLA a lot of souls in the air. You feel it wherever you go. The cementary was extremly spooky. Do you know that the people in New Orleans are buried above the groud level? It’s because of the waters being high and just bringing up the bodies from the ground.
[yeah, the beads are everywhere in NOLA! Unfortunately so are the people: ]
I’ve also learned that Nicolas Cage has already bought a sarcophagus and it’s a piramid. I’ve also learned that Nicolas Cage bought LaLauries house. A note from Wikipedia about what happened there:
‘There were women chained to beds with their stomachs cut open, and their intestines wrapped about their waists There were men with their eyeballs poked out and their private parts mutilated, all while being chained to a wall. Some slaves’ intestines were nailed to the floor. One firefighter described a woman with her arms cut off, with patterns of her skin dug out. One person even had animal feces in their mouth, which was sewn shut.’
During the days I wandered the streets alone, in the evenings I wandered the streets with Beau and his flatmate Christine – the funniest person in the world. One of these days I just got changed. Bourbon street did it. A street brass band did it. First I saw this sign so I had a drink in this restaurant:
And then I danced to the music on the street. I danced like crazy, people around me were recording me on their cell phones, yet I just didn’t care any more. I was myself.
The next day I decided the time had come to finally go to Frenchman Street. I entered the name in Googlemaps, searched the route, took a bus, sit on there nicely checking for my bus stop with googlemaps in my hand… And suddenly I realized that the neighborhood is becoming nasty, the people on the streets were bandanas and I’m the only white person anywhere near. I left on ‘Frenchman Street’ stop, hided in McDonalds, waited for my bus back to the city, came out, met a really nice but extremely fat dude and we went towards the city centre on the bus. He didn’t go with me, wasn’t creepy. He just showed me where to leave the bus.
On the real part of Frenchman Street there was music being played everywhere.
[By the way: the lady from the picture was recognized later by my LA friend Ryan]
One of the bars was mostly ancouraging with it’s music – Jon on the guitar and vocals and Alex on trumpet. Since I took the first look inside Alex was smiling really encouragingly (ha, what a word!). The gig was really what I needed the most, that liveful gypsy music and the guys turned out to be amazing personalities. I met also Alex’ friend, Erin – an extremely attractive girl who was really excited to offer me to stay with her for the night, as the bus, I’d take the next day, would leave from in front of her appartment and on the top of that that’s Frenchman so we can just party how long we want to. I’m not sure now if one of these or the fact that Beau was hosting two French girls this night decided on me staying with Erin for the night. Alex drove to Beau’s to pick me up but it turned out that they immediately got the vibe with each other and Christine and we went partying together. What a night, what music! We danced in all these clubs and we sang in the streets. Alex played everywhere with everybody and everybody seemed to know him. He was an amazing dance partner, the best I ever had. We danced more than I ever danced in my entire life. That’s us: Christine, me, Alex, French ladies and Beau.
The folks went home, we went dancing, we danced all night long, until we finally fell aslep on Erin’s couch. In the morning she was the best, made some really amazing coffee. We went out with their friend, I remember he played the sax, I remember how he looked like, but not a clue what his name was. It was the first day of Satchmo festival! So we danced again like crazy, this time in the streets. In gardens, on the festival, on sidewalks and on the roadway. We just danced.
It was hot there at this time and the air was full of fumes. It was beautiful. I felt that this was THE time. It’s Alex’ birthday and this is why I chose this story for today.
When I was leaving I contemplated words of Beau: New Orleans doesn’t give you anything you need, yet gives you everything you don’t. Which I decided was 100% right with one only exception that all I didn’t need was what I actually needed and this is why NOLA gave me so much happiness. On the jazz vibe with my feet twistin’ I went to Houston in a most scary of all buses. And the most scary person sat next to me. But heh, that’s the car cult of the US.