Back from another whirlwind in New Orleans, and the New Orleans Film Festival, where NOLA Bound premiered at The Joy Theater. You can watch the whole piece online now. Crista Rock did an amazing job, the production is super fancy, and I can’t imagine how crazy she must have gone editing down all the footage!
This time my husband, my mom, step-dad, and other friends came into town. It was a swell couple of parties that got thrown on Sunday night (even DJ Spooky did a set at Bellocq!), and we were lucky to have 9 or so of the participants of the program come down for the screening, if only some for a day. I also got to meet some new people I had been aware of online. I was even a last minute addition to the Nerd Nite organized by Champ Superstar at one of my favorite places, Mimi’s! My husband met some news friends as a result of the NOLA Bound program too! And well, a whole lot of eating, bottomless coffee from Stein’s, dive bars, fancy lunches, partying, movie going (Prytania is the oldest theater in Louisiana I found out), and shopping got done along way. My husband picked out a dress for me at Trashy Diva that, I only now realize, made my boobs look pretty epic. But hey, where else am I gonna show off the jugs if not my own film premiere? We did decide to do one “cultural” thing, and that was The Civil War Museum. Did you know you can buy an assortment of Confederate flags, DVD copies of “Song of the South” and “The Little Rebel” in their gift shop? Well you can. Hey, I have shot glasses of Confederate Generals 1861-1865, so whatever.
This was my 3rd time down, and New Orleans has now become like an adopted home for me. I am familiar with the neighborhoods, places, and some of the politics, enough where I feel almost like a semi-resident. The Lower Garden District is the neighborhood that feels most like home to me, and I kept referring to it as “my” neighborhood on accident at times. There were even a few times I gave tourists directions and knew what bus routes or street car stops they should take! I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to move there full-time; the salaries are weak, rents are high, the medical care still isn’t where it should be for my needs and for how often I’m in an exam room (I need good insurance), and I think I’d probably die in the summers. As another former Cleveland resident put it, “it’s the most functional northern Caribbean city”. For now, it’s a place to look forward to visiting unless fate unfolds in a way I don’t expect. I’m thankful I have a lot of good friends down there now, especially Chris Boyd, who let my husband and I be his house guests for 5 days! He was batting 1000 with his food recommendations for my family, too. Then again, I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad meal in the city. Already, my husband and I hate tourists who walk around with hand grenade drinks, picking beads up off the dirty streets and who act a fool by throwing up on everything. Anyone would hate that in their city, which is part of why NOLA Bound seeks to change the marketing of New Orleans from just those few blocks of Bourbon Street. Clover Grill is the only reason to ever go there, otherwise I tell people to stay away from that area at all costs (and they never listen to me).
One thing I never thought I’d see in my life was my husband dressed in a cat mask leading a renegade parade of costumed dancers, farm animals without leashes, a bulldog on a lounge-on-wheels, and a wine squirting silver lion float, through the Marigny and parts of the French Quarter. He stopped leading once he realized we didn’t know where we were supposed to take this mobile dance party. That whole experience was pretty amazing as we stopped traffic and caused a lot of commotion once we entered the Quarter with all the tourists joining. There were a lot of parades that night, but ours didn’t have a police escort, nor a brass band. I do remember a few drag queens with whistles directing traffic at one point!
director Crista Rock snapped this, just a typical Saturday night.
Let’s see, places I went:
Vernon, for men’s clothes (though I hear it’s being taken over soon)
The Saint (duh)
Molly’s on Decatur
Mimi’s in the Marigny
Juan’s Flying Burrito
Emeril’s New Orleans
Jimmy J’s Cafe
13 on Frenchmen
Some of these I went to 2-4 times or had been before but I recommend them all.
I met a couple of Tulane students at the bus stop well after midnight on a Saturday, we were trying to help some drunk driving girls park their car properly because they were blocking the street car stop and vomiting out their windows (yes, the driver was vomiting!). One kid was from Maryland and said he never heard of Tulane until he applied, “it’s corrupt but the price was right”, which seems to be like a lot of things in the city. I think he put it best when dealing with the darker side of the city and the realities of living there, “if you act like everything is fine, you’ll get treated right, but if you get negative and start to hate on it, the city will know and she will drive you out! The city knows your thoughts, and she will make you pay if you don’t like her! If you ever get frustrated, don’t let on that you are.” I think that’s pretty accurate, as I know as many people who have been driven out as who have moved there and love it. Until next time, my lovely dirty coast.