Friday, July 24, 2009

What's best in New Orleans

Best of Big Easy by Phil LaMancusa #1
Take our local free press (please)! ‘Ya gotta love ‘em’, as they say. No matter what your bent is, there’s a publication, free for the taking, to be had. That is unless you are a person of a sixth world ethnicity, political weirdly oriented, sexual persuasion/perversion performer, restricted diet militant, fugue music loving goon from Nowhere’s-ville. And would I be worth my brown-nosing salt if I didn’t mention Where Y’at? Not on your tintype. The only thing that we lack is an advice column and a horoscope section (okay, maybe a soduku or whatever that is) and we’d be up there with, oh, I don’t know, The New York Times!
Well seriously, now that I’ve got my tongue out of my cheek, don’t you ritualistically pick up Gambit, Ambush, The Levee, Spiritual Awakenings, Saint Charles, Off Beat and/or Where Y’at every frigging time that you see one laying around? Of course you do! “Why, Madge, you’re soaking in it now!”
I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but, this is not that big of a town. And, If I were a betting man, I’d give you eight to five that we’ve got more free rags than Timbuktu!
Best of Big Easy by Phil LaMancusa #2
Okay, you’ve got to hand it to us. As an American microcosm, The Big Easy has all the respect for it’s elected officials as a Mexican street urchin has for a piñata at Christmas time. In fact government bashing has been brought to a new level by much of my constituents and fellow residents. Especially us veterans of the “Thing”. Stand in any line, sit in any waiting room, ride any public conveyance and start a conversation with “how about that City Hall?”
No, it’s not our sports teams, our bi-polar weather systems, our food culture or even our fashion challenged news reporters; if you want to start a group discussion with strangers, just ask “anyone heard from the mayor?” or “what’s up with the city council, school board, water or traffic departments”.
There is no antidote for the poisons that we’ve been carrying in our hearts and our minds as to how every day one form of government or another has let us down with absolutely no shame whatsoever.
New New Orleanean’s have zero faith in our leaders and for good reason. Obviously, no one in our local so called organized government (don’t get us started on State or Federal) gives a flip about us. We might have to suck it up, but we sure as hell can and do complain bitterly. Good for us!
Best of #3
What I really love, for sure, is our levees. Unless you live on a major American waterway you probably believe that a levee is something in a blues song used as a form of the word leverage. Growing up in the north, I didn’t know what one was and never had the word in my vocabulary until I moved here and now the word ‘levee’ is much more than a physical barrier that keeps us all from breathing our oxygen mixed with two parts hydrogen.
NOW the word levee is no longer just this mound of dirt/flimsy jut of steel; it’s part of a sentence. A walk, a kiss or taking the dog for a run on; for starters. A sunrise, a sit-down or just simply ‘going up to…’. I don’t usually picnic, nap or try to hail a taxi from up there; but, muse, play or play music for that matter cogitates real fine.
Contrawise, a trip to the levee is always a good way to observe and meditate on the vagaries of human existence and life in general. To be aware that the river rises and falls with regularity influenced by it’s travels, travails and inflections as before time immemorial at hundreds of thousands of gallons per second, or the speed of thought.
#4 if you please:
How about this for a candidate on the subject of the Best of The Big Easy: Uncle Louie. I feel sorry for you folks that don’t live or work in the French Quarter. You’re missing one of God’s own displays of children that refuse to grow up. You’re missing the spectacle of Peter’s lost boys, of the coming to town by the gypsies, troubadours, fortune tellers, mimes, magicians, charlatans and tricksters that we as residents enjoy every day in some form/degree or another.
Of course, then again you don’t get to contend with the hustles, muggings, public displays of body fluids, drug deals and drunks in doorways like we do. Your chained bicycle is not up for grabs like ours are. I consider it a wash.
However, in the realm of the Master Thespian is the artist known as Uncle Louie. In the comings and goings of life; ‘he stands like a statue, becomes part of the machine’. Impeccably and completely in white (except for an American flag hat) he is frozen, mid stride, in too many locations to map unless you know his routine. His faithful cigar smoking pup (leashed of course) attends and he’s poetry in loco-non-motion. And “if you don’t know what I’m talkin’ ‘bout… you better ass somebody!”

1 comment:

sheryl sellers said...

Mean ol levee...Taught me to weep and moan...