Saturday, February 11, 2012
April in Paradise
Po Boy Views By Phil LaMancusa Dancing In The Street Or Do It In The Road Dear Abby: It’s April in New Orleans and I just don’t know what to do with myself; any suggestions? Signed: Without a Clue in the Crescent City. Dear Clueless: pick up a copy of Where Y’at, seek counseling, buy a vowel, file your taxes and go get a life. Well, Cats and Hats, you’ve gotten the first part (a copy of Where Y’at) and I’m here to give you the second part. At the end of this discourse I’ll sell you a vowel; I promise. First of all, if you pick up this entertainment magazine in a timely manner (and I hope that you do) you will have already participated in a singular amazing event; to wit: The Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival (TWNOLF) March 21-25, you would have read last month’s article and said: “Hey!…. put yer cheaters on Ethel, we goin’ t’get some culcha”. If you didn’t, well, it ain’t my fault. Then, coming on the heels of that fantabulous event, you now pick up this issue; and, surprise, surprise: mucho many much more monkeyshines (!): “Ethel! Are you awake?” So, now it’s half past The Easter Passover Parade, your bonnet, chocolate bunnies and them damn colored egg salad leftovers and all; and so you want to know what’s next? Well, I’ll tell you: French Quarter Festival. Then comes the Angola Rodeo, hot sauce, strawberry, and crawfish festivals and then FLEET (“hello, Sailor”) WEEK!!! Then, cruise on into The Jazz And Heritage Festival; you’re off and running. But, one Fest at a time. Let’s take French Quarter Festival… please. April 12-14. Remember last year you said it was so much fun that this year you were going to rent a hotel room and spend the whole weekend in the Quarter? Do it now. And, welcome back to the quarter, you’ll find some of your favorite shops still here, some have moved and some have bit the dust; good, honest, hardworking people all. The economic turndown has hit in the form of the evaporation of our visitors disposable income, and, the shops that are left are running on shoestrings with smiling faces and tightened belts; it’s been a tough year. Some advice to you-- unless you want to come back next year to a Disney like FQ – spread some bread in some locally owned shops. I know, food and drink takes a chomp from your wallet but, hey, put some aside for the natives; I’m not talking shoeshine punks and tap dancers, and, get a bag, a bag from the shop that serviced you. Nothing is more disheartening for a shop owner than to look out into a sea of strolling citizens and see not one shopping bag. The rule of thumb here is; no bags, no shoppers-- CIMB--- (cry in my beer):>( French Quarter Festival. There’ll be music and fine weather and strolling characters; runaway princesses; puppets; pirates; paupers; poets and pickpockets. Pawns and Kings and you will be the guests of honor to the greatest, still free of charge, celebration on the face of the planet. Explore other parts of the Quarter; the side streets of Ursuline, St. Philip and Dumaine. Eat all the street food that your stomachs can handle and then take a break and have more great food in one (or more) of our local restaurants. I expect you to tip like you mean it. Watch for the intimidation of street hustlers, loose women and stay away from alcoholic drinks that come in colors not found in nature. Try to be aware of traffic flow and permit pedestrians free passage. Be suspect of strangers blocking the sidewalk wanting to engage in casual conversation or “bet I can tell you where you got your shoes.” Unaccompanied minors have a curfew here, the indigents have no call to be obnoxious and the parking is no longer free, cheap or easy. The parking Nazis will do their best to ticket you and it’s now okay for them to boot your vehicle for minor infractions. Also, the local cop station has a phone number 504-821-2222; go by the tenet as we do here: ‘if you see something, say something’. Now for the bad news; there is no bad news. April and May are glorious times in Louisiana for festivals and unless you’re chained to a wall, in a dungeon, you should catch as many as you can. Work is highly over-rated and life is fleeting. As the bard will tell you; “If not you…who? If not now…when?” One more favor to the local merchants: buy your toy soldiers at the Toy Soldier Shop; your bread at a bakery; jewelry at a jewelry shop; art at galleries; books at bookshops; souvenirs, antiques, wine, posters, pints and po-boys….same thing. The Quarter is still ate up with charming places to visit, folks to talk to, things to see and people to do. The shop owners and workers here are the friendliest, personable and most accommodating as you’ll find anywhere. If you see something that you want and don’t wish to schlep it about; the majority of shops will hold, ship and in some cases deliver purchases to your hotel (you did make that reservation, didn’t you?). We know that we have a lot of locals that come here for this festival and many visitors as well; we’re proud that you’ve come here to celebrate with us and you can count on us to do you right on many levels. Now about that vowel: one dollar (make you holler). A? (means that you can’t hear me); Eee!! (means you’ve probably seen one of our smaller local mammals); I, I (suggests that you are a seafarer); O? (you’re surprised?) U (you know who U R); which one would you like?