Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Oblivious nation in New Orleans 2009 part 1
New Orleans Feb 2009
Miss O arrives just in time to run over to Muse parade around 9p.m., of all the parades this was my favorite! Elvis’s on mopeds, gasoline, Antoinette, 9th ward marching band and I mustn’t fail to mention the astounding amount of youth marching bands! Whoa!
After the parade was finished Karen and myself marched ourselves over to the Circle bar.
(Karen by the way has been one of my closest friends since 1986, we have fought, loved and ouija boarded ourselves into adult hood! Soon after high school we both lived in downtown San Jose on our schwins and very late, late nights. Although there are times we may not see each other for long- periods our bond is strong! She was my first friend to visit me when I moved to Seattle so we could celebrate 20 years of friendship on 6-6-06. In 1995 Karen went to NOLA to be at Mardi gras for the restaurant she was working at in SJ. Basically she never left and the last time I had visited her was 1997 and I have a foggy recollection of that 3-day escapade spent in the swampy bijou. We normally see each other on holidays since her family still resides in Morgan Hill! Yet it was time for me to get some inspiration, spend quality time with one of my best gals before she tied the knot with her Argentinan hunk and to relax and recollect myself from the day-to-day drone of the NW)
the circle bar
I researched everything I could get my eyes on before arriving, as to give me a bit of direction when she had to be at work, after leaving the Circle bar we drove back to her place off of Esplanade a gorgeous Victorian built in 1882.After a few drinks it was easy to fall asleep!
I awoke in the morning anxious to get into the quarter! I hailed a cab from the Krishna’s that live across the street from Karen. Had a lovely meal on St>Anne’s with full view of the cathedral and line of a dozen or so psychic/tarot readers insisting that I needed their advice! I passed and walked into a dusty ‘ol mask store. This was not your typical tourist trap! Masks from Halloween and past Mardi gras. I quickly swooped up a devil and old southern captain for under 5 bucks!
I was heading for the Voodoo museum / store and was not impressed with the manufactured items that were available!
I wondered through the cobblestone narrow street for hours upon hours soaking in all the beauty! I stumbled upon Street urchin bands that sounded like cupids on tranquilizers from the turn of century; they entertained me until I decided it was time for coffee and bunyas! My feet were killing me and I realized that I had just spent 5 hours wandering! DELIGHT! After my energizing and scrumptious break I headed into the opposite direction form my last excursion! Stumbled upon a cute store on the corner run my two cute ladies! http://ragindaisy.com/ 901 Chartres Street! Cute vintage and new stuff! I mean all kinds o’ stuff! Clothes, accessories! Xoxoo After that shopping overdose I needed a bloody Mary and to meet up with Karen, so I sipped on my Mary and hailed a cab! Did you know you could leave the bar with your drink and walk around! COOL!
A costume change, a rest for the head and it was time for dinner! Karen took me to a great authentic Italian meal Adolfo’s that was located down the street from the Spotted Cat on Frenchman street. Which we patronized both places!
We then headed over to 9th ward/lower river turf! I had made tentative plans to meet up with Miss Pussycat. To my excitement she was entering the Saturn Bar on St.Claude. Which happens to be continently located across the street from Spell caster lounge, which was my agenda for the following night. Wonderful bands form Memphis and local electronic noise brigades filled the air! Then low and behold at the end of the bar was the super badass blues persona Lightning Lee from Miss Pussycats puppet program! Wow! Also a truly musical gem of our time exceeding and overflowing talent! After a few drinks we decided to visit dj PASTA an ol pal from California that also moved to NO years and years ago! Which was at mares or something!
So there ya go my first 29 hours in New Orleans!
Official day 2 in the big easy
Miss Pussycat had informed us that the parade would be around 2 p.m. so Karen and I fully glamour and glitter zed ourselves for the occasion! The Parade would start in front of the Saturn and parade, as you will around the neighborhood! The 9th ward marching band led the way and Karen had mixed us some strong Mary’s for the trooping! We marched at the end then I being the old building architecture freak that I am slowed down to photograph the breathtaking, incredibly stunning homes! A little shabby filled with more character then you could veer shake at a river rat! Wowza~
Little galleries, used stores, bars and artist wondering the streets! This is the location of were the notorious flood devastated a community! Spray painted X’s with numbers still reside on the front of each residence! The magic in NOLA is how they rise from tragedy and have done so for the last 300 years!
Retrieving the car Karen decided I needed to check out the artist living space located inside an 1800-year era schoolhouse! Another big WOW! An art, steam-punk car was constructed with some of the most divine dark sculptures I have ever witnessed!
Next, Great junk stores located on Frenchman street! GREAT! And I mean fantastic! You can find loads of treasures for pennies, well maybe not pennies but for fewer than 5 bucks! Mardi Gras and costumes needed to be complete within the next 2 days! So the by-water was by far the best choice for odds n’ ends! We also enjoyed another great meal! The sun had set and if we were going to attend the big party at Spell caster lounge then a nap was indeed a must! We awoke around midnight made up our faces or at least I did! Lots o’ pink and lots o’ glitter! Never too much! Karen is a natural beauty,
We filled our mason jars with OJ (not Simpson) and vodka! YUM!
We strolled on down the path, a side entrance from Mister Quintron and Miss Pussycats home into a magical garden, people were wall to wall, filling the path into the actual lounge. To the left a bar is located with an entire wall of Quintron paraphernalia, records and décor! I thought the garden and entrance/ bar was packed I hadn’t seen nothing yet!~ The main room were two stages reside was a sardine runway of perspiration ,bouncing bodies and fantastic sounds form boys in short.. Short, longhair beards and headbands! Crowd surfing mayhem! Quintron saw high fiv’ed and me me, in a few moments time the band ended and Miss Pussycat proceeded as DJ spinning vinyl in her shark costume! The drinks were low and I needed to refill before Mister Quintron & Miss Pussyacat took the stage! Their stage in their basement was all the magic happens! The unspoken location! Opening with” Waterfall” I danced and danced til I was hyper-venelating and needed to step out for some fresh air!! These were the type of nights I dreamt of spending in the southern decadent city! When the party ended it was about 3 a.m. and Karen felt that we HAD to stop by the mother-in-law so that Antoinette could meet me before Mardi gras! I had met her late hubby Ernie K-doe on my last visit!
So we stopped in and Antoinette was very pleased to see Karen, it had been awhile! We chatted and promised that the mother-in-law Lounge would be our Mardi gras headquarters! Did I mention that there is an entire mural on the side of the building of Quintron & Miss Pussycat along with some other New Orleans legends!
By this time I had been in NOLA 48 hours!
Morning 3 tres amore’
This was another work day for Karen, so again I went to a brunch in the quarter, iced coffee and trekked to the Garden District I heard there was a great shoe store in which I never found! If you have never been to Mardi Gras it lasts a very long time practically starting in January with dozens and dozens of parades!
I realized one of the main parades had started so I was to plant my self on a bar stool so I could get comfy for a few hours…Magazine street was welcoming and I decided after 3 or 4 faboo Mary’s, bloody that is! It was almost Karen’s time to get off work. As luck would have it, a cab was close to impossible, but I did it! Due to another parade downtown I had to be let out 20 blocks from Karen’s work! Finally we encountered one another and fled to shopping for last minute carnival accessories! Dinner was at a quaint little diner by her place were we devoured fried green tomatoes and I had two huge icy mugs of beer!! Residing early, for the following morning would be my first official Mardi Gras experience! The anxious flutters in my tummy were busy!
Morning 4 festival eccentric
We awoke 8 a.m; I decided I’d make breakfast and screwdrivers in mason jars to start our day! Dressing to impress and over exiling us, Karen had the radio tuned in with the good ol timey sounds! Distraught dismay our ears heard news, which we wished had deceived us! The terrible news!!! ANTOINETTE had passed away last night!
Mardi Gras would not be the same! But would still happen, so we finished dressing and followed our saddened hearts to the quarter! This would be a day I’d never forget! Of course I had only met Antoinette once but her persona and eccentric nature is what inspires ladies like me!
Fleeing with all the costumed characters we pranced down St.Annes street, ordering a drink as soon as one was finished! Karen introduced me to this tasty champagne/juice bottle sold at fine corner stores in Louisiana! We’d share a bottle in a icy plastic cup as we watched the parade! Children hopping around, senior citizens decked in there best and lots and lots of tourist!
This was Mardi Gras, So much better than I had imagined! No bourbon street floozy’s, no blockhead nimrods hollering to show me your tits! ~ Next on our stop was the river, which as soon as I heard “river” Concrete Blond lyrics flowed through my brain, and for the rest of the day I sang “down by the river” at the top of my lungs! The St.Anne parade ends at the river were participants traditionally let the ashes of loved ones free into the water! Some of the best costumes I witnessed were here! WOW! After a sun nap we would trek through the lower end of the quarter to the mother-in-law lounge! Nitty gritty bars, dirt covered porches we arrived! Lightning Lee was playing; people were in shock form Antoinette’s passing! Yet the party remained in full force! At least that was my viewpoint as a Nubian! We drank and drank and drank! Finally it was 5 ish in the afternoon and we were ready to hit the sack! After watching all the lovely queer booty bouncers on Esplanade our chariot charted us back to our palace! SLEEP..SLEEP PIZZA…. Ahhhhhh…sweet! I survived my first Mardi Gras/Carnival/ southern extravaganza!
Morning 5 decadent rejuvenation!
To our surprise we awoke bushy tailed! The morning was spent showering, coffee drinking, cemetery hopping, photo shoots and lunching!
Karen had to do dome paper work so I decided to patronize the New Orleans Museum and check out the photo exhibit of “Depression”. Some inspiring visuals of insanity at the turn of the century and I was able to see one of my favorite photographers work in person! Joel-Peter Witkin! Karen swooped me up for a divine dinner at
la Vita! With our tummies full, I was anxious to experience the Paraplex! A paranormal museum and research center located in a 130-year-old morgue surrounded by a cemetery with plots in the ground! I was in heaven! A room of haunted objects, a séance room a oujia room and many many Victorian dark art pieces! They purchased many of my favorite artist’s Madame Talbot curio boxes and posters!
Since my gal Karen is a concierge in New Orleans we had full reign of the place, which included a thorough guide!
The basement is home to a Hollywood haunted house! Part of Anne Rice’s doll collection now lives here! Haunted art, ghost simulators! Just to name a few of the cool things going on! As explained on their site. ..All under the roof of an actively haunted, 14,000 square foot, 3-story mansion, surrounded by Cities of the Dead & with nine ISPR-identified resident earthbound Entities (Ghosts) documented since July 2007. .. resident earthbound Entities (
We went home after this grand adventure as I was glowing from delight!
Day 6.5 departure: alluring as a rash!
Awakening knowing that this afternoon would be the time to say goodbye to this southern glory, my heart sank!
Though I missed my family tremendously I do have a spot in my heart and dream of someday residing in a haunted Victorian palace and being acquainted with the river rats, I know that for now my home is in the sappy glorious Northwest in stumble town!
Also a place my heart yearned to be for years! I do appreciate my new home in Ballard but can’t quite hold back from speaking the truth of southern decadence my soul feels at ease from the soggy air, broken sidewalks and myths that lye within the history of this haunted village people refer to as the big easy!
Magic flows through the veins of each resident, voodoo is a normal religion and a non-haunted location is considered strange!
I will return on May 10th for more stories to tell and mystical wonders to uncover!
Xoxoox Miss Oblivious