TravelBlogue:  An All-I'mErican Journey









Friday, April 21, 2000
From Beignets to Babes

Yesterday was a good day. I've discovered the secret to a happy life in N'awlins -- sleep until the afternoon and party until morning. Duh.

Finally headed out around 2 because I was starving. James told me I had to go to Mothers for Jambalaya. Bumped into a woman from the hostel on the St. Charles street car and we decided to go together. She was headed to Brennan's for their 7 course brunch, but figured she didn't want to get there at the end and have a server anxious to get home and old, stale food, so she came with me.

The jambalaya was good, but it was also $7 for a little bowl. Holly speculated that it was a result of that area being built up now that the Riverwalk and casinos are there. It had previously been run down and the food was probably as cheap as it was good.

We ended up spending the entire day together, mostly talking about travel and going into business for yourself. She was in New Orleans accompanying a group for her adventure travel company, EXPLORE the EARTH inc., which she bills as Adventures that are Good for the Soul. She really seems to know her stuff and leads groups across the US from Miami to San Francisco (both directions), through Europe, in Mexico for the Days of the Dead and up to Alaska. Talking to her only increased my travel lust.

After Mother's, Holly asked if I was ready for dessert. A woman after my own heart. We went to Cafe du Monde, the original New Orleans coffeehouse for beignets, the French donuts I mentioned yesterday. The service was swift and impersonal, but at least it wasn't with that completely put out to serve you San Francisco Java Jockey mentality. We had 6 beignets and 2 Cafe Au Lait (mine iced) for $6. If I weren't so lazy, I'd go there everyday for breakfast. No matter, it's open 24 hours.

It was really great meeting someone with the same interests, particularly now that I have vowed never to work in an office again. I'd even do what I was doing before at Jive, because I did enjoy it (it was just difficult being the only admin for 5 people and Project Coordinator (basically, I was an assistant producer for artist and corporate web sites). I just never pictured myself working in an office, it's my worst nightmare -- makes me feel trapped and limited in nearly every way. Yet I do have a strong work ethic, so, as Holly reiterated to me, I'm a prime cadidate for entreprenuership. I agree with her that it will be great to finally combine my right and left brain activity (creativity and organization).

I accompanied Holly on to meet a friend arriving yesterday. Her group was on a riverboat ride and had the evening off after that, so she had a free day. We all got along well and the drinking began in Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith shop. If you make plans to meet there, be sure to give the right name, because the other Jean Lafitte bar is a gay bar. Not knowing that, hilarity ensued.

We parted around 11 and I tried to have dinner at ACME, which Holly had reccomended. Unfortunately, it had closed, so I went across the street to Felix's Oysterhouse, on the corner of Bourbon and Iberville. The crawfish etouffee wasn't quite what I expected (I expected tomato sauce, but it can also be prepared with a brown sauce, as mine was), but delicious and spicy nonetheless.

After that, I headed to Big Daddy's, a strip club that my friend Sharpie said I had to visit. I got distracted by the promise of "live sex acts" at a club (the name of which, 8 beers later, I cannot recall) a few doors before that. It was unusual in that it had men and women. The line up was a guy, a woman, a male/female couple, a woman, another guy, another woman and two women...if memory serves, which it probably doesn't. I was surprised to see so many women there, mostly with men, but there was a pair of women right at the bar around the stage that were the best sports, tipping and talking with all the dancers.

Then I headed over to Big Daddy's, which promises to have the "prettiest girls in the south." I'd have to say they were prettier. One thing that surprised me at both is the range of women -- different heights, hair color and length and even weights (now it makes sense why, the first time a woman I knew in SF invited me to come see her "dance," several of the dancers asked if I wanted to try seemed absurd at the time). From movies and TV (ah, see how the bullshit rots your brain), you'd think it was all tall, skinny blondes sporting silicon.

You know what's funny about my life? I can scarcely get noticed with a normal, intelligent guy, but strippers love me. It's not a money thing, either, I make it clear that I'm a cheapskate (broke, more like) and even when they have seen there is not enough in my wallet for a lap dance, they sit with me and hug me and tell me I'm sexy. I'd have to say all that attention is indeed worth a $7 beer. I find them to generally be very sweet, even though I know much of it is an act for tips (though again, they know they aren't getting anything from me). Like waitpersons, exotic dancers survive on tips and thus learn (if they weren't born) to flirt shamelessly, but with a note of authenticity.

I used to tell my ex-boyfriend this and it drove him pretty crazy. I'm especially fond of mentioning that my bathroom is their dressing room, so I get free private time with the dancers, who inevitably approach me, because I'm usually the only woman there and always the only one there by herself. Last night the toilet overflowed right before I went in, so I entered only to find a topless woman in full stage make up mopping up. We got to chatting and, as it turns out, she lived a few blocks from me in San Francisco's Tenderloin district. She worked at Mitchell Brothers but said, though she liked the girl-on-girl shows, she didn't get into the fetish stuff.

Sometimes I just feel like a human tape recorder...people just like telling me their stories. link
posted by Erica Jackson 4/21/2000 4:38:23 PM


Thursday, April 20, 2000

Now I know why they call it the Big Easy

Because you don't have to do anything you don't want. So I'm not. I was even too lazy to go out for more beignet. I was shocked to find out during the course of this trip that, of the seven deadly sins, sloth wins out over gluttony for me any day of the week.

Just stopping by to fix some code. Never went to that camera, because I'm a lazy sod.

Should I go on a Swamp or Voodoo/Cemetary tour? Can't pass up the Vampire Tour, either. One even offers a tour of the Garden District, stopping by Anne Rice's and Trent Reznor's home. Really, I should find out where he lives and stop by at noon to wake him up, as revenge for him calling my roomie in San Francisco at 4 am and waking the entire household up in the process. It was while he was working with Bowie and we were all sworn to secrecy for months. Now that I'm in N'awlins, I know why he'd be up at 4 am.

I've got to leave at some point, but I tell ya, I'm not looking forward to that sun. I can't complain, because I was basically travelling with the thunderstorms thus far, but after that and a winter in New York, I'm grown unaccustomed to the warmth. I'll stop by that camera sometime today, I'm sure, and several times this week, so keep a look out. link
posted by Erica Jackson 4/20/2000 12:20:59 PM


When in Rome...

12:07 am...I am so lame, Blogger finally let me update. I kept getting a message that it was down, while noticing that it was letting other people update. Weird.

9:05 pm OK, so I lie...I'm not going out, my feet are tired from walking all over the Quarter and standing at the Internet terminal for an hour. Shame, shame, shame on me, but it's been a week since I could check my email, I was in withdrawal.

Catching up on my reading, I discovered today that Pamie would call me if she went crazy .

7:48 pm, CST

So this is the second time I started this entry, I don't know why, but the damn thing reloaded the page while I was typing. I'm at a pay terminal at the hostel, shortly before 8 pm Wednesday. I mention the time because Blogger is down at the moment and I'll have to post this later. Oh yeah, I'm in New Orleans. I arrived here this morning at 7. It will probably be my last major stop, as I'm running out of time and money. So I plan to party hardy. I was drunk by 3 pm and plan to stay that way as much as possible.

My apologies for the lack of updates, but I didn't see a computer the entire time I spent in Memphis. It was nice to be free of the electronic leash for a few days, actually. That enabled me to hang out with the locals and have a few beers with the couple in the next cabin.

I regret to confess that I got totally sucked into Graceland. I suspect there are subliminal messages in all the constantly piped in Elvis music and films -- "buy buy buy." It sure as hell doesn't help that the exit to every museum (I did the "Platinum Tour"), including the airplanes, was through the gift shop. Yeah, like Lisa Marie needs my money. I was really buying the tale of the American Dream (and Tragedy)...I believe Mojo Nixon said it best with "Elvis is Everywhere." Everybody's got a little Elvis in 'em...except for Michael J. Fox.

Also, I guess I'm just not cut out to be a budget traveller. I'm not willing to eat soup and tuna when I'm in the South, what with all the fabulous local cuisine. I sure wouldn't've missed out on the fabulous shrimp Po-Boy I had today. That was gorgeous!

Then there's all the Elvis crap. I bought coasters for my college roomie Dorothy and shotglasses for her best friend Jenn, about 40 post cards, a Sun Studio (official birthplace of Rock and/or Roll) t-shirt and Graceland book for me and other items I can't even remember. Between that, the admissions to the National Civil Rights Museum on the site of the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was assassinated and to Graceland, cab fare because buses and the Sun Studios shuttle stop at 6, oh and the peanut butter and banana sandwiches, hey, I dropped more than expected during what I had originally planned as a two day visit to Memphis. I ended up staying four nights -- three in a cute, little log cabin on the KOA Graceland campground and the last of which, at the Days Inn Graceland, featuring 24-hour Elvis movies. I just couldn't resist. I left the tv on all night, so it was very surreal to wake up in a different, absurd position in the King (ha ha, now I get it) size bed with the King himself inevitably singing whenever I half opened my eyes. I'd never seen an Elvis movie before, so it was a new experience. He's an ex-con -- who sings! He's a race car driver -- who sings! He's a country boy -- who sings!

How'd ya like to see me on Bourbon Street ? How about tomorrow...say 11 am EST/8 am PST?

I'm off to get dressed up and head back to the Quarter for some Jambalaya, you might even catch me on that cam tonight, if I'm sober enough to remember where it's located. link
posted by Erica Jackson 4/20/2000 1:07:15 AM


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