Friends are in New Orleans, my old stomping ground, sort of.
Why indeed? Money, mostly, but also because my New Orleans is long, long gone – was long gone before Katrina, even, lost to development and neglect and gentrification. My New Orleans floats in a haze of heat and alcohol and all-day strolls around the Quarter or the Garden District, spending my hard-earned pennies on trinkets from the French Market, or a muffaletta without the meat, or Campari anywhere I could find it in a town awash with hurricanes and Dixie beer.
My New Orleans is Skinny Puppy on the Too Dark Park tour, in an old movie palace off Canal, fireworks in the pit projecting shadows of the moshers on the sculpted plaster ceiling. It’s standing gothily outside Anne Rice’s house, hoping she’d come out and say Hi, contenting ourselves with petting her dogs. [Since this pre-dated the internet, we had to find it based solely on descriptions in The Witching Hour, and were pretty pleased with ourselves when we did.]
My New Orleans is cramming my CRX full of friends and caravanning down to UNO with a friend in his CRX likewise crammed, to see the Cure on the Wish tour.
My New Orleans is dimly-lit goth clubs, grubby occult stores, a random dive bar with Bauhaus on the jukebox, a cafe where I took my sweetie that one time he visited me in the swamp. It’s where I went after finals every semester – my reward – dragging my bestie, probably less than $20 in my pocket, not enough to get the CD version of 1979-1983 and lunch.
My New Orleans was Bloodletting come to life – we got the ways and means, to New Orleans, going down by the river where it’s warm and green. We’ll have a drink, and walk around – we got a lot to think about, oh, yeah.
It’s a hallowed place, full of mostly fun times, sometimes with too much alcohol, always with a selection of my beloved friends, who have since dispersed to the far reaches of the globe or departed this vale of tears.
I haven’t been back in ages, and I’m not sure I can go back, now. It would be too … different. Wrong. Maybe one day I can go back, if I can make it be a new place in my head, not my old place.
But maybe … maybe it’s best it stays frozen in amber.
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