It’s easy to take New Orleans for granted if you’ve lived most of your life here, as I have. People who’ve grown up here have inflated expectations of how much greater the city could be if only…
Wanna pick New Orleans apart and talk about things that are wrong and don’t work? That was always easy, and recently you-know-who has made it even easier. I’ve spent a lot of time on my scooter trying out new places, most of all of which are not new. I just hadn’t bothered to find them. The Bywater area is a treasure trove, as is the Marigny. Somehow I managed to miss even the places that were right under my nose in the Uptown area. The other night I was at Delachaise to meet a friend for drinks and dinner. While I was waiting I struck up a conversation with Thierry (pron: “Terry”), the bartender who left Paris when he was 24 and wound up in New Orleans. “What other city in the U.S. could a bartender buy a house with beautiful hardwood floors and 14 foot ceilings?” he asked me with a cheshire grin.
Later, my friend arrived we entered into some deep discussion about the vagaries of psychological theories of personality disorders (always a crowd-pleaser). Thierry approached with a sheepish look and said, “I apologize for the intrusion, but I have an unusual request.” I smiled and told him I’d be happy to help if I could.
“My friend over there and I were talking and we have a disagreement and we would like to settle it with your help,” he explained. “I was hoping you could use your laptop to get on the wireless connection to check a fact for me so I can see if I’m right about something.”
“Sure,” I replied as I grabbed the knapsack with the Apple Powerbook.
“Could you check what year the Battle of Poitier was?” he said with a hopeful twist of the lips.
I looked up the information, which made Thierry’s lips turn downward. As he walked away I smiled, not because of his understandable historical memory lapse. No, I was thinking about something else completely. Where else in the United States can you find a Parisian bartender who lives in a nice house and makes bar bets based on 13th century battles? Okay, now among those few cities, which one also has bands of marauding transvestite shoplifters?
P.S. According to this site, the Battle of Poitier took place on Sept. 19, 1356.