Version 2.0

Culture, healing, politics and bullshit - Not necessarily in that order

The general, socio-political and very personal rantings and ravings of a hip hop head from the hood hustling for change... Of himself.

You all know me and are aware that I am unable to remain silent. At times to be silent is to lie. For silence can be interpreted as acquiescence.
—Miguel de Unamuno


Friday, March 06, 2009

(Update) Walking To New Orleans

I've been to this place before. That's what I was thinking as I took I-10 around into the city. I remember coming to this place as a drunk heathen in undergrad and the times I drove thru as a truck driver. I remember arriving at ground zero less than a year after Katrina and thinking that is was akin to something I saw in an old science fiction movie. New Orleans was very quiet in 2006 and you couldn't get in via interstate 10 because Lake Pontchartrain took it but now, 10 was like a main artery feeding trucks and cars into one of the most tragically beautiful places I ever laid my eyes on.

At one time I thought I'd get a woman pregnant and would have to move here to take care of her and properly raise my seed. A classmate from high school moved there and at one time I had a little 'business' in the Big Easy. New Orleans has a few memories tucked away involving lil' old Hassan. For the most part, I was too drunk to remember much. That never stopped me from wanting to go back even though coming back this time would be damn scandalously different. I headed to the Crescent City last week with my wife.

This time I hit Bourbon Street as a family man. No frat, no business partner trying to get me to hook up with that fine ass divorce from accounting during the morning seminar. No truckers telling me not to buy any hand crafted art because the bones and spirit of the dead inhabit the ceramic and stone. No hanging out at sporting events with drunk Army buddies... I was minutes from checking into a French Quarter hotel with my other half.

I was taking vacation, so I was primed to act accordingly. Even though I really wanted a drink.

And some crawfish.

My time keeps getting away from me, so I'll blog as I go. Look for more of this throughout the day and over the weekend. I'll time stamp things as well...

Friday - 6:50 PM

A long time ago I was a different person. I was this arrogant asshole of a man standing only on my military accomplishments, half of it the public could not know. I was a young, black Karl Rove, headed to New Orleans with a smirk on my face because I knew some things others didn't, got through a bunch of red tape and political bullshit and now it was time to celebrate. It was the first time I took a vacation as an adult and it was myself and a few Army cats actually calling our trip a sane form of raping and pillaging. Raping the bars of its liquid gold and pillaging (or filtering) through the different kinds of women Nawlins had to offer. We were young, fit and trim and we survived war so you could tell us nothing. That was almost twenty years ago and I can remember nothing but getting there and using a cell phone for the first time to call a mate from my old unit out of Colorado that was already there. Other than that, the call of alcohol rung in my ears and the feeling of numb stung me from my fingers to my toes.

I remember the feeling of alcohol and not walking the Quarter or being in the hotel. I remember being downtown accessing the lobby but I can't remember much else except for me going to the airport to head to Chicago. I remember my mother picking me up from the airport and me riding the expressway back into the heart of the south side wondering why I felt the way I did when I left Korea. Oh, I drank heavily there too, every day. New Orleans is a welcoming city but it feels like your are no longer in the States. The warm feeling welcomes to to the neighborhoods and the banks east and west of the central business district but if you choose to stay downtown or in the French Quarter, you are in a foreign country. I miss home so much that back in the day I'd drink myself numb in order to function normally.

I got that feeling once my wife and I got to the hotel room. All I wanted to do is drop my bags and get out on the Quarter. Our accommodations were on Dauphin, so we were one block away from Bourbon smack dab in the middle of the Quarter. We checked in, checked our respective emails and looked at each other. How do I show her that I am not the monster I was twenty years ago? Didn't have to. She looked at me and said: "Let's go get a drink." When we walked outside and headed to Bourbon, all of the tingly feelies came back.

And I smelled craw daddies.

Shit, it's the Thursday after Fat Tuesday and the Quarter seemed empty. Oh, it was only 8 o'clock and we were both standing in front of one of those walk up daiquiri joints. I didn't know if my wife had a hurricane before but we bought one for each of us and I also got a huge cup of Heineken. Here I am, double fisting adult beverages with my wife and she performed some of the hardest sipping I had ever seen. She was trying very hard to get to the bottom of that cup. Them Bourbon street beverages will do that to ya. I reminded her that we had all night, still had to eat and that the drink was laced with Everclear. We stumbled down to one of the best restaurants on Bourbon and all I could think was introducing my wife to fried alligator. Once I got some semblance of beans and rice..


LadyLee said...

I had the same nostalgic feelings during my visit to Nawlins last month. It's something else, ain't it?

Can't wait to hear more about your visit.

Anonymous said...

I just wanna go on the record as saying.....I've been drinking Hurricanes for 12 years now. LOL

Big Mark 243 said...

Good read ... what MOS were your?

Oh, and I admire you and what I have read about you so far. Do your thing ..! You are a unsung hero.

Gallis said...

Are we getting pictures? Hey, someone needs to crack the whip around here....