From Happy Hour: a Bourbon Street Confessional
New Orleans post Katrina is a wonderfully odd place. A chemically driven, sexual playground trying to find itself; the cross dressing cousin of straight America, a good ole’ boy run sideshow, complete with back alley handshakes, lubed up and lost in the fight for it’s soul. In today’s New Orleans, a lot more is for sale than just the cups of beer. Everyone is hustling for something.
Even the world famous traffic tranny that directs cars down by St. Ann Street wants a few bucks to keep his cup full as he waves cars into all directions on busy weekend nights. We’re confused as piles of new money are coming in as never before. New Orleans is no longer a dirty little secret. Everyone knows about us now. We’re worried about what the soul of this city is becoming and how much is for sale? Atlanta and Austin bloomed on either side of this little section of hell, all while New Orleans was under water.
Everything in this city is changing, for better or worse. The Wild West times are becoming farer and fewer, but there have been times in my illustrious career that I’ve looked around and realized What the FUCK am I doing here?
One of my real New Orleans-centric moments was when I was DJing blind drunk on a Halloween, and a shooting happened right in front of the club. Instantly, our door staff scrambled, shutting all of the exits and trapping the customers inside. When it was safe to exit, half of Bourbon Street was blocked off, and a body lie face down, in costume. Blood pooled around the corpse, and slack jawed tourists snapped photos for their friends back home. It was a depressing moment, that even on Halloween, someone can get killed in New Orleans. Sure, we have cops but most of the time, they’re too busy fucking off, or mugging for some tail from Iowa. I stood at our gate and looked out toward the crowd of onlookers aghast at our brutal reality. I walked back into the bar knowing our night was fucked. A body was feet from our door and cops were scribbling things down. That’s a death knell for anyone trying to make a few bucks, even on Halloween. I went immediately over to the bar and swallowed some whiskey.
Drunk out of my mind, I tried to rationalize this life, but as my head swam with grain alcohol, I gave up and went back out on a bender. It was one of my first instances where I asked myself plenty of ethereal questions about life and the beyond. Many moments in the business left indelible scars mentally, and that Halloween was one of them despite my alcoholic intake.
The fragility of the whole human geonome was something I’d never really taken into consideration up to that point. Bourbon Street was teaching more than college ever did. Instead of being surrounded by like minds who I’d be competing with for jobs, I was thrown into a sea of personalities driven not by passion, but by predatory need for money. Most of my comrades were uneducated, and raw but through that rawness and self efficient state of mind, the reality of personality shined brighter than anyone I’d ever met thus far.
The Quarter’s fabric of people taught me I’d be meeting some very interesting people, and after all of the time spent, I never stopped meeting the strange and unusual.