Friday, June 18, 2010

Fear and Loathing on Bourbon Street

I am not a drinker. I stopped drinking after it got kicked out of my own art gallery opening back in 04. I am a smoker, a joker and a midnight toker. Tonight my new roomate from was looking for a wingman on Bourbon Street so I went. New Orleans is not a town for solo binges. It's too easy to end up in jail or the E.R. if no one is there to watch your back. He was footing the tab, so how could I say no. A good ol boy from Georgia named Lefty who needed to cut loose in his new town of New Orleans. I didn't really have much experience here other than applying for work on Bourbon. At best I'm a light weight drinker with nothing but war stories from the Jersey Shore.

We started out at the clubs I had applied for work at. Stiletto's for a couple of beers then onto Larry Flynt's Barely Legal club. It was cool, friendly staff with Lefty paying for beers and shots of Wild Turkey as he chatted up some dancers. When we were at Larry's, Lefty kept asking the bartender "Where can we find old Cougar dancers?" Which was cool with me since an old fart like me should be arrested for looking at any woman under forty. The bartender was a sweety and drew us a map to "Dixie Chicks" on Iberville. We should stayed at Barely Legal, things started to spiral downward as soon as we left there.

It's vague what our exact itinerary was after that, just that we ended up getting kicked out of the Penthouse Club. Apparently me puking my guts out in the men's room was reason enough to get us evicted. Wild Turkey, bad medicine if you haven't tied one on in several years and haven't eaten in 24 hours. I think I was cool, subtle and polite, just a little nauseous. Next thing we knew some bouncer was asking us to depart since I had vomited about $40 in drinks behind a closed door in the men's room stall. As a former cab driver on the Jersey Shore I respected that policy, no hard feelings. I had become one of the passengers I hated.

Lefty was making a good move on some redheaded dancer. Exiting the men's room I was in better shape than I had been in a couple of hours. Lefty, a burly construction worker was having a good time and didn't want to leave. The bouncer said for us to finish our $10 drinks and leave. I guess we didn't move fast enough, soon four guys in suits were standing behind us tapping their toes. Our exit got a little tense with four bouncers pushing my buddy through the door as I tugged on his arm pulling him out. A block down the street I looked down at my hand in the neon light to see blood smeared across it. Lefty looked at his to see a hand from a crime scene. We still aren't sure who's blood it was or where exactly it came from.

Using the contents of my pockets I was able to piece together events of last night.

Between my volcanic esophagus and a bloody altercation with strip club bouncers I suggested that we hail a cab and retreat to a safe position back across the river. Lefty was determined to find the club on Iberville with the mature ladies of poles. My limited knowledge of the French Quarter and dumb luck led us to a neon glow "DIXIE CHICKS." A dark street, dark entrance to a very dark bar presented a dark omen. Lefty entered the establishment with a zig zag walk that looked like he was dodging sniper fire. I stumbled in behind him with my motor skills slowly returning after my dry heaving. Anytime a strip club is this dark, there is a good reason. Either they don't offer the dancers a dental plan or something lascivious is taking place on the premises. We never got to find out. Placing a drink order of a shot of Wild Turkey and a ginger ale Lefty loudly questioned the price of $14. "Seven bucks a drink, take it or leave it" the bikeresque bartender said.

Lefty leaned as far as he could over the stage / bar to question the math involved in our tab. I was reaching for my beverage to hydrate my body. Sweating and vomiting for several hours had reduced my blood to a solid matter. A large powerful hand gripped the scruff of my neck and an stern voice in my ear spoke. "Get your buddy out of here." I don't know if it was a hand and voice of a bouncer or God himself, but it carried authority. I tugged at Lefty's tied died shirt sleeve as the hand on my neck steered me like a puppet out the door.

I was given the cliche' shove over the threshold with the intent of planting my face on the urine soaked cobble stones outside. I hooked my elbow around a cast iron lamp post. As I spun 180 degrees Lefty was backing out of the door yelling profanities and shaking a fist. Soon we were in a cab going back over the bridge. I was telling our driver how I drove cab on the Jersey Shore. Ali responded "Jersey Shore? Like the TV show? How can you stand those assholes?" I chuckled at the irony as I fell out of his cab in Algiers.

1 comment:

  1. Cougars ?

    Scadaborous skanks is more like it . . .
    The "clubs" on lower Iberville have long taken da cake, and are the last vestige of the time when "Decatur Street was still Decatur Street."

    Anyway, a good FNG story . . .