Squeaking in right under the wire, mrpeenee manages to crank out one last post in 2020, and a time related to boot. 2020, while unarguably a craptastic year, was also the 40th anniversary of my landing in New Orleans to start a really beloved spree there. I can see how lucky I am that I cannot pick one single Happiest Time in My Life, and the idea that my New Orleans life is not a hands down winner is amazing, but that’s what you get when you also have an existence in San Francisco with R Man competing against it. The burdens of a happy life.
And my time there was giddily happy. I was young, homosex was kind of hip and certainly widely available, the food was so incredible, I made wonderful friends (all of whom are dead now. Alas,) I met the love of my life, and the vivid nature of New Orleans, so bawdy and loud and colorful and above all else, happy, embraced me and I embraced it right back.
The old girl (New Orleans, not me) is full of quirks, especially in regards to traditions, and there wasn’t one I turned up my nose at. Voodoo, parades and how to navigate them, MARDI GRAS, poboy sammiches, a drag queen named Blanche whom I learned not to cross, the list goes on. I remember looking around my first French Quarter apartment and marveling at the massive cast iron hooks that latched the shutters close. When the house was built in the 1840s, the pirates those hooks had originally been designed to foil had pretty much gone the way of legend, but New Orleans does not forget easily and those hooks could come in handy. “I’m living in an antique,” I thought, but then learned to appreciate the hardware when I discovered tourists would do just about anything to peek in at my humble flat.
Yeah, it wasn’t all laughs. I was poor as a poor rat and there was that darn old AIDS, I didn’t care. I’m sure at 25 everyone is just forming their personalities and I was just lucky that I was able to develop mine under the tutelage of such exuberant old whore. New Orleans made me the slightly dented man I am today and I’ll always be glad of it.
Let the good times roll.
Dreamy, with glasses no less.
It was wonderful to find myself somewhere that the importance of naps was understood.
Oh, to be young and hedonistic once again.
Tall, dark, handsome strangers in deserted back rooms were an important part of those times.
Adieu, New Orleans, mon amour