New Art

The crosstown march to the urgent care place in the rain worked fine, and the enrollment process was easier than expected. They didn’t blink at the insurance, not even requiring a co-pay, and they were able to pull portions of my medical record, like my medications list from somewhere. I’m guessing Aetna, but it is not clear. It would be nice to have better control of that somehow, but it is not worth the effort. The rubber thing was gone by the time I got there, having fallen out sometime. Slightly embarrassing and inconvenient, but it was good to get it checked out.

I decided to skip furniture shopping on St. Charles to avoid the long walk in the rain, and walked back through the quarter. There was a guy named Al at the Chart Room telling old time New Orleans stories, like searching for the best red beans in town. He ended up in the Bywater at Melvin’s(not sure if it is the same Melvin’s on St. Claude or not), and when he went in Melvin, all 350 pounds of him, was sitting out front talking with folks. Al sat down, and they told jokes for a while with no food forthcoming. A large woman came out from the kitchen with a long spoon in one hand and a chef’s knife in the other, saying “If you don’t get back in this kitchen, I’m gonna slice you open.” Melvin shrugged his shoulders, said “Women. What you gonna do?” and went back to work. Apparently good red beans at Melvin’s.

I talked with the good witch at the Hole in the Wall, who was making gris-gris for Mardi Gras. She said she takes the weekend off from the bar when she can find a substitute bartender, and works the parade route. She sets up with a couple of neighbors and sells drinks from their “spot” that they have maintained for the last decade or so. She says she will make $1000 a day there versus $400 a day in the bar on a busy weekend, and she can sell magic stuff on the side.

I had a good hamburger at Buffa’s, which took all the motivation to do anything else right out of me, but did get a a good start on a history of Jean Lafitte. It is kind of interesting to read a history based on a very slim historical record. The writer extrapolates from a few ledger entries in customs and immigration records and the broader history of the time, like the slave revolts in Saint Domingo, into chapters of speculation. Lafitte “may have” done this or that. I’m hoping there is more meat and potatoes later. It is also interesting to read the work of an unreformed Southerner-the slaves who revolted were “disgruntled”, not engaged in a fight against oppression. His other books include a biography of Jefferson Davis- “A man for his hour”-so I probably should not have been surprised.

Thursday was clear and cold for here, about 40 in the morning and warming up to 50, but sunny. I walked across the Quarter and the CBD to St. Charles Avenue and the Heirloom Furniture store. It is a consignment shop with flexible pricing based on how long stuff has been in the store. I sat in every chair in the place, and looked at a couple of armoires but nothing was perfect enough to replace what we have. I’ll keep looking, but I’m thinking the chair will have to be a new purchase. I’m not seeing anything pop up that is good looking, small enough for our space, and comfortable. People apparently hang on to their comfy chairs. A piece of art caught my eye, an original nude pastel sketch by a New Orleans-famous portrait artist, Tim Trapolin. That one made it to the bedroom wall.

I went out to dba for the Jon Cleary solo piano show. His first set was Dr. John/Professor Longhair style standards and some originals in the same style and down very well. The crowd was a mix of cruise shippers and conventioneers who weren’t quite buying in. The second set was a Carnival set-he said it was the first one of the season for him. He hit “Mardi Gras Mambo”, “Going to New Orleans”, “Iko-Iko”, and half a dozen more Carnival standards. The folks liked that a bit better.

The town is ramping up, with the first big parade weekend-Krewe Boheme and Krewe D’Vieux-February 15 and 16, and then Mardi Gras isn’t until March 5, with more shenanigans every day. I should get back from the Boy’s Trip and drop right into the whirlwind.

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