‘Tit Rex

What a great way to be welcomed back to New Orleans!

After a great dive trip with Bill and the boys, I was exhausted from the sun, the relative sleep deprivation, a big nitrogen load, the unusual physical activity of clambering around the the boats, too much rum, and more intense social interaction than usual with four guys on a 44 footer for a couple of weeks. It will take a few days just to get my land legs back.

My flight was delayed by a couple of hours, putting me into New Orleans a little after midnight on Krewe du Vieux parade night. People were still out at 1AM in the neighborhood in costume, all looking a little worse for wear. I just didn’t have enough energy to join the party late and called it a day. Next year!

Sunday I woke up to a very rare 80 degree and sunny day and it felt great-I flew 1500 miles and found the St. Croix weather. I did have to scrounge around for a pair of clean pair of shorts, but it was fun seeing a perfect summery day. I walked around town running errands and it was like a switch had been turned on. It is now Carnival! The bars and restaurants are full, everyone has glitter stuck on them, the streets are full of tourists, and every third or fourth person is in costume or is wearing some kind of bling, like a Marie Antoinette wig or Marvin the Martian antennae. The street greeting is now “Happy Mardi Gras”.

I had lunch with neighbors in the courtyard, just enjoying the weather as I did laundry and epoxied the sole back on a flip-flop that had not survived the salt water experience. I walked into the French Quarter in an unsuccessful quest for a replacement pair(flip flops seem essential at 80 degrees) and sat at Harry’s Corner for a beer. Kristen showed up, and I said I was on my way to ‘tit Rex. ‘Tit Rex is the tiny float parade(petit) and mocking the big Rex parade on Mardi Gras day, and is pronounced in Cajun fashion T-Rex. She joined me, and we walked into the Marigny. She directed us to Siberia on St. Claude, the end point of the parade.

Siberia is a late night joint that caters to a younger late night crowd with rock and punk music. I had not been there before, and Kristen, who manages a po-boy shop, goes there for the sandwiches. They do Russian and Polish food quite well. I had a goat cheese and mushroom blini and pierogis, and would go again for the food. I will make a point to stay up for the late show and head that way one night. A little bit of an edge, but a good one. I was wearing a Fat Stan’s t-shirt from Ketchikan, and was approached by a woman from Ketchikan who now lives in the Marigny and does art. She did the half-time thing for a few years, and we know a lot of the same people. I have seen her art in Ray Troll’s gallery, and a little around town. We made plans to get coffee later in the week.

We decided not to wait on the parade, and started walking the parade route backwards until we ran into the parade. As we walked, stopping now and again in the bigger pockets of crowd, looking down the street. One 50-ish woman, impeccably dressed and made up like she was going to church, looked at Kristen and said “I’m not looking at your tits, I’m just trying to read your shirt.” There’s a conversation starter right there. She pointed at the bar across the street, and advised us not to do more than one of the champagne bongs there, or you might start commenting on other people’s anatomy.

We continued on, finding the parade on Mandeville. It was great fun, with three non-traditional brass bands, playing Beastie Boys(You gotta fight…for your right…to PARTY) and Nirvana as they marched. The floats were politically funny and they were handing out tiny throws-my favorites were a bottle cap decorated like an old fashioned cameo brooch and a ten page hand drawn comic book as big as my thumbnail.

I wandered by Touro Street on my way home and got sucked into the Touro Street Vortex. Chris and Cecile were on the porch entertaining their guests, a couple from Canada who clearly felt like being in New Orleans was a little much. I am confident they would have felt a lot more comfortable watching hockey than being shocked by the very mild debauchery of the Tebo porch. They looked trapped, and were absolutely not interested in recommendations for food or music. ‘Tit Rex was still rolling four blocks away, and “oh, no, we couldn’t possibly do that.” Apparently the New Orleans gene missed them clean.

Cecile got called out for an officer involved shooting, and Chris and I went to the R-Bar where he played pool and we chatted. Cecile just bought a house in Bay St. Louis, on the beach about an hour away from NOLA, and her plan is to go down for weekends with friends. It will be a lot of fun to join that party when the opportunity presents itself. It might be a good place to go if I am here when we have to tent the house for termites.

It was a great full day to be welcomed back to New Orleans, with friends, fun and good weather. I’ll work on a sailing log and photos over the next few days along with the house projects and getting oriented for the next week of Carnival. I might even have time to do some more sewing on King Tut.

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