As they say about party season in New Orleans, it is a marathon not a sprint. Tonight, Halloween proper, will be mid-way through the Halloween fortnight, beginning with the Krewe of Boo parade two weekends prior, Halloween parties and shows the weekend before, and ending with the Day of the Dead second lines the weekend after.
As Halloween approaches, it gets harder to play the costume or street clothes game. Is the man wearing camouflage trousers, a National Park Service parka and carrying a camera playing some obscure character from a movie-the villain from Jumanji, perhaps? Or are these the warmest clothes a real tourist brought with him? Is the woman with heavy makeup, elaborate hair, and glitter wearing a cheerleader dress in costume as a burlesque dancer or is she the real thing? Black and gold sequined jacket over black tights and a gold top hat-flashy costume or Saints fan on the way to work? Dressed like a punk rocker or gutter punk or working musician? Sometimes there are clear giveaways, like a punk wearing a blanket as an outer layer or pumpkin-themed attire, but the skulls and bones are common enough daily wear that you have to look close. It’s a good game you can play almost year round, and perhaps a photo project inspiration.
I overheard a young woman dressed like a gutter punk, in all black, showing a lot of skin and piercings, describing the difference between being a traveler and a hobo(on her iPhone, which I’m thinking throws her clearly in the poseur category). “We choose to be homeless.” I had John Travolta in my ear saying “Isn’t that just a bum?”
I finally made it to the newly renovated Historic New Orleans Collection museum. It is a beautifully restored three story townhouse with a huge courtyard that has a nice cafe and gift shop. They went for museum modern rather than period replication, but some of the architectural details were maintained, including the well in the courtyard. The old paving stones were still present, and the round well, about a foot under the modern floor of the courtyard showed the water table that rises and falls with the Mississippi-currently about 18 inches under the city. I enjoyed the maps and an exhibit of colored drawings of the city and river life from the early 19th century. In general, I think the collection would be hard to understand if you did not have a good grounding in New Orleans history, but they do have a large staff and offer frequent tours.
I watched the World Series finale at Buffa’s over a plate of red beans. Buffa’s red beans are the straight down the middle comfort food version, just right without being showy. I’m glad the Nats won, but it carried none of the emotional power of a Cubs win. It was like hearing your neighbor won the lottery-good for you, but…. I ran into our former tenant Pam in the courtyard as she was visiting the upstairs neighbors, and she is in person lie she is long distance-scattered and apologetic, very interested in trying to make it seem like she is doing the right thing without actually doing it. She told some stories about our problem neighbor Steve, and explained that she had locked herself out and he had “helped” by trying to break in to our house with a pipe wrench on the door knob. I was glad to hear that it wasn’t a burglar in the courtyard, and had a suspicion that Steve had something to do with the scratched up door. I’m glad to no longer be in a business relationship with her. I think running into her on the street every now and again will be plenty.
I need to develop a better plan for Halloween this evening, but I’m sure it will fall together. I will be out in full photographer mode for the Day of the Dead second line-a nice warmup for Mardi Gras.