It was 80 degrees on Monday, warm enough that I walked along the river and sat in the sun in a few places to try to bake the head cold away. I think the bagpiper practicing was probably more effective than the sun. I can’t imagine a better place to practice the bagpipes than across the tracks on the levee playing out toward the big river, but still the music must be an acquired taste. It was a good long walk through the Quarter. I went over to Buffa’s to watch a little football and get some red beans, but they had run out of beans on a Monday.

On Tuesday it was 40 headed for 32 overnight. A cold snap in New Orleans shuts the city down. Walking the neighborhood was like walking in a ghost town. I had a monster 4 1/2 hour tattooing session with Jamie Ruth, finishing one chest panel with the orcas and pumped a lot of color into the back. It is starting to look good, and you can see the plan coming together. It was hard for me to imagine from the line work, but the color completion of some of the major elements is making the art pop.

The longer tattooing sessions are tough, with the pain increasing as time goes on. The first hour or so is good except on sensitive spots(you have no idea how big the subcutaneous male nipple is), and after that it just gets worse. The sharpie used to sketch out detail starts to hurt, and then when the ink pen starts to work it gets hard to sit still. I know I am done when I start uncontrollably shivering, with the skin just saying “no more”. If all goes to plan, we will be done before Christmas, then let it heal solid for six or eight weeks, then go back and re-color those spots that need it and do some highlighting, and do that again next fall.

I rewarded myself with a oyster po-boy at Bamboula’s. Frenchmen Street was deserted, with less foot traffic than I think I have ever seen there. A few bands were playing their late afternoon gigs to a couple of people. I heard a nice set from a hard jazz quintet, all younger black guys. They looked like the geek squad from a local HS grown up a bit, and played well, with a clarinet leading the band. I didn’t recognize the songs played in bop style, which means they were probably mostly original. New Orleans is a great place to be when a sandwich and a beer at 5 pm means fried oysters and great music.

I was able to keep up with the cold overnight with the space heaters, around 60 in the condo, and it is supposed to warm up over the next few days.

The cold day meant a good day to walk the Quarter, staying on the sunny side of the street. I took advantage of the empty streets to explore Bourbon Street a little farther uptown than I usually do, cementing the location of The Old Absinthe House and Belle Époque in my mental geography. The Belle Époque is a speakeasy style absinthe bar through a “hidden” door in the main bar of the Old Absinthe House. It is run by a chef and bartender who designed the SouBou bar program, and features 1890s absinthe fountains originally from France. It will be a fun place to check out.

I picked up a couple of packages and made groceries, as they say, before the head cold caught up with me making the cold night not inviting for anything other than a mellow evening.

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