The first time I encountered Bourbon, I experienced a rush of awe, dizzying curiosity, a healthy dose of shock, and a touch of anxiety about how I would feel the next day.
Of course, I’m talking about my first walk down Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. If this post was about Bourbon, the liquor, it would surely end with, “I don’t recall,” (to quote Oliver North in the Iran-Contra hearings*). Pardon me, my age is showing 🙂
* (Barely into my teens when the Iran-Contra scandal broke in the mid-1980s, I didn’t care about know the intricate details of what took place. I gathered that some high-ranking government officials walked the tightrope between legal and illegal and got busted. How shocking that our law makers would be law breakers. I remember Oliver North’s testimony playing on our TV and smirking as he “couldn’t recall” many of the events.
Even at my young age, I recognized these evasions as tail coverage because an admission under oath would confirm his guilt. I wondered if this tactic could work for me, too.
Mom: “I called and you weren’t at Debbie’s after school. Where were you?”
Me: (After thoughtful silence) “I don’t recall.”
I got grounded, but Mr. North kept his freedom. How’s that for American justice?)
Now, back to Bourbon Street…
Bourbon Street makes Las Vegas look like a church retreat. Vegas may have to surrender its “Sin City” nickname, as Bourbon boasts countless cabarets, and even live porn, as well as replicas of a certain part of the male anatomy worked into Mardi Gras beads and wind up “toys” sold in stores all along the street. Make no mistake, these toys aren’t for kids unless you want to risk a call from the Principal after Junior takes it to school for show and tell.
As we walked down Bourbon Street one evening, a man standing at the door of a cabaret extended an invitation to come on in. “There’s fun for the ladies, too,” he said. We responded with a polite, “no, thank you” and continued walking.
“We’re also holding auditions,” he added just as we passed by.
I couldn’t utter a polite declination through the laughter that escaped containment (I blame my lazy abdominal muscles for that.) I don’t know if he was trying to flatter us, if he suffered partial blindness from an unfortunate ocular disease, or if my long-sleeved shirt, zipped jacket and jeans expertly concealed the ugly truth that my swimsuit threatens to spill every summer. No matter what his reason for the offer, my sober mind knew that this was an offer that could (and for the sake of all that is good in the world) must be refused.
Though we didn’t audition at a cabaret, I did pose with a “Naked Lady”:
I’m sure you can tell by now that I wasn’t enamored with the famed Bourbon Street. Sorry, I am NOT the Mardi Gras Bead Queen. It’s definitely one long, crazy street party – and my idea of a party is watching “Sweet Home Alabama” with a friend while eating ice cream for dinner and brownies for dessert.
Bourbon Street didn’t ruin New Orleans for me at all, as there was so much else to love about the city. I will dedicate Thursday’s post to highlighting a few of my favorite (New Orleans) things. I hope you come back and check it out!