Introduction to Bourbon

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.

Bourbon Street...in the rain

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”:

The Garden District tour guide called the Bald Cypress trees 'Naked Ladies'. I found it amusing!
This is NOT me...

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!

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28 thoughts on “Introduction to Bourbon

    • jannatwrites March 6, 2012 / 8:54 PM

      You’re right, Phil. I’m glad I had the opportunity to go, also. Thanks for continuing to follow my recap of the trip 🙂

  1. Widdershins March 6, 2012 / 9:38 AM

    … but imagine the story fodder you would’ve had if you’d taken him up on the offer!

    • jannatwrites March 6, 2012 / 8:56 PM

      I cringe just imagining it, Widdershins. I’m glad there are other ways to think up a story 🙂

  2. momsomniac March 6, 2012 / 9:50 AM

    LOL! Bourbon street is for tourists! Your response to it shows taste and and appreciation for the more elegant aspects of the city.

    By the way – since I ran out my reply options yesterday – I wanted to say I did have a safety net of friends. I thank God for that. : ) And…a memoir would be maudlin and make too many people angry!

    I am loving your sweet & honest posts about this trip.

    • jannatwrites March 6, 2012 / 9:01 PM

      I guess some tourists like Bourbon, so I’ll leave it to them to keep the party going 🙂

      I’m glad you had friends to help you. I’m thinking a memoir that could incite anger might be a juicy read! I’m just messing with you….if it’s a story that needs to be told, I’m sure you’ll tell it.

      Thanks for following my posts about the trip. I think I’ll wrap it up Thursday with the things I liked. (I can’t promise a few more pictures won’t sneak in later, though…I got some fun scenery shots :))

  3. suzicate March 6, 2012 / 11:16 AM

    I actually hated Mardi Gras. People stomped right over you to grab beads and doubloons. I dislike crowds anyway, but those people were ruthless! However, I had no idea I was looking at “naked ladies”!

    • jannatwrites March 6, 2012 / 9:03 PM

      Wow, you survived Mardi Gras? I’m impressed, SuziCate. Just thinking of the crowds makes it hard for me to breathe…I would never make it! With all the Mardi Gras craziness, I’m not surprised the “Naked Ladies” didn’t stand out to you 🙂

  4. Debbie March 6, 2012 / 11:38 AM

    Yep, I knew you’d figure it out! Every city has a “seedy” side — Bourbon Street, despite its fame, despite its lure as a tourist attraction, certainly can be most seedy. And I’ve seen those provocative beads all along the Gulf Coast, not just in New Orleans — in addition to their prominent display of naked body parts, some have obvious drug and alcohol references, too. Wonder why the baser elements are considered attractive?

    • jannatwrites March 6, 2012 / 9:08 PM

      You’re right, Debbie. Every city has a dark side. I manage to avoid those areas where I live, so that could be why Bourbon was so much of a shock!

      Before I left for the trip, my husband kept teasing me about flashing for beads. I almost bought some beads so I could come home and tell him I did it – and then I could get the last laugh 🙂

  5. rerodan March 6, 2012 / 12:03 PM

    I am a Nigerian even though my country is vastly diverse, I am ever intrigued by the U.S, North/South, Hispanic/Afro/irish/Italian/Jewish dichotomies.

    My introduction to New Orleans was through the classic late 60’s movie ‘ Easy Riders’ about 2 free spirited hippies played by Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper who were crossing America on their bikes all the way to New Orleans in time for the Mardi Gras. I would love to visit there sometime

    • jannatwrites March 6, 2012 / 9:14 PM

      I have heard of the Easy Riders, but I haven’t seen it. I bet the city has changed a lot since then! I hope you do get to visit sometime – there is certainly a lot to enjoy and I think there’s probably something for everyone. (My son would LOVE to do one of their swamp tours. We’ll have to see if we can make it a family trip in a few years.)

      I thank you for stopping by to read about my New Orelans adventure, Rerodan. I’m planning to wrap it up Thursday before everyone gets bored 🙂

  6. nrhatch March 6, 2012 / 12:35 PM

    Widdershins is right . . . you would have gained some real insights for your writing if you had chosen to audition.

    You could have done a take off on the Mulberry Street childrens book . . . only for adults:

    AND TO THINK I BARED IT ALL ON BOURBON STREET! 😆

    • jannatwrites March 6, 2012 / 9:17 PM

      I suppose I could’ve gained some insights, but I think everyone is better off with those insights unrealized, Nancy. Just like there are things that should be left unsaid, there are things that should be left unseen…my bare chest being one of them!

      You do have a catchy idea there…perhaps YOU could go an excursion to New Orleans and bring that project to fruition? 😉

  7. newwhitebear March 6, 2012 / 1:45 PM

    The visit of New orleans continues. beutiful and amzing town! I always thought that it was full of mysteries.
    “There’s fun for the ladies, too,” 😆
    Greetings to you

    • jannatwrites March 6, 2012 / 9:19 PM

      Yes, the man was a salesman, but we weren’t buying! New Orleans has a rich history. I’ve heard there are supposed to be a lot of haunted buildings, but that would scare the wits out of me, so I stayed away from anything with a reputation of being haunted!

  8. jeanne March 6, 2012 / 6:29 PM

    Everyone “does” Bourbon Street once…then they get around to experiencing the character and depth NOLA has to offer. I am looking forward to Thursday’s posting.

    • jannatwrites March 6, 2012 / 9:23 PM

      I’d like to go back to New Orleans as a family sometime and I will not feel cheated if we skip Bourbon Street. I would like to try more of their restaurants. With the wedding and the hotel’s free breakfast, we only ate 3 meals out. Thanks for reading about my trip to New Orleans – I’m excited for Thursday’s post, too because I get to look at all the pictures again while I put it together 🙂

    • jannatwrites March 6, 2012 / 9:25 PM

      Can you beleive it – I didn’t eat a single po’boy 😳 That means I have to go back for sure. Thanks for stopping by and reading about my trip, Connor!

  9. judithhb March 7, 2012 / 1:02 PM

    “There’s fun for the ladies too”. Even if you had only gone in as ‘sightseer’ rather than a ‘performer’ you could have kept us entertained with things you had seen.
    I am looking forward to reading more of your NO adventures. 🙂

    • jannatwrites March 8, 2012 / 12:14 AM

      I’m not sure if I could’ve kept my wits about me – I would have felt so embarrassed and awkward! Maybe next time, Judith….maybe next time 😉

      Thanks for stopping by!

  10. mairzeebp March 7, 2012 / 1:56 PM

    We’re holding auditions would have stopped me dead in my tracks and then the laughter heard near and far that would push it’s way out of the depths of my gut into the air would be something of legend. Thank you for sharing!

    • jannatwrites March 8, 2012 / 12:15 AM

      That’s about how I felt, Mairzeebp. If we were bolder types, perhaps we could have made him sorry for his boldness (by auditioning.) Alas, that opportunity has passed 😉

    • jannatwrites March 8, 2012 / 12:18 AM

      Ah, there’s a classic, Carl. Funny, with the candidate choices I’ve seen, Ollie doesn’t sound so bad. Okay, it’s not funny…it’s depressing.

  11. pattisj March 7, 2012 / 7:27 PM

    Glad you survived Bourbon to come back and tell us about it!

    • jannatwrites March 8, 2012 / 12:19 AM

      Me too, Patti! I’m glad I saw it, but once is definitely enough for me. What a relief to find that the French Quarter was much more than Bourbon 🙂

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