Trip to New Orleans, July, 1999
“Bite they tiny haids and pinch they li’l tails”
The salutation refers to the recommended manner of eating boiled crawfish.
Deb and I are just back from four days in N’Awlins, and ain’t that a naughty city!
We saw more decadence, late night go-cup drinking and reckless exposure of human erogenous zones in return for cheap, tawdry Mardi Gras beads than I thought possible, and that was our FIRST night on Bourbon Street!
I had my first Mint Julep in a Go-Cup, and now I’m hooked on ’em. We ate our way through the French Quarter like Mozambique Termites, and I gained five pounds on the tour. Mostly fried oysters on my part, mostly Gumbo and Jambalaya on Deb’s part.
We especially love the Napolean House Café, for a Pimm’s Cup, the Acme Oyster House for true Gumbo and Po’Boys, and le Café du Monde on Jackson Square for Beignets and Café Au Lait with Chicory.
We ate at the Bistro at Maison de Ville (our hotel), and had a truly orgasmic dining experience.  (I’m glad you weren’t there to hear me moan between the courses). Deborah had the Grilled Ahi Tuna with a simple salad, I had the Crawfish Remoulade on croutons with an Aioli, followed by their Caesar Salad with Reggiano Scaglio (Scales of Parmesan Reggiano sliced liberally on the Romaine) with four flash-fried oysters (incredibly rich and scrumptious), followed by a beef tenderloin (the largest I’ve seen) in a Southern Comfort, Tamarind and Coriander reduction of a mango chutney. This accompnied by a Potato/Gruyere Cheese Soufflé, which gave me the first hint I’ve ever had that potatoes might be more than just a nutritious fruit.
You get the point. New Orleans is a great place to gain weight. It’s also the best place in the continental USA to have a good time. This is because N’Awlins is a Caribbean city, like Santo Domingo or Havana, not an American city. In fact, N’Awlins is not part of the United States, it’s a separate country. Ask any Creole resident of the French Quarter and they’ll tell you that Americans are the arrivistes, the interlopers, the newcomers. The Creole Aristocracy simply refuses to aknowledge the American settlement of New Orleans.
We stayed in the hotel where Tennessee Williams finished “Streetcar Named Desire”. also, the private hotel in which the first “Coquetiel” was mixed in 1794, (leading to “Cocktail Hour” around the world). This was also the premises where the “Sazerac” was first poured in the 1870s.
John went sleepwalking around 3 AM on Monday Night. Deb didn’t know where he was. For all she knew, John was out on Bourbon Street, asleep, in the crowd, dressed in his skivvies. In that location, under those circumstances, no one would have noticed anything out of the ordinary, and he would have fitted right in, just like a Zombie. When Deb asked the night clerk if he had seen John, he answered in a true New Orleans drawl “We are trained to ignoah the puhculiarities of owah guests”.
Fortunately, she found me later, sitting at the door of our room in the Lotus Position. I hadn’t gone far, just out to the patio, then returned.
TOO MUCH FUN! Clearly, it was time to leave the Crescent City. The taxi to the airport was cool, but the driver could only speak Cajun-Mexicano, and I’m not that proficient.
Great flight on the DC-9, no water (a leak at New Orleans, meant no coffee or tea with lunch) and the caterers screwed up on the Executive Class lunch order. We got 5 fish and 3 steak, instead of the other way around. This means I got no steak for lunch. This pissed me off (flying Executive Class and all). I was a bit of an asshole about this, and the Skipper offered me a Cab Ride from Pittsburgh in to the Gate at Pearson. This was one of the great thrills of my life. You forget, looking out the side windows of an airplane, what a great view the pilot and copilot have.
Somewhere over Kentucky, we saw a KC-135 doing a mid-air refueling on a B2B Stealth Bomber. That was a sight.
Experienced pilots will tell you that flying a DC-9 is like driving a sports car, while flying a 747 is like driving a Greyhound Bus.
I got to see the road from the cockpit of that DC-9, and I’ll never be satisfied with anything less than small-plane flight. Lessons start September 7th. Who wants to come flyin’?
When we got into Pearson, more excitement. 
There was Kurt Russell, bobbing his head, trying to go unnoticed in the crowd at Terminal 2 waiting for the 4PM flight from LA. Deb and I thought he might be waiting for Goldie, so we hung for a bit. But, no, it was his teen-aged son, carrying  a golf-bag and no clothes to speak of. Is this the future? Children who play golf but do not change?
My brother Patrick’s comments on the week of “CNN – All John-John, All The Time” were, first, “That’s what you get for BUYING a pilot’s licence, instead of earning one!”. and then, “John John John, you been gone so long, you been gone gone gone so long”.
He’s as bad and naughty as New Orleans. Must be why I like the city; it reminds me of family!