Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A beautiful motorcycle.

I've been driving around New Orleans trying to find an active American Legion post.  There don't seem to be any.  The American Legion website lists addresses for seven posts.  I visited six, the other is in Algiers.  None of them were open.  In fact, only one of them still seemed to exist, on Magazine Street, and I've never seen it open.

I'm not sure if this is sloppy bookkeeping by the Legion or if this is a post-Katrina phenomenon.  Most of the addresses looked they were never designed to host a fraternal organization.  The exception was on St. Claude Avenue which now seems to be a commercial event hall.

Founded after WWI, the American Legion saw a boom in membership after WWII, naturally.  Since then, the organization has seen its membership age.  I've often been the youngest legionnaire in the room and I'm not as young as I used to be.  Like many things, New Orleans fabric maintains vestiges of days and institutions gone by.  I don't know if I blame the Army Corps of Engineers' levee failure on this.  It may just be that the American Legion lost its relevance to New Orleans life.  It was tough to find an active post in Boston, a city with double the population.

In other news... My Little Ninja motorcycle has developed a disturbing rattle after being driven to Baton Rouge yesterday.  I'd like to blame the atrocious New Orleans street conditions but it seems long, highway speeds and the Little Ninja don't mix.  The same thing happened after I drove it down from Boston.  I bump and am jostled to smithereens on side streets all over New Orleans but so far none of the damage has been permanent.  Who would have suspected that the highway would cause another trip to the mechanic?  Oh well.

About the stickers that appear on that beautiful, trusty motorcycle in the illustration at the top of the page:  The ones over the foot pegs are detailed above, if not in perfect focus.  These flags represent my household.  There is a German flag and a Connecticut flag, representing the points of origin of the immigrants who ride this stallion and have chosen to make New Orleans their home.  The Louisiana flag is self explanatory in this context, it's where we live and love now.  For those who don't know, the Louisiana flag is the one portraying the pelican in its piety.
If you're curious what that red spot is on the front fairing, well, its a voluptuous devil.  If that's not an apropos symbol of New Orleans, nothing is.  Better the devil you know than the devil you don't.  I'm learning everything I can about my new city.


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