Monday, December 27, 2010

New Orleans men's rooms

I've discussed the most glorious men's room I've found so far in New Orleans.  Unfortunately, it is being demolished in the name of urban renewal.  Now I'd like to discuss the less savory.

I tend to like a dive.  I've been in some nice restaurant rest rooms, but I've been in some that are best described by the English term "water closet."  The WC in Bud's Broiler on City Park Avenue is such a place.  It's clean but it's a cramped space with a toilet.  The men's room is marked "Pa" while the ladies room is marked "Ma."  No one expects to spend a lot of time in Bud's loo (I hope) so there's no complaints about the cramped quarters.

There are some bars in New Orleans, however where you expect to have some space to stretch your elbows, maybe stand akimbo while nature takes its course.  The photo above was snapped in Lucky's on Saint Charles Avenue, a 24-hour bar, game room, grill, laundromat and notary.  With all these options available, as well as a front porch and free red beans and rice every Monday and karaoke on Wednesdays, you'd expect adequate toilet arrangements.  In order to stand close to the urinal, you have to have the coin slot of the condom machine press into your shoulder like a nag you ignore at your peril.

Lucky's men's room is clean enough by dive standards, which aren't particularly high, as is its women's room.  There's no lock on the door and there isn't much space for creature comfort.  It's a closet without a latch and I've had the embarrassment of walking in on someone who is sitting on the throne.  He said, "I'm sorry, I should have put my foot in front of the door."  I said, "I should have knocked first.  You obviously have enough to keep you occupied."

Another ill-starred men's room is at Ms. Mae's at the intersection of Napoleon Ave and Magazine Street.
It isn't pretty.  It's 24 continuous operating hours day after day show on the walls.  It features a tin sheet trough that is usually filled with ice.  There is room for two gentlemen to stand side by side with their backs pressed against the stall behind them.  People don't usually use the trough in tandem.  If someone is conducting business there, the newcomer usually heads for the stall which lacks a latch.  It tends to be an awkwardly uncomfortable experience.  The sink is a plastic industrial model found in back roads gas stations and industrial shop floors across America.

Not all dive men's rooms have to look like the bomb shelter of last resort.  I've been frequenting Iggy's Bar on the corner of N. Rampart and Touro Streets.  It's a narrow hallway of a joint, also open around the clock.  It's men's room is not palatial but it's spacious enough to hold a conclave of three: one squatting, one standing, one washing hands.  It's kept clean enough you feel you could eat of the tile floor if necessary, not that I would want to.  No picture of Iggy's lavatory, unfortunately.  I don't have the cord to attach to my phone.  Rest assured, there are decent men's rooms at New Orleans' 24 hour dives.

I wouldn't recommend the lavatory at the Absinthe House, though.  It is a cesspool with plumbing though it is staffed by an attendant who will offer you a dollop of liquid soap for a tip as well as hand you a fresh paper towel, one to a customer.  Tip well.  You may be back.

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