|New Orleans is very, very good.|
Dwight White was down and out, asleep under the highway overpass that runs over Calliope Street. His royalties had run out for the foreseeable future, and he had nowhere to go but up. Some people say that New Orleans is a devils‘ playground. Others claim that it is a paradise. In need of some basic hygiene, and wearing the tattered costume from last month’s gig, Dwight White looked like the commanding statue of Saint John the Baptist towering in white marble on the front of Saint John the Baptist Church on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, formerly Dryades Street, except Dwight White was lying down wrapped in scuffed corrugated cardboard stamped with the logo of Zapp’s potato chips. He was wearing a red, porkpie hat pulled down over his eyes.
Someone brought a full-bodied, fully cooked turkey under the overpass for a communal supper. All of a sudden, all of Calliope Street smelled like deep-fried Thanksgiving, dark meat and light, anointed in baptismal peanut oil, crisp outside while yielding succulent under the crust for a communal repast under the overpass. It smelled so good that Dwight White couldn’t nap without his gut waking him up. He had to follow his nose. He inhaled deeply. He gave thanks. He took a piece of turkey for his supper.
Squatted on the neutral ground, against a pillar, as passing cars made the shaded transition between O’Keefe Avenue and Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, Dwight White noticed everyone was staring at him. He was holding his portion of turkey over a paper plate, just about to take a bite Everyone else under the overpass that shades Calliope Street who was eating a piece of that deeply fried, crispy-skinned, succulent turkey, stopped what they were doing. They paused to watch Dwight White take a bite.
The passing cars slowed their commute. Rubbernecking drivers watched, with time stood still, to see if Dwight White was going to do what he seemed to be doing.
He did it.
He took a bite of crispy fried turkey from the piece he was given. He bit the savory, crispy appendage that jutted most closely to his mouth. As he chewed the skin and fat, traffic stopped moving from the East Bank to the West Bank, and vice versa. The Crescent City was connected in a pregnant pause, a virile crescent, all for one and one for all, spontaneously, simultaneously, instantaneously, perilously ripe and ready to spring.
“He has the Pope’s nose,” people whispered, once the sound of booming eighteen-wheelers again reached Dwight White’s ears. “He has the Pope’s nose!‘