Saturday, April 28, 2012

New Orleans' 7th Ward Smells Good

Ladies love the scent of New Orleans's 7th Ward

In my role as a flaneur, I was walking down St. Bernard Avenue on my way to Sidney’s saloon.  I noticed a flyer taped to the remaining pane of glass in a window that had reflected many happier days than this one.  It was nothing fancy.  A few sheets of plain white paper had been inscribed with black ink.  The penmanship was sharp and permanent:
FOR SALE:  GENUINE 7TH WARD BAY RUM from an AUTHENTIC, SECRET, FAMILY RECIPE handed down by MY GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GRANDFATHER’s generation.  Jacques Washington was always known as a ladies‘ man before he married Josephine Marie Egale.  From the day he turned thirteen years old, he was seen with a different, shady lady on his arm every week.  He loved them all and he left them all until he stayed with Josephine Marie Egale.  I know his secret.  So do the many successful men who purchase MY GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GRANDFATHER’s 7th Ward Bay Rum.  Ladies love the scent of 7th Ward Bay Rum.  Purchase a bottle and learn the secret for yourself!
To make a batch, I concoct a distillate of one fluid ounce of dark, Haitian rum and twelve ounces of Taaka vodka.  I assemble a cheesecloth bag of bay leaves, muddled bayberries, crushed cloves, thirteen cinnamon sticks, and the zest of twelve limes and three oranges.  I tincture this recipe for a full 27 days, agitating thoroughly on days of Luminous Mysteries.  After straining the cologne water through my GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GRANDFATHER’s patented filtration system, this GENUINE 7th Ward Bay Rum can be your catnip for the fairer sex.  Sold by the quarter ounce.  If you don’t want to leave enough for the next guy, buy two.  7th Ward Bay Rum has been proven to make six ladies out of ten weak between their knees.  7th Ward Bay Rum delivers six-in-one, and you can keep the change.
To purchase, contact myself, sole proprietor and chief chemist of the Great-Great-Great-Grandfather Seventh Ward Bay Parfumerie, LLC, at (cell) 555-7BA-YRUM.  I am Jaxavier Egale, the great-great-great-grandson of that famous cock-of-the-walk, Jacques Washington.  He and Josephine Marie Egale had a son named Louis Philip Washington.  He was a vegetable dealer in Saint Roch Market, brewing GENUINE 7th Ward Bay as a lucrative sideline.  Louis Washington’s son was Louie Washington, who continued the family tradition of making men smell irresistible to women.  Louie, the son,  worked at a haberdashery on Canal Street, advising gentlemen of distinction of how to smell their best.  He never did anything official, like soft-selling the merchandise on the shelves, or even developing a house blend of aftershave, which he was certainly capable of doing.  He would just ask a customer if he wanted to get wet even if it wasn’t raining.  If the customer knew the answer, he would slip Louie the requisite fee, and Louie would hand over a small vial of GENUINE 7th Ward Bay Rum that he had prepared the month before and was keeping in his vest pocket.
My father was the honorable Martine Oriole Egale, and my mother was Mdm. Clarisette Euterpe Miret.  They owned and operated the One Stop Grocery Plus on North Dorgenois Street, selling hot plates and fresh vegetables, beer, cigarettes, and liquor, lottery tickets, and over the counter medications twenty-four hours a day.  They also had the most extensive lines of gentlemen’s toilet water between Gravier Street and Miami, Florida to the east, and Corpus Christi, Texas to the west.  My father and my mother taught me everything I know.  
Ask any of my clients in the Garden District, or the clients who live within sight of Lake Vista, and they will tell you that my bay rum is the best.  Free delivery available in the Warehouse District and in Bywater.  Wholesale inquiries welcome.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Brown Derby Number 3, New Orleans, LA

When a cockroach runs over your foot in New Orleans, it is the same size and just as heavy as a mouse.  Welcome to a tropical clime in a city as flat as a puddle and as dry as a slurry.

Many people muddle their way through a New Orleans night.  When you are thirsty in New Orleans, you will always be able to find a drink.

Wake up and smell the chicory in the coffee.  When you need a tonic, there is more than one big shot of vim in New Orleans.

Don't confuse Music Street with Frenchman Street, or Agriculture Street with Arts Street, or Duels Street with Law Street.  When a cemetery is five short stories tall, you know you are in New Orleans.  If you find yourself weeping from joy, or laughing from loss, you are probably on Piety Street, or Magazine Street, or General Pershing Street, or General De Gaul Avenue.  Uptown, Downtown, or Old Algiers, the same song keeps playing, the same pulse keeps beating.  The policemen perform their patrols.  Business goes on uninterrupted.  There is more than one way to keep the peace.  A city's nature can be eternally lush and eternally chaste in any given circumstance.

I was at the Brown Derby Number 3 at the corner of Jefferson Davis Parkway and Tulane Avenue getting an order of fried chicken livers when I bumped into Misery Childs as I paid for my order.  Only a capricious, or an unconscious, mother would call her daughter Misery.  We all grow into the name we are born with.  Sometimes it takes a lifetime, but once a seed is planted it has no choice but to sprout.

Misery Childs and I know each other.  We took a food handler's safety course at Delgado Community College last summer.  Misery got the highest grade in the class.  "Hello, Mr. King," she said.  "Can you spare a quarter?"

I had spent my last dime on fried chicken livers.  We went to the neutral ground at South Jefferson Davis Parkway, and I opened the styrofoam container.  I only ate two livers.  Misery ate the rest of the ample portion.  She ate like she hadn't eaten for days.  She licked her fingers.  She licked the styrofoam.

It was getting late and I had to go home.   Misery told me she had business on Airline Drive.  "Thanks for the nice evening, Mr. King," she said.  She added, "Balaenius Rex!" as we shook hands.

I smiled halfheartedly.  "Balaenius Rex!" I said in return.  We shook hands, again.  I headed toward Canal Street.  She headed toward whatever errands she had on Airline Drive past the Crystal Preserves Building.

I am sitting on my back porch as I write this.  A cockroach has just run over my foot, fleet and light as a mouse and just as furtive.  I wonder what Misery Childs is doing right now.

Balaenius Rex, indeed. Vita brevis et novum orlaenium longa.  Humid city air can set a person free for a spell.  It must be dark before dawn breaks, even when every morning begins in gray fog.


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