reflections on New Orleans, part 1

July 4, 2006

I spent 5 days in New Orleans recently.

First, the social aspects:

— Friday night I met up with Niamh and Allison at Pat O’Brien’s in the midst of two librarian socials. We saw other people we knew, but then headed off to a well-needed dinner at Angeli’s, on Decatur St. We had a delightful pizza and salad. Then we went to a bar called dba in the Faubourg Marigny. The Marigny is my new favorite part of New Orleans. This bar dba had an incredible selection of liquors and beers, at great prices, yet the bar was slick and homey at the same time. If only we had a bar like that in town. Suitably liquored up, we braced ourselves for a walk down Bourbon Street, which is an experience I would find horrifying while completely sober, but after a few drinks I just managed to gaze quizzically at it and chuckle a bit to myself. Here’s a less-than-flattering picture of me with the always photogenic Niamh, taken by Allison, in which it is obvious that someone has already started drinking on an empty stomach. And it was really hot too.

— Saturday night I met up with a long-time Internet acquaintance, K. who I’d never met in real life before, and her friend Sophie at the Carousel (I think it was called?), a bar in the Hotel Monteleone that spins around very slowly. We sat at the bar and it creeped around 5 times or so, after which Sophie went to a meeting, and K. and I went to….MOD DANCE PARTY!!!! at the Circle Bar, which is a funny little bar in a funny little lopsided house, totally out of place, on Lee Circle. I’d seen it before many a time, going by on the St. Charles Streetcar, and wondered about it. It was quite possibly the best dance party EVER. We arrived around 10:30, and sat at the bar and chatted for a while before people started filtering in. We met one of the DJs and his librarian wife. We danced in the steamy heat of too many bodies in a not-cooled enough room, sweat sliding down my legs, to the awesome sounds of non-stop 60s rock music. We met two other librarians. We danced some more. And danced and danced. And kept on dancing. A few people asked us, “Are you…librarians?” Ha ha. Because apparently it’s obvious. I heard that the party went on until 5 in the morning, but we left shortly after two. My bag was soaked with beer. That’ll teach me to leave things on the floor. Everyone there was so friendly and welcoming. I frequently used to feel quite nervous meeting people I’ve never met before, but now it’s so easy, and everyone is awesome and so much fun. Apparently someone else who knows someone who I know (I think???) was also there. I wish I’d met them too. Meeting people is easy.

— Sunday night I stopped in for appetizers at a library school alumni reception which was sort of dull. I did not win any raffle prizes, but chatted with a few people I hadn’t seen in a while. Then Niamh, Todd, Jessica Z., and I went out for dinner. Along the way we stopped at a street corner to watch a lively, not at all cheesy band play stomping jazz, of the sort that I actually like. Loud, exuberant, lots of horns, people dancing in the street. We ate in the Marigny. We ran into the DJ from the night before on the street corner and chatted. He showed me even more unflattering photos of myself dancing, on his digital camera. (I should not let anyone come near me with a digital camera in such ungodly hot climates.) We said goodbye and got dinner at Adolfo’s, a fantastic Italian place above a bar. We shared two bottles of excellent Chianti, lovely conversation, and I had a steak. The heat got even hotter and we walked to Cafe du Monde and got beignets and coffee. I will never get used to sweat dripping down my body like that. The beignets were fantastic. I saw a gigantic cockroach, flying. *shudder*

— No social life Monday night. Ate dinner, packed, flipped between a show about house hunting on HGTV (?) and rap/hip-hop videos on MTV2 for a while, went to sleep.

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