Spell bananas b-a-n-a-n-a-s…I never realized what the heck dear gwen was saying in that song. Having heard it all night and day yesterday I’m even less sure what she means. But then how much does meaning mean when you are busy dancing your heart out in the middle of the always foul-smelling but bordering on unbearably funky French quarter.


Yep, it’s open. It is limted to mostly burboun street, known for its strip houses, transvestites and basic carnal delights…drinking and general debauchery. Its reputation has not been notably changed by water and misery of the city at large.


And as long as I’ve been in new orleans the trickle of people has thickened. The street signs we used to ignore, because the chance of anyone being on the streets was far less than our need to get to where we were headed, are now blinking traffic lights and traffic is creeping along congested streets.


Don’t get me wrong, the place isn’t hopping like in days of old. But if you want to park in the quarter for dinner at the redfish grill (the only place I’ve found so far that isn’t in Metairie or beyond) or shaking your butt at utopia (as we all did last night) you face the same issues you always face in the quarter – trying to park.


So last night we piled into a few cars, parked at the quarter’s edge and hoofed it to a few bars. The first a loud place with a band doing covers of songs like “the summer of ‘69” too loud to hear each other and too mellow to dance, we moved to a former haunt (former in terms of the only other place we’d spent any time in the last 20 or so days).


Our previous night out we helped make up a handful of people that had the floor the bar and the music to ourselves. Last night it was evident that new orleans, in some form, was fattening up…with people.


The dj was bad…he had about 7 songs he played all night long. The drinks were scary…shots in test tubes licked and then put in the cleavage or tucked in the shorts of some – shall we say interesting looking women – and then a face pushed down to retrieve them. The crowd unruly…we had people in desperate need of a room of their own (it went beyond public displays of affection…I’m talking random body parts breaking free of clothing and enough gyration to make jerry springer blush).


It was like the French quarter of old. Simultaneously a reassuring and terrifying concept.


But we sweated to the music that seemed to be a labor for the dj to produce. The guys fought off frightening men that tried to grope and corner us. And overall we had a wonderful time. To hot and tired to think about much beyond being hot and tired.


And at the end…hanging out with a friend and enjoying normal conversation abut life and love…saying goodbye (the reason we were partying) to two of the firemen that have become if not family – definitely friends…it was almost normal. At least if felt that way.

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