Sunday, August 08, 2010

Day 7 in NOLA continued.

Once or twice I've mentioned the smells I'd noticed coming in the car window in this or that location, or in such and such county. Drive with the windows down in hot summer in Louisiana; a new aroma meets your harried senses each time you inhale. The odors ranged from deadly sulphur to animal carcass through rotting vegetation; the fragrances from far off sea salt to sweet fruit pies baking, including ripening summer crops and heavenly fried chicken and seafood. Most often you'll encounter a maddening mix of any three to five of these, and more, too--unidentified, sure, but instantly remembered should you ever pass by again.

New Orlean's famous French Quarter is different. Here, every city block has its own peculiar scent. The few block of Bourbon street between St. Peter and Bienville is oppressive. The smells are largely rotting garbage, vomitus and excrement smells plus others I don't recognize. The sights seem to confirm that no one here is happy; everyone desperate: the locals on the make desperate to suck the next dollar out of the brushcut and coiffed, rounded pink middle-American boys and girls desperate to suck "experience" out of New Orleans. Fail to quicken your pace and avert your eyes when passing the fleshpots (at once viscerally and intensely attractive and just as intensely repulsive in nearly the same organs), their hands are on your shoulders and back and fingers tug on your sleeve. (is there a possibility I'm guilty of slightly more than failing to quicken and avert? Ummm.)

I return to my hotel to wash for dinner. Panic is a point like one of those black spots in your eye that darts over to a different locus when you try to examine it, but never disappears--but in my head not my eye. The rest of my body seems to take the brunt of Bourbon's Street's oppression, and I'm slow of foot and heavy of shoulder, my entrails sunk deep in my abdomen. Misgivings. Why have I come here?

No comments:

Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
I'd be a blackguard and a cad, if I weren't so ineffectual. The less said "About Me", the better.