Friday, February 22, 2008

Barefoot in Loooousiana!



Okay, that is a doctored photo. I am not actually barefoot in Louisiana, that's in Jersey. I landed 3 hours late, but the flight was blessedly uneventful. I'd never been in a plane that underwent de-icing before. It's like going through a big car wash done by firetrucks.
Once we were up in the air, it was nothing. We landed 3 hours late, not bad for taking off during 8 inches of snow. At least it didn't get canceled. I grabbed the car, a red Mustang, and hightailed it to Zea's Cafe where Danny, Roxanne and Debbie were having lunch. I missed them by a few hours but scarfed down some crispy Asian oysters anyway. I hadn't eaten since 6am, so my body craved sustenance. Some broiled drum with oyster and artichoke sauce refueled my stores.
The Port is down Tchoupitoulas, the unpronounceable road even the GPS choked on. I met my co-workers and we began the laborious process of upgrading their system. I won't bore you with the details. Besides, they are nerd trade secrets, and if I told you, I'd have to kill you with my lightsaber.
While we cloned a disk, we decided to head to The Rib Room at the Omni Hotel, where Roxanne was staying. She knew the maitre d', who was a fan of John Waters, and a friend of Dorothy if you know what I mean. Nice guy though. Roxanne resembles Jamie Lee Curtis and I told her that's why she gets the good treatment from the hotel staff.


Jamie Lee Curtis and the Gayter d'
Ted, our waiter, was quite the character. I ordered a Sazerac, a cocktail I've wanted to try for some time. It's one of the first known drinks called a cocktail, and is steeped in New Orleans history. The gals had prime rib, I had a rare Filet Mignon, and Danny gave up meat for Lent (I'd assumed he was Hindu and didn't eat beef, but he's Roman Catholic, go figure) so he had tomato soup and a baked potato. And Chocolate Obsession, the devil's own poopcandy.
Ted told us his Katrina story. His old father lives with him and his kids, and didn't want to leave. They weathered the storm well, and were cleaning up when the levee broke. A wall of water hit the house and filled it to his chin level, and he's about 6 foot. Luckily he had an inflatable raft and filled it. They got out, and rescued a few people on rooftops, including a girl whose mother drowned. Bodies were in the water around them. They got to high ground and the Superdome, where they stayed for 8 days. When they got there, he met John, a white guy in an expensive suit with a briefcase. He warned him that he stood out, and he helped him with some less ostentatious clothes. After a while they became friends. John is a lawyer in Key West and their families still visit each other. Ted was lucky, his family survived, and are living in Pineville as the house is rebuilt.
Debbie, Roxanne, Ted, me, Danny
We drove back to complete the upgrade and talked about Katrina, and how the storm didn't kill the city, the failing of the levees did. The Army Corps of Engineers had been begged repeatedly by the oil companies to strengthen the marsh barrier against the storm surge, but had concentrated on expanding the canal system that sees little use. When oil companies are asking you to fix the environment, your shit is fucked up.
At dinner I found out that Debbie is also a fan of A Confederacy of Dunces and The New Leviathan Oriental Fox-Trot Orchestra, so tomorrow around lunch we're gonna see Ignatius's statue at the Chateau Sonesta Hotel and George Schmidt's Art Gallery on Julia Street.
My hotel is the Westin and is lavish but inconvenient. No parking lot and it has an 11th floor lobby in the Shops at Canal Place. Next time I'll stay at the Sheraton. Their porn selection has hilarious titles like "Natural Bush," "I Screwed my Friend's Wild Mom," "Taste it Don't Waste It," and "Bi Bi American Guy." Oh, and Happy Scrappy Hero Pup. (Obligatory Clerks reference)
But hey, The Goonies is on.
Oh, and here's a real photo of me barefoot in Louisiana, Baton Rouge to be exact. In the "trailer" I stayed in...

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