Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ignatius J. Reilly gets some unwanted visitors

At last, we meet.

You might remember that when I came to town for Mardi Gras, I was disappointed when I found that the Chateau Sonesta Hotel had moved their statue of Ignatius J. Reilly to save him from the crowds. Well, as serendipity would have it, I'm back in town for work, and we had a little free time after doing some IBM upgrades. My co-worker Debbie and her husband Kenny are also fans of John Kennedy Toole's masterpiece A Confederacy of Dunces, so after consuming a few dozen char-grilled and raw oysters at the Acme Oyster House, we decided to see Ignatius had returned to his perch beneath the clock at the former D.H. Homes department store, to wait for his mother.
Char-grilled oysters are similar to Rockefeller; breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic and butter are put on top and they are broiled. The oyster is left whole. I've had them char-broiled too, without any topping, and they taste good too. We tried to get into Drago's, which is more famous for oysters cooked in this fashion, but they were closed.

Kenny grew up in the Irish Channel, where Ignatius lives in the book, and we talked all night about the book, the lovely Crescent City, and the time he caught a sack of oysters a fisherman tossed him and how it nearly tore him a new orifice, but built his character. He's a real character and a great guy to hang out with. A real Yat, in the best way possible. Kenny's part Sicilian and we actually talked about the lynching of the Sicilians at the turn of the century, that I blogged about earlier.

Ignatius was mortified.

I had a 6:30am flight and had to pick up Roxanne for her flight, so I staggered back to the hotel relatively early. I wanted to stay up all night, but I didn't want to risk stranding Rox here. She might put a cigarette out in my eye. Danny was also wiped out from the upgrade stress and headed home early. Though what happens in New Orleans stays in New Orleans, here's us celebrating a successful upgrade with some mojitos.
St. Joe's is a nice bar that makes a mean mojito, and keeps the demons at bay by being festooned with crosses, angels, cherubs and other churchy regalia.

A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head. The green earflaps, full of large ears and uncut hair and the fine bristles that grew in the ears themselves, stuck out on either side like turn signals indicating two directions at once. Full, pursed lips protruded beneath the bushy black moustache and, at their corners, sank into little folds filled with disapproval and potato chip crumbs. In the shadow under the green visor of the cap Ignatius J. Reilly's supercilious blue and yellow eyes looked down upon the other people waiting under the clock at the D.H. Holmes department store, studying the crowd of people for signs of bad taste in dress. Several of the outfits, Ignatius noticed, were new enough and expensive enough to be properly considered offenses against taste and decency. Possession of anything new or expensive only reflected a person's lack of theology and geometry; it could even cast doubts upon one's soul.
-A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole

"When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." - Jonathan Swift, genius and Irishman



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