Easter on The River of Bourbon Street / May 2017
|Carnival Esprit / Janice Turk|
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2013 ~ Spring New Orleans, Photo-credit: Jessica ReeTull
L. A. Norma and I left the witch-hat-towers of Saint Louis Cathedral, and headed for the soaring balconies of Bourbon Street.
There we were lifted on the chaliced wings of whiskey served from temporal cathedrals bearing names like Oz and Bourbon Pub.
There are bars named Oz and Pub on many streets in this World, but there is only one Bourbon Street. It is in New Orleans' French Quarter, and it flows downriver towards Big Swamp City's first Faubourgs.
It is there, inside Faubourg Marigny, the street's name changes to Pauger, after Adrien de Pauger, the French engineer who designed the colonial streets of New Orleans ~ in use today, and the only grid system in Town.
The two dance halls flanking Bourbon Street ~ where it intersects Saint Ann ~ were once populated exclusively by gay men. Then came gay women and gay men. And today ~ especially when balcony seating opens ~ anyone, gay or not.
These dance halls stand at a demarcation point between Reader's Digest- tourists ebbing back towards Canal Street; and those yearning to venture towards the gentrified mysteries of Faubourgs Marigny, Treme, and Bywater.
|Courtesy of French Quarter Festivals|
The masses raised their arms in jubilation of Christ's resurrection ~ or for beads!
This day, touched by Easter's spirit and the elfin Mr. Booze, I saw Jesus walking down this famed street of Sin.
He wore a crown of thorns over His long black hair. He wore sandals, too, and was naked save for a loincloth cut like the one in the paintings. He was thin and looked like He might be Filipino, but mostly He looked like Jesus. Everyone on the balcony thought so.
True to The Book, He was slumming with the local rabble. And reveling in their Easter experience. As were they His.
Norma lifted her whiskey, exhaled smoke and said, "Skip the crucifixion, forget fasting, go straight for the Resurrection!"
We all laughed ~ glowing in the clear and righteous wonder of her thought.
Among such human eddy, no one would have given notice whatsoever to a walking Jesus.
But this day, a tourist family standing against the downstream wall of Pete Fountain's (today, Oz) did. They were directly across the street from where we sat. The Father watched wide-eyed. The Girl, about seventeen, waved up to us. The pubescent Son giggled and hugged his Mother. Then, along came Jesus headed straight for them!
The Pope lay his hands on my shoulders, and said,"Watch that woman, do not let her fall over the communion rail." Green Carnival beads landed on the Pope's pointy hat. They looked interesting, but he took them off and tossed them to two college boys on the street below. Norma told him the two boys should have opened their pants. He frowned and said sternly, "This is not Carnival!"
Norma looked past my forehead, and talked of far-ranging things.
The Pope returned without Jesus. He was balancing fresh drinks, and passed them round the table. "He can not be found in this wicked den," said The Pope, handing me a Wild Turkey and water.
Jesus looked down and bellowed: "Don't you know what holiday this is? It is Easter, I have no cross!"
|When I wore a younger man's beard|
It wasn't. It was Easter on the River of Bourbon Street.
Copyright, 2017, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved
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