August 30, 2006

I must be getting senile. How could I forget my visit with Trish the Tarot Card reader? Sorry, it was late when I did the original entry and neglected the most interesting stop of the day. See below…

A year ago, this wasn’t a very nice place to be, but today, while New Orleans commemorates the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, outside of a few more “property for sale” and “property for rent” signs than usual, nothing much seems to have changed here in the French Quarter. The only disaster I’m aware of today is what’s happening to the Red Sox on the West Coast, but heck, that’s been weeks in the making.

(Theo beware, I’m coming after you later this week, for the bloom is definitely off the rose. But, why ruin a beautiful day with such murky and depressing thoughts…)

Yesterday, after taking care of some business in the morning, I had the afternoon free to drift around the French Quarter and enjoy a warm summer afternoon. So what’d I do?

2:00 PM: Checked out the Visitors Center on Decatur Street and had a lovely conversation with FQ goodwill ambassador Adele. Business was brisk, but Adele deftly and cheerfully handled a variety of inquiries – two Japanese visitors wanting to catch some jazz music that night, a group of travel agents wanting to take a Swamp Tour, and me checking out the Haunted History tour. New Orleans has truly laid the welcome mat out, and its people like Adele that help make that possible.

3:00 PM: Time for lunch, and a short walk down St. Peter brought me to the Gumbo Shop. Had a cup of seafood gumbo and the crawfish etoufee, both of which were fine. As I was finishing my meal, a family obviously from Brooklyn, NY came in, and it was a hoot to listen to them try and communicate with the waiter and his own Louisiana accent – how’s about that combo!

4:30 PM: I’ve got an hour to kill before joining the 6 PM Haunted History tour, so I stop in next door at The Boondock Saint, an Irish Pub that recently opened, replacing the old Velvet Dog biker bar. It was quiet and cool in there, and the brick and dark wood made me think I was back in Boston.

6:00 PM: Obviously, there’s gonna be no 6 PM Haunted History tour, as I’m the only standing in front of Rev. Zombie’s Voodoo Shop, where the tour is supposed to gather. I ask the girl at the counter and she’s very helpful, telling me there was some kind of mix-up, so if I want to take the 8 PM tour, it’ll only cost me $10 instead of the usual $20. Sounds like a good deal to me.

6:30 PM: I’m across the street at Pat O’Brien’s restaurant/bar, enjoying a Planter’s Punch in their bar area. For all the times Tracey and I have been to New Orleans, I’ve never been in POB’s. Not exactly crowded on a Monday night, but playing some Beach Boys and Doors music on the jukebox passes the time.

8:00 PM: It’s time for the Haunted History tour! Frankly, it sounded a lot more interesting than it was. A few ghost stories told to a bunch of toursits as we walked around several blocks of the French Quarter. The highlight for me was the guide pointing out the corner of St. Phillip’s and Royal, where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested after a skuffle with someone who complained about him handing out pro-Castro literature. Cool!

9:30 PM: I was walking back from the HH tour when I thought it might be a good idea to toss some money at the artists and mystics who ply their trade on Jackson Square. Soze, I ask a woman who introduces herself as Trish the Tarot Card reader how much a reading would cost. She says between $10 and $20. I say OK. She asks me to pick three cards out of a tarot deck. (Looking back now, I realize I should have asked to see all the cards first, to make sure they’re not like, only one or two kinds of cards, but then, we’re talking small change here.) I pick out three cards and lay them on the table.

“Ohhh…you’re stressed out about a situation at home”, she says, proceeding to explain to me what the cards I chose meant in relationship to one another.

“Well, our new male rabbit has designs on one of the females and, while we don’t have a doctor’s proof he’s been neutered, we know she’s been spayed”, I reply.

(At which point, she starts talking about her cat and how he’s been trained to like people. Then, she goes on a non-stop 20-minute tale of what happened to her and her animals after Katrina: turns out she and her husband (also a tarot card reader, BTW) were moved by FEMA on a plane with 120 other souls to Middletown, Rhode Island and set up there for a year, but there’s evidently not much of a call for tarot readers in nearby Newport, so, when the weather started getting cold they moved back, also courtesy of FEMA. Now she and her husband want to get out of their $600 apartment and find something for all their pets [who are with friends], but the apartment will cost double and the tarot business [like the rest of the city] is still in recovery mode. She asks me what I would do. I tell her to ask her husband to get a regular job that pays better money, then he could still do the tarot thing part-time, but still be able to provide for her while she does her thing full-time.)

“But he doesn’t want to do that”, she says.

“See”, I tell her (in my most comforting pastoral way), “you know what the problem is, you just needed someone else to confirm it for you. Sounds like you and your husband have some hard choices to make.”

“Maybe we ought to switch seats”, she says.

And with that, our session was obviously at an end, as she started packing her stuff up to leave. Thanking her for her time, I gave her $20, petted her cat again, and headed off to my next stop – the Omni Royal Orleans.

10:30 PM: Time for a nitecap at the Rib Room bar at the Royal Omni Orleans. My favorite hotel in the whole world, a great place to close out an enjoyable and relaxing day talking with bartender Murray and admiring the huge Swedish Ivy plants on both sides of the bar.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 12:40 | Comments (3)
  1. At Pat O’Brien’s, the place to be is the piano bar, particularly on a Saturday night after a Tulane football game against one of their opponents with a large road following (Any SEC school). Lotsa fun. And if you decide to have a few of their World Famous Hurricanes, make sure you have cab fare when you leave, unless you’re staying at the Royal Omni.

    While you’re down there, dine at Muriel’s. It’s across the street from Jackson Square and St Louis Cathedral. And ask for a tour. Worth your while, I promise. If you have dinner there, get the crawfish and goat cheese crepes. It’s their special appetizer. They don’t serve them for lunch but lunch there is equally fun. The tour puts it over the top.

    Comment by Rob — August 30, 2006 @ 2:44 am

  2. Thanks Rob, for the recommendations. I didn’t make it to the piano bat at Pat O’s but I did find the first bar (inside, on the left) and the second bar (outside, in the courtyard). And, yes I did want to try Muriel’s,as others say it is both good and haunted as well – looks like that’ll have to keep for another time.

    Comment by The Great White Shank — August 30, 2006 @ 12:48 pm

  3. Thursday tidbits – August 31, 2006 Edition

    R.I.P., Glenn Ford. Surprised that Superman is mentioned in most of the articles I’ve seen about his death. I suppose the writers are trying to be relevant to younger internet readers or maybe that’s the only way they, themselves, relate to Glenn Ford….

    Trackback by CrabAppleLane Blog — August 31, 2006 @ 4:05 am

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