2010.07.28 Sweating it out in NOLA

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

It was the end of a hard and hot day at play and I needed a cooling shower before bed. I started off with luke warm and kept edging the lever toward cold a little at a time.

Eventually I noticed there was nothing left. The water was almost off and it still wasn’t cold.

Of course, I suddenly realized. The water never gets cold in New Orleans. There’s no such thing as a cold shower in this city.

The only reason I’m here is because of my wife’s library training session. She’s here free of charge to learn about a new program starting this fall. I’m here to mess around in the big city with an expert tour guide—our daughter Rosanna who lived here for two years until recently. She drove down from Little Rock to spend the weekend with us.

For years I’ve taken notes during vacations so I’ll have something to write about when I return home. This time Colleen started in with notes, almost from the start, so she would have column material.

I wasn’t about to compete with her. She won, I lost. We couldn’t both tell the same stories.

I wrote down only three things. While going through security at Detroit Metro, a woman who didn’t make it through the scanner was being “patted down” to find out what made the alarm going off.

“It’s probably my bra,” she told the security worker.

“I hope it’s not that low,” the worker answered.

That one is mine because Colleen didn’t hear the entire conversation.

This one I’m telling because I started writing immediately. I didn’t even wait to get out of the elevator. Colleen claimed it as hers, but she can’t have everything.

We were coming down from our perch on the 21st floor of the hotel and the elevator stopped for a couple young women who were having a conversation when they walked in.

This is the part of the discussion that we heard: “He was helping him become more powerful through telekinesis.”

Wow. I wish we could have followed them around town. I wonder if they were with the Conservative Party USA, another group that was staying in our hotel.

Last one: We were having brunch at Slim Goodies on Magazine Street. Our waitress had an unusual laugh that sounded very familiar. I’d heard it before and I was sure it was the same as someone in Morenci.

I figured if I heard her laugh a few more times I would eventually wonder if so-and-so was in the room and the name would come to me.

It did, but I was surprised when the recollection arrived: She laughed like football coach Bill Kohn.

When people talk about New Orleans, conversation generally turns toward Bourbon Street. We spent some time there. It was a crazy Saturday night and the place was steaming and crowded. It’s just one continuous, loud screaming party.

We were on our way to a restaurant, and after the meal we mostly sauntered along on a block over from Bourbon. Easier walking and still lots to experience.

Bourbon Street is fun, but that’s just a small fraction of the city. It’s almost like an odd cousin of the family who’s always around if you want him, but there are so many normal people around without messing with that guy.

I’d rather spend time on Magazine Street far from downtown, up in the Slim Goodies neighborhood. I’d rather drive around with my good tour guide, Rosanna, who’s filled with interesting details.

The building over there, for example, was once the primary funeral home in the city. Anybody who thought they were anybody wanted a funeral at that location, and the bodies were always on display in the front window for public viewing.

She pointed out another place that’s a combination bar, restaurant, pool hall and laundry. A full-service establishment.

Streetcars, huge parks, incredible mansions, interesting houses everywhere, beads hanging from trees, the most unique cemeteries—this place is one of the best. I’d really hate to see it get swallowed up by the ocean, but the coastline nearby is disappearing at a rate of about two football fields every 76 minutes.

This must be the first vacation ever in which I didn’t over-pack. I threw in a few extra items just so Colleen wouldn’t give me a hard time about packing so light against her packing heavy. But New Orleans in the summer-time? I’m sweating through just about everything I brought.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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