... In Which We Find a Contrast to All the Hoors in Nola ...
Somewhere out there, in Minneapolis or someplace, is a young woman named Laura Seele. I'm writing about her now, because everything is anything only insofar as it's able to be seen as a contrast FROM something, and while most people who pass thru New Orleans do so because they're alREADY debauched, plan to GET that way, or end up staying here and forever BEING that way, Laura Seele is none of these things. And every artist needs a muse. Even Raphael, and I don't mean that Butt Barron, Fleetwhite. No, but I, Fenton Rochilieu, need a muse perhaps more than anyone right about now, and she was just right when I needed something to be right about.
Laura's a Cancer. I'm a Scorpio, and according to the rigorous psychological discipline involved in such Inquiries, our signs are quite Compatible. I wouldn't know, I've never to my knowledge had a Relationship with a Cancer, but hey! It sure explains why I was so attracted to her Energy. I'm an Art Instructor. I see everything metaphorically, see. And Everything's a Metaphor. That old German Enlightenment poet / Werther novelist / Color Theory scientist / asparagus grower said that. Didn't know I knew that, now did ya? Well, I guess that means that HE was a metaphor, too. Go figure. God knows I'M not going to.
So I met Laura Seele, the dancer, when she was passing thru New Orleans with her Dance Troupe and I was moonlighting as a sort of glorified Stage Manager, and I saw her and then I sort of met her, see, and told her she was the Most Exquisite Human Ever Created By God. And I meant it, and I still do. I got her to sign my Program and told her I was gonna write about her. She didn't know WHY, but maybe now she does. Maybe not. But she's glad she doesn't live in Nola, or else she Should be. Because she is delightful to behold, more beautiful than a young Marilyn, and watching the torque of her body in its passionate embraces on the air I thought not only did Isadora Duncan just WISH she could do it like this, Jesus, and the sweetness! She is Glad that She's Alive, and so am I. She's an Eternal Muse of Nola because it won't stain her and it didn't hurt her and she represents all the beauty I'm never gonna have, the wholesome, sexy coffee in the dewy dawn of a late-summer's Midwest sunrise. And no, Laura, thank YOU. Were there not people in this world with the soul whose delicious loveliness you so effortlessly convey in every movement, twist, or up or downturn of eye, I'd be just as happy to be hanging out at the bottom of the Mississippi with a 1923 Underwood #5 iron typewriter tied around my ankle. That's what the Mob used to do to people here. Still do, in fact.
But ah, Laura, I am no more nor less than my dreams and my memories. So thank you for being in them both.
It just so happens that this Town sucks up people like me and spits them out on a beach somewhere in the Gulf like something out of a bad Bible story. You've gotta grow a few extra suits of skin to put up with the jaded shit that does down in this place, and incidentally most people who live here seem to get it very, very quick. Always had it, I guess. Just like the people in say, Buffalo or Denver, but this is DIFFERENT, pal. Qual AND Quantitatively. I learned at a Very Early Age to watch my Ps. Watching my Qs turned out to be an entirely different matter altogether.
Except that I was born and raised here. Or reared here. Or whatever here. Once you've been Whatever, HERE, you're Whatever, THERE, too. Want some? I hear the flights are cheap these days.
For people like, say, Frankie Minot or Kermit Meyerbeer or whatever his name is, it's like mercury down a baby's throat. Not so, for my sorry ass. Where y'at? Where are you, my old friends, Adam Bensel, old T.G. Mintken, my High School buddy Peter Kissgen, or Kirby Williams, Claude Moody, or my Good Friend Aubrey H. Marshall? Or maybe it was H. Aubrey, I can't remember. When you can't remember, they might as well be dead. And they are, too. Want a Cemetery Tour, Tourist?
No, the drugs, the drink and the sex will do you no especially emotional favors in New Orleans. But neither will becoming a Monk, and several people have tried THAT, too. Other things, too, if'n they can. For instance, like Wayne Marin, some old ex-drunk like THAT, well, I have no doubt that if Wayne Marin started back Drinking, it would pretty much fuck up his Life. But he's taking a number of other people down WITH him by NOT drinking, too. This Town is the Paradox that up and drops a Question on your Plate.
And I have too much on mine to answer it, at least at present.
Or any other Question, but at least I don't have to save what little money I have for Vacations because, sooner than later, everybody ends up goin' thru 'ol New Or-Leans. So just wait. It's only a Matter of Time.
But Time don't exist here between the time you're aware of that and the Time it takes you passively with it into some Swamp, glad to be sinking and waiting for someone to buy you a Drink on your La Brea Slide down. And yet for now, at least, the Good Times are Rolling. And if they're rolling over YOU like a 20-foot water surge from Camille, well, don't worry.
You won't remember it tomorrow, or else you won't wake up at all.