... What the Algiers Atrocities Began to Do to the New Orleans Skin Trade ...
Delores Sparks, also known as The Most Brazen Coke Whore in Nola, was just getting back from a house-call trick on Toulouse Street when the first of the second round of missiles hit. It was a bit of a surprise, as she and most denizens of the Town had already forgotten last week's strikes, chalking them up to some bad trip on Mescal or something, but this time, since they were falling all the fuck over the place so near to where she was walking, Delores and everyone else around her were slowly coming around from that drunken torpor most New Orleaneans experience pretty much all day, and they were taking notice. The quick-sketch artists in the Square, the Tarot and Palm Readers, the Drunks, the Heroin Salesmen, the Hot Dog Vendors and me, Raphael Fleetwhite, as I was performing a private Wedding Ceremony in front of St. Louis Cathedral.
Next to the Cathedral there's this old Spanish fort thing called The Cabildo and it has a rusty old cannon in it and somebody was yelling we should break that thing out and wad up all our beer cans and such and Fire Back on Algiers. But the rest of the people out there, most of who looked like something out of a Goya print, were scattered, confused--and cheering nonetheless, for after all, this wouldn't have been the FIRST time they'd missed a day, or a week, or several months even and was this The Fourth of July? Mardi Gras? New Years'? The 5th of May? Or was it already Wednesday Afternoon at 4?
But when it soon became apparent even to the most Toxic of those in the Square that this was an Attack, as a group of people who'd been making beads and shit on the ground near the waterfall had just been atomized, well, they went running. To get their portable chairs. We call 'em JazzFest chairs here in New Or-leans.
So before you knew it everybody was out there WATCHING this shit, ordering drinks all around. This was REALLY some Live Entertainment. Hell, who am I to talk. I was out there with them, hustling. The best time to hustle is in the middle of a Tragedy people are secretly Thrilled to Hell about. So Have a Frosty Heineken Today, New Orleans. Just don't ask me to buy it for you.
Y'know, almost at once I became concerned about the repurcussions of this situation on the stability of New Orleans's twin economic backbones, Prostitution and Slavery. Tequila sales were reaching an all-time high in the Quarter alone by midnight, and nobody anywhere else in America was aware of the situation--only a select few in New Orleans were, actually. But what would Tourism become without the Skin Trade? I was worried for Business, honestly.
Over the course of the next few evenings, while New Orleans Residents either stayed inside and shot dope or sat by the river listening to zydeco as chaos was unleashed around them, Algiers began to carpet-bomb the Garden District. The residents of the Upper District had not to this point been aware of the fracas, as it had been aimed at the junkie losers in the Quarter and as such did not affect them, but it sure got their attention THEN. But in the Quarter, where the culture is used to chaos anyway, things continued to progress at the normal barroom pace. I knew it couldn't last that way for long.
Algiers is where the Pot is grown around here, and after the obvious Pot Embargo, the Quarter and especially the Marigny reverted back to its Drug of Choice, Heroin. Preston Foley was doing some good business there for a day or so until one of his largest barges got torpedoed out of the water, but New Orleaneans are resourceful! You know those swampcat things that look like a cross between a Rat and a Dog? Nutrias? Their small intestines, well, those are made out of pure heroin! And they were SWARMING the Quarter after being disturbed in their Mississippi River lairs, or whatever. People were cooking that shit up all up and down St. Peter and Frenchmen Streets. In its own way, it was beautiful to see so many people from so many Classes come together.
But the week after, some dynamics began to take shape which even I could not have foreseen. Whoever would have thought that honkey-assed Art teacher Fenton Rochilieu would finally be the one to get up off his drunk ass writing about his Muses and take some Action?