Posts Tagged ‘New Orleans’

City with a wounded heart

November 7th, 2010

During my week and a half in New Orleans, I heard people talk about Katrina only once.  That was while waiting for the Everette Maddox Memorial Poetry Reading to begin.  This reading has been held weekly since 1979 at the Maple Leaf

Everette Maddox

Bar, except for a few weeks after the storm.  Now hosted by Nancy Harris, it was started by beloved local poet and legend Everette Maddox, who died  at age 45 the year the Berlin Wall fell.  Some of his ashes are buried in the outdoor terrace at the back of the bar, where the readings are held, with the epitaph, “He was a mess.”

I arrived at the bar at 3:00 in the afternoon, the advertised time for the reading, but the Saints game was still going on and it was clear that nobody would be reading poetry any time soon.  The Maple Leaf consists of a long, narrow wooden bar under a high, pressed tin ceiling, a long, narrow back room with a stage from which great music can be heard many evenings, another squarish room in back of that, and behind that the outdoor terrace, furnished with wrought iron tables and chairs and lush vegetation.  On the stage in the back room was an enormous TV screen, supplementing the TVs in the bar, all turned up loud, with a rapt and vociferous audience at every one.

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A love note to NOLA

October 31st, 2010

Having returned from eight carefree, sunny days in New Orleans to 78 spam comments on this blog and the chilly, dreary drizzle of November in Vermont, I’d like to take a moment to savor what made my visit so enjoyable.

Certainly not the much-bruited purported pleasures of Bourbon Street.  The “drink ‘til you puke” ethos escapes me, or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that I have escaped it.  It’s a nonstop, perpetual frat party, fueled by a fascinating convergence of social pathologies. I’ll write about that in a later post, maybe.  I did have one drink on Bourbon Street.  It was a rather nice earl grey tea, welcome in the heat of the middle of the afternoon, at a little place called the Candy Bar on the more residential end of the street.

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