I have an extreme lust for New Orleans — during the cool months, that is — and it’s fired up again because it’s nearly Mardi Gras and I’m going to a Louisiana Mardi Gras-themed party this afternoon.
I’m working on a more substantial blog for the Tulsa World site about comfort music. I don’t know if I get to keep my World blog after all this shifting in the newsroom. Something tells me they’ll take it, and I won’t have time for it anyway. But if I’m going to have to leave it, I’ll leave it on a high note.
My feel-good music isn’t very stylish, but it’s what keeps me happy when I need it most. Some folks turn to the bottle during grieving or tumultuous times, I turn to my music collection (which is growing by the week… iTunes is up to 13,469 songs and that’s what I’ve transferred… the rest is on a separate hard drive.) That’s what I did this morning. I decided to make my friends Shane and Frances Bevel, the purveyors of this evening’s party, a CD of my favorite New Orleans Jass selections. They’re probably heard it all before, but hey, it’s the thought that counts, right?
So I’m having my first cup of coffee after sleeping 12 hours… which was blissful… and I fire up the iTunes. The first song is, of course, “Go to the Mardi Gras” by Professor Longhair, a patron saint of that style of music. He’s a fucking master. He’s the best, and you’d better not try to say he isn’t, especially if you are anywhere near Lake Charles.
I added the second song, “Indian Red,” a favorite featuring the “Indians of Mardi Gras,” a wonderful tradition of brotherhood and peace that tears me up every time I read or hear about it. I would LOVE to be part of that group. Oh how I’d love to be in that number… It’s passion, secretive, beauty, pride, fun, everything I love in a group of marching men, chiefs, spy boys, fly boys… it’s amazing, and I want to see it live before I die.
Which brings me to my point: I want to live in New Orleans. I also want to live in Italy, Chicago, Maine, San Francisco and Tahlequah. But I really feel like I need a New Orleans phase in my life, and it might be the first of my many life phases I hope to conquer. If someone called me and said, “Hey, we’ve got a job for you,” I’d move there TONIGHT.
It’s a wanderlust I can’t explain. I’ve never even been there. I’m in love with the idea, the stories of Tennessee Williams, the Balfa Brothers, the Indians, the food, the swagger… the poverty, the fear, the old, dilapidated houses…
I have never said I make sense. And I never will. But know this: I will get my time in New Orleans. And I will walk that mile, that square, that village that Tennessee extolled during his time there. I might be a short fat white woman, but I will know what it’s like to be a native of a darker persuasion. It will happen.
And it probably won’t be tonight. But when that call comes, I’m ready.