Just to dispel any rumors regarding my trip to New Orleans that are still floating around out there, I wasn’t eaten by the alligator that got eaten by the python. I wasn’t even eaten by the old lady that swallowed the fly. She’s dead, of course, after swallowing the horse. I think I saw a clip of it on the internet. But I digress.
There was only one day that I had to venture outside of the nurturing bosom of the Commercial Business District and the Quarter, and I found myself behind the wheel of a large automobile driving through a particularly devastated area, finding myself grateful for my shotgun shack in another part of the world.
As soon as my business was done, I returned to my home base for the week – the Le Pavillon Hotel. Not only is it one of those cool, old historic hotels, but I was pretty pumped knowing that it was featured on one of my favorite shows on the Travel Channel – Great Hotels hosted by the even greater Samantha Brown. There was even a one in 226 chance that I might even stay in the same room that Samantha did. For those not familiar with Samantha or not having cable TV, you can check out her work here. When Mrs. F’er tires of me, I might have to give Sam a call. Then we can return to Le Pavillon and share in the nightly tradition of PBJ’s and milk in the lobby. Then I'll go back to the room and puke since I'm allergic to peanuts.
I don’t watch the Travel Channel much, but Great Hotels is on Sunday mornings and a pleasant alternative to Meet the Press. Samantha is way cooler than the egotistical windbag guests that inevitably give me heartburn and ruin Mrs. F’er’s killer French toast (inspired by the Cottonwood Inn in Taos, NM).
Back to the hotel. The hotel normally caters to a high end clientele, but one guest showed up in the hotel bar one day wearing cowboy boots, black dress slacks, a gray tank top, a cheap white mesh baseball cap, and a Bluetooth headset, as if he couldn't get time off of work to spend a day at the beach and go line dancing but tried to fit it all in anyway. Fortunately, New Orleans is currently operating under what’s being termed “Katrina Casual” and this week he sat mostly unnoticed amidst the generic white businessmen.
The house pianist was there in style and plying her craft for any guest that wandered into her bar that week. And wander I did. I didn’t sit down but just milled about smartly, watching the action from the marble ledge that separated the bar from the lobby. We had flirted all week – me with a nod that said, “I know that most of these clowns sitting in the bar aren’t listening to you and you might as well pipe in some elevator music, but I’m digging what you’re laying down.” And her acknowledging smile in return that said, “Glad you’re enjoying it, because you’re right… these bloated business fucks wouldn’t recognize talent unless you stuffed it in an Abita bottle and hit them over the head with it.” It’s always nice to find people with similar non-verbal communication skills. By Wednesday our relationship evolved and she would greet me with a, “Have a seat, Dallas.” No, I wasn’t wearing a ten-gallon hat and spurs, but she asked earlier in the week where I was from and that became my name. Or maybe it was the ass-less chaps... I don’t know.
I didn’t take a seat until Thursday when one of her tunes captured my attention more than usual. It was as if Shania Twain had shown up at a cheap beer joint to buy me a beer and hand me some jukebox money. The piece was inspirational, and not in the usual way where I end up in a holding cell in my underwear apologizing for something. I asked her who it was and after telling me, we had a very brief discussion about songwriting and she played some old pieces from the late 19th and early 20th century that inspired her. She didn’t get to play those often, but her playlist was temporarily limited since the Discovery Channel was on-site taping a documentary and requested that she didn’t play anything they would have to pay royalties on. And once Eminem is off the table, what else is there?
When I went back to my room, I did a little research on the tune and found Richard Clayderman’s website and immediately thought I might be gay. He appears to be some sort of Yanni/John Tesh new age, bad haircut wearin’ artist. I didn’t want to believe that I went from Led Zeppelin to Blue Oyster Cult to Concrete Blonde to Beth Hart to Richard freakin’ Clayderman. I might as well just start calling bingo games down at the Sunshine Home Assisted Living Community. But I was alone in my hotel room so I decided to explore this new side of myself and downloaded the song (Ballade pour Adeline). And it sucked. It was nothing like what I had just heard downstairs. I started to feel better as my self-esteem and masculinity slowly returned, and I took a hot shower to remove any Clayderman remnants still clinging to my violated soul.
I returned to the scene of the crime (iTunes) and decided to try another one that my muse recommended. Even if this song sucked, I was intrigued with the stories she told me about New Orleans native Louis Moreau Gottschalk. Great stories about a forbidden affair, a ticket on the disoriented express, and a mysterious death on foreign soil. I reluctantly hit “play” after downloading “The Dying Poet” but this time there wasn’t any of that new age crap, just a cool piano composition like I heard earlier that day. The kind that would have made Lucy fall in love with Schroeder if they had been hanging around New Orleans in 1864. Not my favorite version, but download it here.
Or if you're into masochism or comas, download Clayderman here.
Leper Pop hits the road again and El Sid will be signing blogs at the Marquis Reforma Hotel in Mexico City through the end of this week. Stop by and buy me a shot of tequila. I hear it's like beer.