I don't eat sarnies, I eat po' boys
A loud jeering crow came from the mass of people on the balcony who were shaking their gaudy coloured beads. The woman standing below obliged, screaming, "Yeah! Yeah!" as she took out her left breast from her shirt, a mass of white flesh with an aureole stuck on it like a discoloured maraschino cherry, swinging her plastic cup of beer with her other hand. Unfortunately for M. that was the only time we saw a live naked nipple on display in Bourbon Street. We probably didn't look hard enough.
"I'm so glad we're leaving here on Tuesday," I said to M. as we were eating dinner at Muriel's
. "If we stayed here a week I'd be the size of a house."
Over the course of one day
we'd sampled - with plenty of Tabasco sauce, as you do in Louisiana where hot sauce is on every table, together with any number of peppery seasonings - shrimp po' boys (fried shrimp with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise in French bread), crawfish pie (crawfish flesh stuffed with spices into a pie crust, then fried), jambalaya, seafood gumbo (with plenty of filé seasoning and oysters poking out of it), pecan crusted puppy drum (a type of fish), macaroni cheese, barbecued shrimp, and beignets (fried dough served with heaps of icing). My tongue and lips were burning but my stomach cried out for more Creole shrimp. There was a distinct possibility that we would have to be rolled back to New York, as over the next couple of days we continued to stuff ourselves with crawfish etouffee, corn, fluffy hot biscuits, pecan pie and chocolate brownie.
We walked around Jackson Square, past numerous shops selling shoes, handbags, antique chinaware and terribly garish paintings. The Mississippi was as muddy as I'd thought it would be. The people said "Y'all", all the time, called me "Baby" and "Sweetie" and were friendly enough to be qualified tour guides. The service was excruiatingly slow by New York standards.
"It's just that New York is so fast, it seems
slow," M. said when I pointed this out to him. "Outside of New York, I think everything works in a more relaxed pace."
Certainly, the warm weather and cooling breeze makes it much easier than in New York to wait outside for your food.
Every watering hole in the French Quarter competed for customers with music - live music, jazz, blues, pop, rock and the occasional semi-nude MCs on the stage. We didn't have to go inside to hear the clamour of the crowd and smell the sweat mixed with vomit and beer breath.
"Where are you going - tell me where you're going and I'll show you," an inebriated local offered to help us out as we peered at a map. M. shifted away saying,
"We know where we're going."
I could smell his drink before I even looked at his bright pink face.