New Orleans

The French Quarter, beautiful and resplendent, perfect. St Louis Cathedral and an informal historical tour of New Orleans. There is something so amazingly lovely about that cathedral, the big sprawling lawn before it, the heresy of tarot readers and street performers framing its boundaries. The street musicians and the caricature artists.They are the ones that hold the secrets of New Orleans, these people around the boundaries of St. Louis’ Cathedral. Their gift to the city is not their art, although that would be gift enough. Their gift is that they release the secrets.

The secrets spill into the French Market, pause in the gaping hole where the Famer’s Market used to be. No more alligator-on-a-stick or raw sugar cane. These secrets, both glorious and gory, continue on, hungry, spreading through the Market, around the corner, past Elysian Fields and ’round to Bourbon Street.

They cross themselves like good Catholics, bending and swirling and genuflecting all over the city.

They give themselves to anyone who listens, anyone who can hear past the loud, booming music of the Pub or the Oz or see past the kicking legs in Big Daddy’s All-Girl Revue.

The secrets aren’t whores; they simply need to be needed and need to feel connected.

They cross over, whizzing past frat boys and transvestite prostitutes. Neither are unworthy; they simply have their own concerns. They seek those with wide-eyes and pursed lips, a British accent or a well-lamed foot.

It is all the same to them.

They are the soul of New Orleans, comprised of Jazz and street art and beignets. They are the soul of New Orleans, comprised of poverty and filth and the echoes of slavery.

They found her with her pursed lips and wide eyes, and settled on her like a finely crocheted shawl, covering her shoulders and veiling her face. Her eyes widened, her vision fractalized by the intricate needlework.

The secrets were home, and she was the secrets.

And they sang to her, a cacophony of voices. What would have been dissonance, vulgar and intolerable in any other place was beautiful and harmonious and, above all, honest.

They showed her visions of things, smidgens of memories and futures and presents. They showed her Elton John and Lilly Allen and a flag that had no place in a New Orleans arena. They showed her compassion and loss, the aching of losing one’s soul mate. They showed her success: papers, speeches, things that terrified her.

But more than that, they showed her music. In every architectural line in the Quarter is love and sex and music. Every curve that of a woman’s invitation, every corner that of a man’s elbow, poised and waiting. Every step a loving service, every sidewalk crack is duty and exultation. Every block, every pane a note or a chord or a chorus.

Every shadow an epiphany.

For New Orleans is love and sex and music.

And this is why she is home. For home is love and sex and music.

“Love Song” the Cure

Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am home again
Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am whole again
Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am young again
Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am fun again

However far away I will always love you
However long I stay I will always love you
Whatever words I say I will always love you
I will always love you

Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am free again
Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am clean again

However far away I will always love you
However long I stay I will always love you
Whatever words I say I will always love you
I will always love you

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