After the ICBs we took a disco nap. The humidity really drains ya.

Now, when I spoke with my inside man Oscar the night before he hipped me to the fact that tonight was Midsummer’s Mardi Gras — an event held by a local group every year that begins and ends at the Maple Leaf Bar. We made our way Uptown via the St. Charles Streetcar. Like the yamhead I am I kept referring to this as the Streetcar Named Apathy. I even made Garrett and Ann pose.


I then asked Ann what the Streetcar Named Desire looked like.


And here’s what the Garden District looks like at night from a moving streetcar.


By the time we got to the Maple Leaf the O.A.K. Krewe that was doing the parade had already left. I figured we’d meet up with them when they came back and we went next door to Jack-Imo’s Restaurant for extreme eating and drinking. Frankly, I had heard very mixed things about this place – some loved it, others hated it. I was wary as they just opened up on the Upper West Side. My conclusion, though, is that it is a lot of fun. Plus the bartenders are a riot. And they played nothing but classic rock. I got to give my loud lecture about how Charlie Watts is the greatest drummer in the history of man. Here’s Jim mixing us up some complimentary Southern Comforts and Lime.


And here’s what I ate – a stuffed porkchop. As if a pig at a cow that had been eating shrimp.


It came with mashed potatoes, collareds and alligator sausage. Ann got something chicken related and Garrett got something fried.


The Krewe made its way back, and that’s when we met Elvis.


And Spongebob.


And Bill Clinton with his pants off. (Remember this picture, it comes into play days later.)


And a guy who actually had a lampshade on his head.


And here was a woman on the street, kinda annoyed by the whole thing. Note the sign below her window. Awesome.


And here we are, starting to feel a little dizzy.


We went inside the Maple Leaf. Ivan Neville was there with a group called Dumpsta Funk. Walter “Wolfman” Washington was sitting in. There it was, Day Two, and I was already seeing two New Orleans legends. They kicked ass. They hit it on the one. The tore the roof off the joint. They made is put our hands in the air and wave ‘em around like we just didn’t care.

Here we are, enjoying ourselves.






And here I am, officially rowdy.


Here are others:





Note: the man’s necklace is made from prescription pill bottles, and the woman’s outfit has working neon.


Maybe this guy can actually play the banjo, but he was in no condition to play this night. A nice guy, though.


We wandered across the street to an artist’s home. He had the door open. I was getting’ a real vibe.


We took a taxi home, but didn’t go upstairs until we stopped at the Hog’s Bar. Not the Hog’s Breath, which is actually mentioned as a fun dump in some of the guide books. The Hog’s Bar. Remember when a yuppie wandered into Moe’s Tavern and said, “this isn’t faux dive. This is a dive!” That’s how we felt.

Smacked out prostitutes on either side of us. Nothing on tap. No music playing. No light. We came in and ordered light beers (Ann got a Baileys) implying that the evening, now after 3 AM, was coming to a close.

“Call the tower!” Jimmy the bartender shouted. “They’re coming in for a landing.”

Jimmy then told us his life story. From Ohio, he was in Vietnam then lived some strange years in San Francisco. He implied that for many years he was a junkie, and as such he has a soft spot for people who were strung out. He’ll always protect them and they know they can come and nod out for a while in the back of the bar so long as they are quiet.

We finished our drink and he bought us a second one. How could we refuse? A moment later he perked up. “Wait. Let’s have some fun.”

He got out some rum, gin and vodka plus pineapple and orange juice. He mixed it all together. “This is my signature drink. I call it the Nigga Please!”

And I tell you what, the Nigga Please tasted fan-fucking tastic.

After a little while I put a dollar in the jukebox (you’ll be happy to read, Bill, that I put on “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen and sang it at the top of my lungs) and really wanted another Nigga Please. (According to William Safire, if I wanted to order three I’d ask for three Niggas Please.) But how to ask for them? There were a handful of blacks in the bar. I asked for three Negroes Please, satisfying my political correctedness and my love of grammar.)

Anyway, here’s a shot of Garrett enjoying these fine beverages.


And of Ann.


And, finally, of Jimmy, the greatest bartender in the world, mugging with his tongue hanging.


He works the 1 to 9 AM shift. When he told me this I said, “Wow!” “Wow! They always say Wow.” We spent, like, five dollars each and had a slew of drinks. Did he just like the fact that we weren’t packin’?

We went upstairs just as the sun was coming out. I popped a tape of Tron on. Within thitry seconds I was asleep on the couch.