# New Orleans is Contradiction
New Orleans is slow, humid, warm and sticky like sex. When you are about to let go and indulge, losing yourself into it, someone or something brings your awareness back because it can be a matter of life or death. I have never been anywhere where the Eros & Thanatos friction (pulsion of life vs pulsion of death) is perceptible in such extent.
# New Orleans is Glamour
Who would have believed that I would have fully embraced my frustrated glamorous side in New Orleans? Certainly not me. Glamour is appearing to me just like that.
On Tuesday, I crashed the movie set where κ² is currently working. New Orleans has a lot of cinema and TV show shooting going on, as it is cheaper than LA. The set I crashed is a big production with Sandra Bullock and Billy Bob Thornton. I told the massive security dude that I knew someone in the crew and he didn’t ask me anything. He just held the door for me. I was surprised at how easy it is to get on movie sets, but apparently it is not supposed to be the case. I was just lucky. The same day, I saw Katy Perry on Frenchmen street. She was performing at the Smoothie King Center. She had no security around her, just a bunch of weird friends. She was on everyone’s lips the day after. “Katy Perry was in town!” Yeah, I know.
And same day finally, the drag queen living upstairs knocked the door late at night. I opened to him and we decided to meet up for brunch. Those who know me know my obsession for drag queens. They are my absolute favourite creatures of all. So I was excited like a teenager on a first date. He told me his story. We exchanged a bunch of artistic inspirations and he took me shopping. “Would you like to come with me to my favourite wig shop?” What a question. I had to control myself not to scream and kiss his size 14 feet. On the way, he told me that he would like a wig like my hair. He actually gave me hope, because in New Orleans, there are girls who do drag. It is called “Faux Queen”. (Love the irony of how a girl incarnating a girl is called “faux”). I’m on the way to embrace this. New Orleans has been almost the only time of my life that I want to be in my skin and not in someone else’s. Probably because my glamorous daily needs are finally met? I went to see my drag friend on stage on Friday. His outfits were the fanciest of all. He danced on “Dancing Queen” with a whole bunch of fake flowers pinned on his head.
# New Orleans is Morbid
The city has a weird relationship to death. By order of importance, the top symbols of New Orleans are: the Fleur-de-lis, skulls, catholic imagery and voodoo stuff. They all mix up. There are more skulls than one can see, and it is not only due to Halloween coming up – which is huge down here, of course. (But Mardi Gras still is the main celebration.) Witchcraft and tarot readers are omnipresent. My drag friend explained me that New Orleans funerals are very eccentric. They sing and dance endlessly and take pictures of the dead surrounded by his/her favourite objects. I really want to crash a funeral while I’m here. My dark side is magnetised by this place.
# New Orleans is Burlesque
And Queer. The burlesque scene is vibrant, and they create new concepts for it, like “Erotic poetry reading” nights the first Wednesday of the month. There is a tradition from burlesque inherited from the chic brothels. You see more drag and burlesque than regular strippers. On Frenchmen street, I interacted with an “Erotica smut writer”. She writes you an erotic poem while you wait. She also had a one woman show called “Slut (r)evolution”. There’s a lot of fancy dress, costume, cross dressing all over the city. It is the kingdom of Creatures. You can’t really get self conscious for wearing whatever you feel like wearing. On my first day at Floras, the cafe where I write, a lovely bearded woman from California made my coffee. Nothing could be more normal here.
# New Orleans is Violence
You only become a true New Orleanian once you’ve been mugged. I don’t get used to it. People talk about violence and crime all the time. It is a huge part of their mind set, but as a European, it is not a part of mine. I always walked home late at night or early in the morning in all the cities where I’ve been (including New York which is a European city at that extent). It frustrates me to stop myself from embracing the night. I asked the guys if I could walk around with no money and no purse so I have nothing to steal. They told me that I could still be raped. (True. This one I can’t leave at home.) Mind set.
You don’t want to know how many guns are in the city. A taxi driver I was talking to asked me the usual question: “Is it safe back there?” (Europe). And then he told me that he had a gun under the seat because 6 taxi drivers were shot last year. I was tempted to ask him to show it to me but I’d rather keep away from these as long as possible.
I was at a bar with the guys of the arty house the other night – and by the way, you can still smoke in public places – and they simultaneously showed me their respective weapons under the table cause they are illegal. β4 had brass knuckles and μ3 had a knife shaped as a pen. She also got a taser for Christmas. I was seating between them and realised that I was surrounded with armed people.
The weirdest is that violence is explicitly or implicitly codified. Guns are legal, but brass knuckles and a bunch of “minor” weapons are not. You can get mugged/raped/murdered on the street but you can leave belongings under your porch a few steps up from the street, and no one would touch them.