Monday, December 15, 2008

Nola 2

This exotic-looking egret was hanging out on the shore of the Mississippi with a bunch of disinterested (in him, anyway) seagulls. They were all looking for lunch, that’s all that seemed to matter.

I love the courtyards in New Orleans- alleys that open into courts or yards or simply another alley. They remind me of the architecture in Vienna and Budapest. There’s always the possibility of something mysterious and hidden and maybe even wonderful if you just go through one more gate.

Another thing I love about New Orleans are the bands that pick up the second-line people, as if every day is worthy of a parade. These stalwart souls were marching in the rain the day before we left.

The final full day we were in New Orleans, we took a bus tour (yeah, I know, but what are you going to do without a car?) to Oak Alley. It is one of the restored sugar plantations on the River Road (which runs along the levee), quite far from New Orleans proper. On the way there, we saw Lake Pontchartrain (it goes on and on) on one side of the causeway, and the swamp (people still live there- we saw dwellings) on the other. Like the rest of the country, there is a lot of racial baggage in New Orleans. Oak Alley has a very pretty house, very old oak trees and an overseer’s cottage. There are no slave quarters. Slaves are barely mentioned, though the guide did refer to the house slaves as “servants.” They weren’t servants, they were slaves. It was muggy there in November; Tom and I shuddered to think what it would have been like skimming sugar in August. We wished that there had been some kind of explicit reference to the lives and conditions of the slaves: it took 90 slaves to make the sugar and till the land, and another 20 to run the house. I’m not sorry we went, but it left a bad taste in my mouth. At the gift shop, I did buy a copy of edited slave stories collected during the WPA, which I am working my way through slowly. They’re too sad to read at one sitting.


The Dramahound’s been busy, as I’m sure you have. Travel, holidays, decorating for the season, music, finished a short play, started a new play, etc. But for Thanksgiving, my boyfriend and I were fortunate enough to spend a week in the French Quarter thanks to the generosity of two writer friends of ours who lent us their condo.

We didn’t see any theatre, but just walking the streets there is theatre enough. Tom and I decided that the best Bloody Marys were to be had at the Chartres House, where Tennessee Williams himself drank in its earlier incarnation. We saw the new Borders store on St. Charles Avenue, in the shell of Bultman’s Funeral Home. Not only was Jefferson Davis laid out there, but Williams set “Summer and Smoke” in its solarium. It was hard to visualize that in the mist of Borders displays, but we tried. We tried to get a drink at the Columns (where much of “Pretty Baby” was shot), but they are still on reduced, post-Katrina hours.

We also saw more of Bourbon Street at night; I think the photo’s self-explanatory. We met some very nice dogs. There was an English bulldog puppy that was ready to come home with Tom. There was lots of walking, and thereby window shopping. I loved this guy’s stone head- he seemed to me a total Roman with attitude. Photos by Tom Bovo.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


My boyfriend and I just adopted a basset/beagle mix puppy. This is called a Bagel (which seems wrong). We got him from an adoption fair at St. Andrew's Roman Catholic Church in Bay Ridge. He is getting fixed, and coming home with us tomorrow night. We're thinking of calling him Augie, because his pound name (Milo) is not him.