New Orleans: Southern Hospitality

As stated in my previous post:  it is hard to compete with southern hospitality in New Orleans.  Throughout the trip there were plenty of encounters with family, friends, new friends, and of course your run-of-the-mill strangers.  New Orleans is not a dirty place; although, some may stereotype the city due to the festivals and hurricane clean up.  It’s been eight years since Katrina hit, and (yes) there still has work to be done.  Like any other city, this is considered revitalization.  My cousins drove us through several areas/wards of New Orleans to show desolation and improvement.

As the festivals go:  sure there may be some garbage and vomit on the street.  That is like any other city.  I consider New Orleans to be cleaner than New York.  One may think that the open container laws encourage littering; it’s to my opinion–this opinion can be backed up to personal witnessing–that people are more likely to throw their garbage and cups away due to their being able to take what-they-leave-with around the Quarter.  For instance, the four of us went to see Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers at one of the corner bars on Bourbon Street.  The place was packed, but there was a constant presence of a couple bar employees sweeping up every couple minutes (even if there werent napkins or straws on the ground).

Dwayne and his band mates put on one hell of a show–Hellraisers to say the least.  They had great presence:  interacting with our crowd–both on-stage and mingling in with us–was never hesitated or doubted.  They were the first band that I saw in New Orleans.  They need to come up here; although, we may not be ready for that much energy and excitement.  What do you think, Syracuse?

We went to the famous Walk-Ons for the Saints/Texans game; the place was spotless for a sports bar.  To get to the bar, a small set of stairs has to be climbed, and there is a large mat, reading Walk-Ons, to greet you.  Every time that rug was somewhat shifted, an employee would walk by and straighten it out; this happened a few times.  Up north… well, I haven’t seen that happen.

gang

{Before the Saints game:  Cafe Du Monde for Beignets and Cafe Au Laits}

Even at Abita Brewing Company, before the tour began, they encouraged everyone to help themselves.

As the week progressed, the places we went to showed the same great qualities.  This included Shamrock, which is an old bowling alley now revamped into a huge game hall.  Dave & Busters can kiss its ass.  For everyone to enjoy (from what I remember):

  • at least 20 pool tables
  • a shuffleboard area
  • an at-least-three-foot and life-sized Jenga set
  • four ping-pong cages
  • a row of at least seven steel-tip dart boards
  • fooseball tables
  • air hockey tables
  • mini bowling lanes
  • Skee-ball
  • Pac-Man
  • video racing
  • punching bag
  • basketball hoops
  • photo booth
  • stage for bands, a DJ booth, and dance area
  • several televisions to watch sports

Need I go on?  I may have left something out.  Aside that, the owner came over and greeted us, and thanked us for coming.  This was while a huge billiards tournament took place.  Like I said:  Dave & Busters has nothing on them. Wait… they do have something Shamrock does not have:  kids running around.

air

{Concave Air Hockey Table:  Candace versus John}

sham

{Shamrock Preview}

The remainder of the hospitality came from family and new friends.

Candace and I got to see our aunt and uncle (John’s parents), who took us out to Port of Call.  We at dinner at my uncle’s brother’s house.  Chris’ family took us in and out on several occasions:  his father showed us a good time at Shamrock and took us to rock out to great bands, his mom and her boyfriend met us out at a craft and food market before treating us to very tasty Bloody Marys at Don’s, and his grandparents (especially Maw Maw) defined Southern home-cookin’ is where it’s at.  Maw Maw’s delicous-is-such-an-understatement food coaxed me to get up for seconds; her deviled eggs were the best!

*     *     *

John and Chris brought us out on the town for our last night in town, and Southern Decadence was taking place.  This über-liberal pride festival was an eye opener for me, a conservative moderate, who definitely felt uncomfortable and out of place.  John told me to stay close, because I may get scooped up, which we laughed about.  Their friends took us in for a stoop party amidst the festivities, where we sipped some good ol’ Pabst Blue Ribbons.  Upon our leaving, one of the friends asked me to give him a kiss on the cheek, which I politely refused.

As a straight man, getting complimented by a gay man is a compliment; it’s happened before.  I never splashed Holy Water on the person, held up a crucifix, and/or told them to back off.  I have relatives and close friends who are gay, and I have never (and probably will never) chastised them for who they are.  Homosexuality (to me) is not a sin, because–if it was–it would be listed as one of the Seven Deadly Sins; hence, there would be eight–there is not.  The street preachers–these people are really fucking annoying–may say that it is, but that’s all they seem to rant about; this is almost like an insecure defense mechanism.

What about the wars over religion?  Those still exist.  What about killing thy neighbor?  Adultery?  Cheating and immoral social aspects like:  sports doping and steroids, suicide (which has been said is an automatic ticket to hell), and/or Miley Cyrus’ annoyance and Lady Gaga’s face without makeup.  Why not rant about something positive.  It is never heard from the mouths of street preachers telling those to not give into Miley or Gaga’s quasi-artistic poor songwriting… if they even write the songs themselves.  I may be facetious with the statements, but I think these societal superstars and their fake presence corrupts morals more than someone you know simply being gay.

Homosexuals are not poisoning the water to turn the straight people gay either.

Humans are humans.  We all have brains (which work differently person to person, but we all have them), and we have hearts that pump blood.  We breathe the same air.  Judging someone for being gay is the same as judging on skin color and nationality.  It’s true that I am pro-life, fiscally conservative, and believe in the right to bear arms.  Having a Catholic background, I do believe in the sanctity of man/woman marriage; there is a fact that you need the presence of both sperm and an egg to create a child.  However, I do not believe that having two parents will undermine and defect a child’s development, when it can teach a child to accept differences, about people for who they are.

I think my cousin is doing a great job.  She had a baby, and her partner is an important part of that life.  Shouldn’t we be judging the simple fact of human-to-human relationships?  This goes beyond orientation and race, boomeraning back to what is considered norm.

Isn’t that what God wants you to do?  Respect and accept others and treat them the way you want to be treated?  God doesn’t judge me for liking the Yankees and not the Red Sox and the fact that I get along with a couple friends of mine, who do like the Sox.

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