Monday, August 9, 2010

IPCPR: Day 1

Have you ever seen the movie "The Aristocats"? It's a 1970's Disney animated show about a hoity-toity female cat and her family fraternizing with this beatnik cat in the city of Paris. In this movie has one of the best damn songs in the world. It's called "Everyone Wants To Be A Cat". Here it is:

Isn't that song just crazy awesome? Even if it's slightly racially insensitive (I'm looking at you, poor Siamese cat), the swing-y, jazzy sound to it is just plain crazy good. It is this song that I've had stuck in my head through the ENTIRETY of my tenure in the fine city of New Orleans.  All twelve hours of it.

I'm not sure what it is about this city but I really groove on it. Maybe it's the brass band music that pervasive up and down every street. Maybe it's the hearty guffaws and giggles of mirth from every doorway. Maybe it's the fact that you can walk down the street with an open container while smoking. I dunno. It's probably all of it.

Traveling here wasn't too difficult. The flights were pleasant (if cramped), the stewardesses were cool to talk to (was talking about Paterson's tax hikes with the stewardess on the Albany to Columbus leg), and the terminals were all air-conditioned and well stocked with magazines and coffee. Getting up at 3am (well, leaving at 3am because I didn't sleep) was a bit of a stretch but it wasn't that bad. The skies were clear and free from turbulence. All in all, relatively non-stressful.

Post-flight saw me finally crashing at the hotel for a few hours of desperately needed sleep. I wanted to go to the Henke Kelner "Cigars 101" seminar but I was just too damn tired. I woke up starving (I had McDonalds at 5am and it was now 5pm). We decided to sojourn to Acme Oyster House for a fish fry. Oh, and oysters on the half-shell. I'd never had them. The wait in line was long due to the fact that my cameraman was one turtle-slow bastard. After finally getting in, I settled in with one of the greatest cocktails ever made. A Sazerac. A Sazerac, New Orleans official cocktail as mandated by government, is a simple affair of roughly 2 oz. rye, a few dashes of Angostura bitters laced into a sugar cube, and absinthe. The resulting amalgamation of strong, fiery sweet rye with a light anise and herbal flavor is probably what God drinks with his Sunday brunch.  Here she is:

This hell-brew of awesome paired extremely well with a half dozen oysters on the half shell. And the charbroiled oysters. And the Seafood Special: catfish, oysters, shrimp (all fried) with sweet potato fries and hush puppies. Y'know what, just pair it with everything. IT WORKS, OK.

As we were getting ready to leave, I even saw CigarLaw, but I didn't say anything because I didn't want to be that creepy guy that addresses you in front of your friends by saying "I KNOW YOU FROM TWITTER." Let's be honest, the next line to that sentence should be "I'D LIKE TO WEAR YOUR SKIN LIKE A COAT." It's that creepy of an ice-breaker. To close out the night we stopped at an timeless and unyielding pinnacle of shopping luxury: CVS. Why did we stop at CVS? Because you can buy fucking booze at CVS here. Not only can you smoke in bars and drink on the street...but you can buy alcohol at every grocery store and pharmacy and what-have-you all across the city. Needless to say, I'm sitting here drinking a glass of Sazerac Rye and writing this.

Being in the city is damn near magical. The people are friendly. The music is loud and boisterous. The drinks flow the Big Miss and no one looks at you strange for drinking on the street. I mean, hell, I bought a bottle of Sazerac Rye, a lighter, and a pack of cigarettes (FOR SMOKING IN BARS) at 9:30pm. AT A CVS. I think I'm going to like it here.

On to Day 2!

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