Thursday, November 1, 2007


Frenchmen St.
November 1, 2007
3:45 a.m.

Dear Family and Friends,

I'm not alone. Six-thousand of my closest friends will be hitting snooze this morning. Fear of oversleeping runs wild in our thoughts. It's a quarter to four and five hours until the experiment we call work after Halloween in New Orleans begins.

In New Orleans, much like New York, the new attitude is work hard, play hard. People tell me, that pre-K, it was more like work some, play more. Dr. Edward Blakely, the City's recovery czar, says there should be no more "Easy" in the nicknames for New Orleans.

The work hard play hard mentality that is beginning to permeate this place, especially with the 22-34 demographic. I hope it defines post-K New Orleans. Maintain the coffee at sunset, the cocktails at sunrise, dance six feet from of a trumpet player all night long activities. Right after work is finished.

Frenchmen Street occupies a sliver of New Orleans that is steeped in funky. Architecture, people, smell sometimes. The neighborhood, called the Marigny, has residents who follow the building structures: they are often colorful, sometimes tilted, but overall incredible to look at or know.

On Halloween, Frenchmen Street turns into a mass of alter-egos. Wonder-women, Harlequins, Marie Antoinettes, Bumble-Bees. Beetlejuices, Where's Waldos and Larry Craigs (Ha). The area can hold 10,000 people I'd say.

The it's ok to take alcohol outside as long as it's not in a glass container law promotes the makeshift-no-invitation-necessary-because-this-a-street-and-not-a-living room party. They tend to sprout up often in New Orleans.

On holidays like Halloween, these parties turn into massive celebrations where new friends are made, acquaintances reunite, and several people try to take snapshots with police officers.

The no glass rule kinds of goes out the window by midnight. Jules Goins, my friend and roommate, dresses like Tiger Woods. I'm his caddy. We bought a roll-out putting green and brought it to Frenchmen St, put it down and started yelling "Putt for beers!"

There is something special about watching a vampire with a golf club. No way this would fly at New Orleans Country Club. By the end of the night we'd gone through our inventory, and our last spot was at an intersection. Twice unrealizing motorists had to be escorted through the crowd by the New Orleans Police Department.

"Game on," Wayne from Wayne's World yelled.

Right out of a movie.

Eight hours earlier, New Orleans under 12 population is spending Halloween in Palmer Park. The Mayor and his wife have outfitted it with hot dog stands inflatable play pens, fire trucks, police cars and one scary guy who is 7-feet tall with a tiki torch and a fierce make-up job.

The trick or treating and costumes have put smiles on children and adult's faces. There is a feeling a safety and community here. The Mayor says to the crowd thanks for coming and that more events like this will be planned for the City's children.

Nights like these are a litmus test of this recovery. New Orleans knows how to celebrate holidays. In a symbolic sense, I think a City without hope wouldn't celebrate.

The funniest thing is, several people told me, "Just wait until Mardi Gras" with you haven't seen anything yet looks.

This makes me scared, happy.


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