• Anna Mangiardi

New Orleans : A Barkeep's Journey


There is a special camaraderie that accompanies the bar-flown nights in my sun-and-moon city. Perhaps it alone is where the moustached moonshiners allow one’s frequent to raucously dream in peace. Though you need not close your eyes in this damp and misty bed: here is where golden slumbers rise and fill the waking eye. You can watch it as the touring night-swarms tire and the dens seamlessly slap into the tippling army of native haunts: thus your proclaimed single-sip inevitably replenishes into the dawning celebration that only the souls of servitude can summon.

It all starts with a brass note and soon the lives of men who would reach for their left pockets have their right fists spuming gaily high in the air, mouths unlocked yawning in song, both hips in aviary patterns that no civil leader would care decode. The music creates you, enflames you, makes you one with the city that is you. We’ve all danced with that sinking damsel - the swirls and twirls and bursts of your soul join the heaving room like the frothing head of that foaming egg-white surprise you starry-eyed eye as you prod the windows of the no-touch displays. It’s but a dream child, one the luring yellow bulbs of the ancient hotels led you to…will there not be none of this when you wake? Then what was once a deep and lengthy night is opened to a pagan sunrise dance! The tabasco sky hits your wearing eyes and the light haze of morning’s hickory coffee drifts through the fading story of friends you won’t recall, seeing spicy creatures pass who wouldn’t dare exist beyond this world. Could they? They’ve cheered you as you swill and roar from stool to floor and now the hot beans and feet and your cavernous pot gulp down some hot-sugared dough at the Mighty River where the gutters’ crabby, ink-masked chicks swoop down, palms up - circling, circling, pecking and punking at your high and your patience with blood-lined pockets deeper and harder to fathom than any of the privileged dunces that dull their way through Audubon and Oak.

You swing through their flocks to the stones above the shore with that him-he you’ve plucked along the way. You’ve thrown him platters but his name escaped long ago with your wallet and you weigh upon his now lovely shoulder on the likes of pebbles, salted pockets and shallow friends. You hook an embrace with fleeting depth and even ride together to fall into southernly-opulent down - each others' arms perhaps below persuasion's belt - till a dusky alarm quivers and jerks you out of your desired respite. Running back past boas, street horns and battalions of stinking touristy snakes that shoot their way from bar down to bar in the bazaar that was your trance, now sinking trial. You live in the haze, prodded to grin by the pigs of The dark and whiskey Street and to remember the spirit - the spirit! that drives each of you day in and day out through the pesky ways that turn like the truth you had but for a moment of bubbly sunshine in his arms. Oh, their oscillating jig of here-and-now. There is no future in New Orleans. We are her children bewitched in whirlpool : the petting zoo of the blind, a sinking shore...the crest of consumption and the most magnificently fulfilled, carnal and bewildering dreams.

#neworleans #revelry #dancing #drinking #latenights #rambling #bartending #nightshift #serviceindustry #divebars

8 views