One of my friends recently posted a couple of pictures of me from my New Orleans days on Facebook.
Here I am, sitting on the steps of my “double” (“duplex” is not in the New Orleans dictionary) with my dog Troy Russell.
Here I am again, on the same day, with Troy Russell and my beloved Saturn SC2, with the sunroof, the leather seats, and the killer stereo. The same SC2 which drowned in the May 9th, 1995 flood, which happened on May 8th. Go figure.
My house was at 941 Touro Street, on the corner of Touro and N. Rampart, which we called “Little Rampart”, as opposed to “Big Rampart”. It was the first house I ever owned (my present house is only the second one).
Across the street on the opposite corner was a bar called Dot’s Peppermint Lounge. They would keep their front door open, and in the lazy, hazy days of spring, the sounds of Motown would drift out. There was nothing to compare to it. It was like living a dream. I am living right here in the essence of New Orleans, I said to myself.
Then, the bar either changed owners or management, or both (although they continued to use the name Dot’s Peppermint Lounge), and the music completely changed. I’m not sure what genre you would call it, but it was loud and abrasive. And they continued to leave the door open, especially during the not-so lazy, hazy days of summer, because their air-conditioning did not work well.
I didn’t want to interfere with their patrons having a good time, or with their right to be there. So I would call them and say, “Please close your door. I’m trying to sleep.” The first time I did it, the bartender who answered the phone said “F*** You!” And hung up. So I called the police, who came and…made them close the door. Even in NOLA, there is a noise law, which takes effect at 10:00 P.M.
I can’t tell you how many times this scenario was repeated. I literally had both Dot’s and the 7th Precinct on speed-dial. We all got to be on a first-name basis. I’m sure that every time the phone rang at the Precinct at 10:00 P.M., someone said, “Oh…that must be Fakename.” Eventually even the people at Dot’s got the picture. So I would call, and they would say, “Oh Shit! It’s HER again! Close the door! Quick!”
Then came the final straw. Fakename returned home one evening at 10-ish after having drinks at the House of Blues with some co-workers after work. (You may be tempted, as they say about accidents, to suspect that alcohol was a factor in Fakename’s subsequent behavior.) Just in time to see two women park on the street right in front of her house.
Apparently something big was happening at Dot’s that night. Maybe they had live music, or maybe they were having an orgy…who cares. So Fakename initially was like, okay, I’ll park somewhere else. So I made the block, and there were no spaces. As I pulled back up to the corner where Dot’s was, the two women were just walking into the bar. And let me mention, these women were hulks. They were wearing uniforms with blue shirts and black pants, and those elastic waistband things you wear when you make a living unloading trucks.
I stopped the SC2 in the middle of the street, rolled down my window, and politely said, “Excuse me, but could you move your car? You’re parked right in front of my house.” Predictably, the largest hulk said, “F*** You!”
I tried again (actually, this is how you know alcohol was involved, that I was trying to reason with these people). I said, “Well, here’s the deal. You are only visiting the bar and could afford to park further away for a short period of time, whereas…I live here.” This sounded eminently logical to me. Hulk Woman said, “F*** You!”
Apparently two F*** Yous in the span of 5 minutes exceed Fakename’s limit. I got out of the car, leaving the driver’s side door open and marched up to the door of the bar. Let me add that I was blocking traffic, since my car was in the middle of Little Rampart Street, which is one-way and just about wide enough for a horse and buggy. About the time I reached the door, the two guys in the car behind me (that I was blocking) got out of their car and followed me. Cool…Rumble on Rampart lol.
In the cold light of day, Fakename asks: What the hell was I thinking? All approximately 125 pounds of me (at the time) against two giant women? How, you may wonder, did this get defused? What happened was that the bouncer said to the two women, Move your car. They were spitting mad. “This is a public street! She doesn’t own it! We can park anywhere we want!”
The bouncer replied, “True. However, if you don’t move your car, I’m not letting you in the bar.” They did. Ah–the power of networking. The Dot’s people knew that I was That Woman. If any harm had come to me, Dot’s would have been closed down faster than you can say “Noise Law”. Not that any of that was foremost in my mind at the time.
I was the very definition of “out of control”. I was literally thinking, you may kill me, but I’m going to do some damage on my way out. In other words, “F*** You!” And the POS Cadillac you rode in on and parked in front of my house.
Fakename is happy to report that she has calmed way down since those days, which has no doubt contributed largely to her continuing survival 🙂