Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Big Easy

I have visited New Orleans three times in my life. Two of them were Mardi Gras visits. Once I passed through while touring the country trying to decide what to do with my life.

I fell in love with New Orleans after my first Mardi Gras trip in 1989. I was poor, young and stupid and Mardi Gras was one hell of a party. On that trip I didn't have enough money to drink and barely enough to eat. I mostly walked the festival laden streets and soaked in the atmosphere. I was impressed by the scale of the party and the incredible variety of people there. Rich people and poor people and black and white and eccentric and plain, every kind of person I could imagine were on those streets. I felt like this was the melting pot that my third grade teacher taught me about. And the boobies, oh yes, the famous displays of debauchery that Mardi Gras is famous for. I was also impressed with the boobies.

My second Mardi Gras trip in 1991 was much more bizarre. I made a new friend Dave for this road trip and we found a friend of a friend of a friend that let us sleep in her living room for fifty bucks. On this trip we smoked a lot of pot. One of my first experiences with being stoned for days at a time. It felt like every time we turned around there was one more opportunity to smoke. We passed a joint while sitting in a public fountain. We shared a pipe with a friendly local in a back room in the french quarter. Random strangers on the street asked for a light and then passed a joint to us as we sat in an open window café. It was utter madness. And the crowds and varieties of people were every thing I remembered from my previous visit. This is where I first saw a pierced tongue when a hooded man wearing only a black leather thong stuck his tongue out at me outside the rowdy gay leather bar. I must admit I was a little traumatized. I recall being absolutely smitten with an attractive bartender I met in the french quarter. I can't remember her name but I do remember naming her stuffed penguin souvenir 'Hamlet'. I spent the better part of an evening with her hoping for a chance to fish for a kiss, but being so stoned I could barely string words together into complete sentences.

On my third visit to New Orleans there was no parties, dope or boobies. That is when I saw the city in a different light. I visited Tulane university and some nice restaurants and wealthy areas of town. I also saw poverty and communities with nowhere to go. The dividing lines between them were raw and striking. The city was still a melting pot, but perhaps the mix of rich and poor and black and white and upper class and lower class were not as equitable as it appeared at wilder times.

The wake of the current hurricane has left me awestruck. All the places I remember having good times are now soaked away. The dividing lines between classes are more apparent than ever. No matter what, move the town, rebuild the town, abandon the town; New Orleans and our nation will never be the same again.

I can't believe what I am seeing in my own country. I thought we had disaster plans for this. I thought our leaders would care more about a major city taking a blow like this. The only good I have seen of this mess has come from private citizens. Individuals doing a small part to help out. But our elected leaders and the politicians that are supposed to be servants of the public have shown a piss poor response to crisis. As soon as we get our fellow Americans out of harms way there are a lot people that have a lot of explaining to do. I intend to remember this incident come election day.

I received a phone call from Major M__ today. He is being re-deployed to the big easy. He won't be going to enjoy the dope, the booze or the boobies. Hang in there New Orleans, the finest soldier I know is on his way and he won't be alone, there are good men on the way to help, just hold on.

Hear hear...glad to know there is someone with a heart heading down there to help. If's he's a friend or relative of your's, good is to be done.
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