Update: Complimenting Photos
Happy New Year!
I took some extra time off for the holiday this year, my first good, long holiday break since I was in college and got to spend some time catching up with friends all over Mississippi and Louisiana. After a lazy, relaxing Christmas with the family in Brookhaven I got to spend a day on the town up in Jackson. An afternoon with a roast beef lunch at Cherokee and an hour browsing the shelves of Lemuria segued nicely into happy hour pints at Fenian’s and a cookout at a warehouse turned art studios down in the Millsaps Arts District. I’d met one of the guys that is renting the building and doing the renovations at Cups earlier in the day and he graciously invited me to come check the place out. It was encouraging to get to meet some of the younger set that is carrying the torch for the arts in Jackson. After the cookout it was off to Martins for an excellent show by the local band Roosevelt Noise, whom Jaysus was DJ-ing for between sets. It was great to have a boozy late night out with the likes of Gorjus, Jaysus, Beebo and Mavis in the city and to see a number of the old ‘Wrecking Crew’ that were in town for the holidays.
With a few days of down time between my Christmas travels and the New Year’s celebration in New Orleans I got to wander around Baton Rouge meeting all sorts of new people. Friday night I road my bike as part of Baton Rouge’s Critical Mass. It was a beautiful, cool and crisp evening for a ride and it was an experience to travel with a pack of 30+ riders on some of Baton Rouge’s busiest streets. A majority of the citizens in cars seemed ambivalent, if not supportive, of the mass. We had one car that wasn’t too pleased with a group of us who’d stopped on Government just before Park to rescue the contents of a crate that a rider had lost off her seat rack, and I took a stick of deodorant, of all things, square in the small of my back for the trouble (perhaps there is something to be said for the old adage about cleanliness and godliness). I figure, between the velocity of the throw plus the speed of the car, that the hygiene missile hit me going about 35 miles an hour or so and has left a nice bruise which I am quite proud of. Seeing as I took fire on my first ride, I guess I’m now a Critical Mass lifer.
And so Monday saw me off to New Orleans to ring in the New Year. I had about six different groups of friends down there all doing different things, so I wasn’t really sure what kind of trouble I was going to find. Arriving before noon, I parked on Esplanade and grabbed coffee and a muffin from Envie and spent about an hour trying to get in touch with and coordinate with all my disparate groups. It was quite entertaining sitting in Latrobe Park by the French Market and watching all the Hawaiians, in town for the Sugar Bowl, enjoying themselves in the Big Easy. They seemed to truly be enjoying the experience of America’s most European city, on what, I would have to think, was the first trip to the South for a majority of them. It was a singular experience to be sitting with my brother, his wife, and some of their friends in The Court of Two Sisters on Royal and to be surrounded by Polynesians. Rarely a dull moment in the NO, for sure.
After catching up with M. Potter at some friends of hers house in the Bywater, I headed down to Frenchman to meet up with some Jackson friends at Adolfo’s (where I’d eaten dinner on New Year’s Eve the year before, sychronistically enough). They had been in the Quarter drinking until 4, so it took a few Tropical Isle Hand Grenades and a full circuit of Bourbon Street before I was able to catch up with them and get into the New Year’s Eve swing of things. By the time we’d made it back to the far end of Bourbon and stopped for a drink in Lafitte’s Blacksmith Bar it was about 11 o’clock and with all the bowl games in town the Quarter was way too packed for my taste, so I opted to head back over to the Bywater and welcome 2008 in M. Potter’s friends’ backyard. I made it back with about 15 minutes to spare, so with a blazing chimenea, a few good friends, and as we listened to the artillery sounding from the river, 2008 landed in the Central Time Zone. It was pretty damn cold outside, and in lieu of champagne we (over) indulged in some excellent spiced Hot Toddies, my first foray into hot whiskey drinks, which I’m quite enamored with now. Having done some serious mixological research into the Tom Collins (a completely different animal when home-made and not using a nasty, oversweet mix) and the Sazerac over the last six months, I think I’ve found my next drink to master.
And so the New Year finds me back in Baton Rouge, watching sub par bowl games (way to fail Illinois, and Hawaii, I’m hurting for you right now, I at least wanted you to make a strong showing after meeting all your super cool fans) and preparing for a return to the working world. I have to say that I feel pretty good about 2008. It feels like big things are on the horizon not only for me but for Baton Rouge and New Orleans. My New Year’s resolution this year is to simply â€œmake it count.â€ And by it I mean the year, and all things that will happen in it. It’s time to put some points up on the board.