the LSU tigers versus the lafayette ragin’ cajuns
It’s a cult with all the trimmings: one hundred thousand purple and gold fanatics, children with war paint and tiny cheerleading outfits and the true sign of any cult: french poodles with LSU shaved into them. Taunts of “tiger bait, tiger bait” followed the red shirts of the cajun fans. The purple and golds flooded around the stadium, tents in every nook of the campus with flatscreen TVs, tables sagging with food and a crowd I found less obese than expected but also less attractive. However, I tend to react negatively to anything involving crowds or large followings. As Groucho said, “I’d never be in any club that would have someone like me as a member.”
I spent the day with fascinating people watching and bathing in southern hospitality. I got the invite from my buddy Bacque, a southern gentleman I lived with during my semester in dresden. His friend Nick introduced me to the glory of boudin pizza, the joy of sitting in the middle of campus all day drinking beer and watching football and the pleasure of a gigantic fireball that accompanies throwing a pound of frozen chicken wigs in bubbling hot grease. But the game started and hours of drinking had taken its toll. I was tired and left on my own because a: I didn’t have a ticket b: I didn’t particularly want to be in a stadium with 90,000 people and c: I had a visitor coming to NOLA the next day so I wanted to get home that night.
I missed the last five dollar bus from Baton Rogue to New Orleans so I began the few mile walk to Rt 10 with my thumb out, not really expecting a ride from the damn college kids. Most people my age pass with guilty looks and dull blank fish stares. And don’t even get me started about when I get passed up by hippy kids in old VW buses. Damn posers. This time, I only got a few jeers from passing drunks but more gave me a thumbs up from loud cars of cheering fans. Lo and behold, I broke a record: the first woman to ever pick me up alone in the States. And she was from Pittsburgh. And she was a scientist. She saved me the few mile walk to the highway dropping me off at a nice little rise with good visibility. I only stuck out my thumb for ten minutes before a cute rainbow couple picked me up on their way down to NOLA to work at the Superdome for a Creed show and to attend a wedding in Armstrong Park. We stopped at Target to dumpster dive for wedding food and came up with a great collection of chocolate and fruit. The hour long drive flew past as they talked about living off the fat of the land surrounding the LSU campus, jail time in Florida and driving their convoy of buses to regional rainbow gatherings around the country.
We stopped at an artist’s space in a warehouse to meet up with their friends, more dropouts from the american dream (my own neologism for the many of my generation existing on the fringe of life). This crust punk looking bunch brought some great dogs and I spent most of my time trying to make them like me. Apparently, it’s a ton of paperwork to arrest someone with a dog so it’s a nice protection for kids like this who tend to get harassed on sight. Most of the rainbow kids I know with dogs acquired them because they found them homeless in an abandoned part of town or along the highway. I often hear people feeling sorry for these dogs who live the vagrant life style with these masters but they get more love and attention than any dog who spends most of his life alone in an apartment. If I was a dog, the only thing better than a life of freedom and travel with a rainbow kid would be living on a farm with a pack of my own.
They dropped me at the Superdome and I slowly walked to the ferry, singing along to John Lennon, feeling tired and happy. On the other side of the river, I walk by a group sitting on their front porch singing an old timey song. I stop to listen and when the song ends, I get invited inside for pork, potatoes and rum. I request House of the Rising Son and while I listen to a haunting rendition, I feed the dog most of my meat, making a new friend. I listen to good music for an hour, meet people excited about doing work that they believe in and then I go home to fall asleep reading the stories of Sholem Aleichem. A good day.
Yiddish Literary Fakt Corner (lovingly stolen from wikipedia):
Sholem Aleichem, an extremely popular Yiddish satirist and humorist, was known as the Jewish Mark Twain. However, when they met later in life, Mark Twain referred to himself as the “Sholem Aleichem of America.” He possessed a morbid fear of the number 13 and his headstone carries the date of his death as “May 12a, 1916”. His will contained detailed instructions to his family and friends; both in regards to immediate burial arrangements as well as to how he wished to be commemorated and remembered on his annual yartzheit. He told his friends and family to gather, “read my will, and also select one of my stories, one of the very merry ones, and recite it in whatever language is most intelligible to you.” “Let my name be recalled with laughter,” he added, “or not at all”.