July 4th, 2001: I'm on my FIRST EVER EVER trip to New Orleans. Come with me as we ill-advisedly travel back through the mists of time to a charmingly naive journal entry. I had been in the city about three days. Essence Festival was on, I didn't really know anybody aside from Todd P (the catalyst for meeting EVERYBODY) and I knew almost nothing about New Orleans other than...I liked it. Ah, if I knew then what I know now.
Anyway, here's my impressions of my first July 4th in the US and my first day or so in NOLA:
"So aside from the fact that the climate here makes walking around the place an experience not too dissimilar from negotiating your way around a vat of warm soup (turning your faithful correspondent into some kind of human crouton), I’m quite enamoured with this city. The economy seems to be kept bouyant by the twin money-spinning collossi of strip bars and shops that sell shiny plastic beads, allowing everyone else who lives here to take advantage of the liver-shrivellingly liberal licensing laws. It’s a nice existence - a bit of lounging, perhaps some concerted loafing, maybe even a touch of remedial lolling. New Orleans - so good they named it.
They have that southern hospitality thing going on - from the disconcertingly friendly US Immigration Official (I’m sure it’s just some kind of mindmeld tactic to lull you into confessing to that fake visa) to the serving staff in restaurants who are really very chatty for the several millenia it takes to get served. I’m hoping this attitude stretches to hotels not charging you for towels that you cynically secrete in your light luggage on leaving, but I feel this could be optimistic.
I celebrated the 4th of July in the traditional way, ie, by necking a truckload of alcohol whilst frolicking in a stranger’s pool, followed by some touchingly old-fashioned and chest-beatingly proud laughing at fireworks by the river before moving on to that hugely enjoyable time-honoured display of patriotism that is snogging anyone that was unwise/judgementally impaired enough to come close. God bless America.
In worrying development news, I do seem to be now being stalked by the corporate-approved harmonies of Destiny’s Child. Last weekend, their musical stylings pervaded the airwaves in a live concert just outside my house in London, and now here they are, practically begging for my attention in Nola. Independent women? Like bogroll they are. Go bug someone else, sistas."