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Competition, Round 26

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I'm not the only person whose world has been rocked, emotionally and in sweet memory, by Katrina. I went out drinking tonight with my "team," from work.-- all ages, genders and pursuasions, from suburban Chicago. We all had a New Orleans story, from college or honeymoon or a crazy wild weekend with a girlfriend. I wish Julia would chime in here to talk about how she bought her newlywed husband two lap dances at Larry Flynt's club, but I know she won't.

New Orleans unravelled each of us in a different way. I'm a little shy about the perception that I'm pimping a Smackdown because of a terrible tragedy, but I want to tell a story about my connection with the Big Easy, and I know that you can all top mine. Let's call it catharsis, and tribute.

I was in New Orleans last February, much more comfortable climate-wise than my previous visit over Memorial Day Weekend. My hair wasn't big, my dress wasn't plastered to my body with plain ole Northern Woman sweat. We'd walked and walked: checked out the casino, the mall (to pick up the ever so essential facial moisturizer I'd forgotten to pack) cruised Lucullus, the culinary antique shop. (I loved it, but, frankly my mother's dining room could kick it's ass.) Had a beer and some crawfish tails in a corner bar on Decatur. Had dinner and martinis at an old New Orleans Italian restaurant on Decatur---Sziba's? I've lost the matchbook, but the cork from our bottle of wine still rattles around the bottom, of my purse with loose change, renegade lipsticks and the odd earring.

I was feeling pretty easy when we got back to our rental on Chartres and changed into silk pyjama pants and a silly bustier. We sat outside, smoking and sharing a bottle of wine, amazed at how quiet our piece of the Quarter was at ten PM., foggy as Sherlock Holmes's London. Then I heard a rumble out of Dickens, or Zola: the hoofs of the mules that drag the tourist carraiges all day, being sprung. They were heading for home, clattering down the cobblestones.

The next day we walked around Faubourg Marigny, and we smelled a distinctly non-urban smell: manure. We wandered down the street and found the stable where out equine buddies sought their stalls and their straw after a long day's work tugging tourists around the New Orleans. They chewed, they drank, they shat.

That's my story. You can do better, In the spirit of love, nostalgia, fear and hope, post them here.. And yes, there will be a Fabulous Prize.

Let's leave this open for a month.

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Is this still open?

(I've seen no conclusion)

I have a story about New Orleans, a tourist story;

and I have a few overkill poboy filling recipes invented from memories from there;

far stronger stuff that is actually served there but oh well- you know how memory concentrates things as well as reduction...

but I sure would find it hard to tell a such story without getting all political and stuff, which seems frowned upon here.

My time in NOLA was amongst the very rare moments in my life of travel when I thought

"I could live here and be happy".

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