New Orleans

We plodded down south in his red little car, the sun spewing its rays onto the chipped windscreen and me with my knees bent, resting against the dashboard, inches from my eye sockets.
Rolling into New Orleans listening to a mind-bogglingly awful podcast about American diabetes, we took shelter in somebody’s shed at the bottom of somebody’s garden. We were greeted by air conditioning units (thank Christ), a fluffy queen-size mattress and a bathroom whose toilet hung onto the wall by a thread. The previous guest, a beastly cockroach perched in one of the shower creases, had to be escorted out somewhat forcefully.
Beads of sweat covered me during those first few days in New Orleans. A boozy tapestry of dim-lit bars, brightly-coloured beads and dirt-ridden vagabonds met us at the entrance to Bourbon Street. Locals and party-goers chugged slimy-looking cocktails out of red plastic cups and then tossed them into the gutter, narrowly missing the little black boys’ feet.
They banged on upturned buckets and cones in a bid to hustle a few cents and I myself stopped alongside them a number of times, watching the sweat pouring from their brows to their noses and soaking their lips.
As we meandered down this hellish time capsule where street boozing and pissing in alleyways is par for the course, somebody hurled a load of beads at me from a raucous balcony and Boyfriend went berserk.
When the fire in his eyes finally died down, we sipped Amaretto sours in a quieter pub and watched a jazz ensemble empty their lungs into the pores of their instruments. We stumbled across voodoo stores with eerie dolls peering from the windows and great big sinister lettering plastered around the walls. We didn’t go in, I was a bit too afraid.
And then we capped our nights with feasts of authentic Jambalaya, orgasmic and unparalleled. Rice flooded the plate, shrimps tossed and turned beneath a sea of salty veg and silky meat. We made our way home, bellies full and lips moist, and then headed to Nashville.

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