Wednesday, November 5, 2008


A group of friends and I took the PARTY train from the Ham down to Nawlins for Halloween this year. If you've never been to Halloween in Nawlins, then you should go. If you've never ridden the train down to Halloween in Nawlins, then you should do it when there is a wide spread panic concert in that city.

We ended up on the train in a car full of PANIC! (I've put this in all caps because it should be yelled, or hooted with a slight southern twang when read) fans headed to Bourbon Street BLACKOUT or something. It was on their shirts. Anyway, every question was, "You guys headed to the panic show?" or , "Aw, fuck. Why not?" because apparently panic "RULEZ." I've had my fair share of jam band listens and I have many friends involved in jam band associations and everyone in that musical genre knows that when it comes to the jam band scene the PANIC fan is the lowest common denominator. That being said, they are always nice. But they are somewhere between a less elitist southern frat boy and a neo-hippie that buys Patagonia environmental charity gear and drives a Ford F-150 with a "Keep on Truckin" sticker next to a "W" one on the bumper. They are very conflicted people really, but they would never know it. This particular group of PANIC! fans were no exception. They were shitfaced within the hour. See, I had figured we'd be the rowdy crowd on the train. I assumed we'd be the ones passing out just as we pulled into the station. The PANIC! fans seemed to act as a deterrent for us to maybe wait a few hours before cracking out the whiskey. Within an hour and a half they had stolen all the toilet paper from the train's bathrooms and were using it to bowl at empty beer bottles down the aisle of our car.
We acted as look out, being in the front of the car, and would yell "5-0" when an assistant conductor or Amtrak employee was coming. It was pretty impressive how quickly they could clean a mess.

At our first stop we were told it would be the only stop on the trip where we could get off the train, and the stop would only be for 6 minutes. As soon as the train came to a halt every single PANIC fan on that car was rushing for the exit with four cigarettes in each hand. When they came back, the train started up again, the bowling commenced, and the running began.

This one woman dressed in a Cinderella looking dress who when questioned about her costume said, "I am NOT Cinderella" kept running up and down the aisle of our car into other cars. She had to be 30 or more. So, a member of our crew, Brianna, decided to suite up in her elephant costume and commence to running as well. This was very well received amongst the Alabamian PANIC! fans. They let out the just before kickoff "rooooooo
ooo-lllllll Tide ROLL!"

At some point, the 250+ guy who had been sitting behind Rachel and Candice disappeared. He reappeared about 5 hours into the trip. I was standing in the aisle by the front door to the car when the door opened. He rolled his eyes toward me and then back the other way, obviously incredibly intoxicated. He was gripping the handle of the door and judging the shift of the train to see which seat handle he should lunge toward for support on his way back to his sleeping wife. The man never made it to his wife. He got three rows back and gave in. Walking was hard, so he quit. Sitting was hard too, so he laid down on the floor of the row with his head poking out into the aisle and quickly dozed off. It was amazing. Alarmed by this, the woman behind him alerted his wife - the only other sober person in the car. His wife awoke from her nap, got up and went over to the man. She shook him and said, "What are you doing?" and he awoke with a smile. He responded, "Jus nappin" and she replied, "Fine." She then returned to her seat and rested her head a bit longer. I'm going out on a limb here, but this might be an everyday for them.

We arrived in Nawlins at 7pm or so, grabbed our stuff and headed into the Amtrak station to regroup. There were really bizarre murals all over the walls. We got a cab and headed down the road to the house we rented in the Quarter.

The house was on Dauphine, only a block over from Bourbon, and a very central position to bring the party. For the most part, we were all tipsy-to-already drunk, so we took to the streets. I don't remember the name of the place, but we ate there, and it was good. Then we headed over to Pat O'Briens. I had been there a bunch as a spry youngster and wasn't really interested in staying. Lisa was cold, so we decided to head back to the house to grab a jacket and refill our whiskey flasks. The others stayed to partake in the Hurricanes that Pat likes to dish out. When we returned to the house we found a man sitting out front by a garbage can surrounded by clothes and wigs. He was drunk and crying. The man asked for a cigarette, which I didn't have, so we went about our objective and went in the house. When we returned he asked us for a cigarette again, so we went over to find out his story. The clothes surrounding him were sequined and sparkly. The wigs were fine quality and intended for a black female. Nathaniel, as we came to comprehend his name to be, told us that his no good old lady was a stripper and she had done some unmentioned thing that required him to throw all her belongings out on the curb and wallow in them while crying himself to sobriety. He tried to sell all of them to us for $5. We didn't have the money, unfortunately, because lord knows we wanted all those stripper wigs! Seriously, Lisa was searching for coins in her purse. It wasn't really like that but, she's not one to pass up an hilarious possession - nor am I. But at the same time, this wasn't just a collection of wigs. They were stripper wigs - an unknown stripper at that, who does unknown things. An unknown stripper with unknown hygene, who's wigs were collecting who knows what on Dauphine street in the Quarter. We graciously said no for the next 15 minutes as he kept drunkenly revealing more about himself and trying to sell us stripper wigs for $5. Then his eyes lit up. "What about this..." he said as he opened an entire garbage can full of more wigs, dresses, shoes, and a metal case. He grabbed the metal case and opened it to reveal the contents. It was a shitload of make-up. Again, we said no. He then asked my name, which I responded was Jesse. Then he said, "Jesse, what's your lady's name?" I looked over at Lisa, who is not my lady, and said, "She's um..."and paused. "Angela," Lisa chimes in. "Yeah, Angie," I say. He just smiles and sort of smashes us together, which prompts Lisa and I both to put one arm around each other. He then proceeds to stare into my eyes with this drunken seriousness that I'll probably never fully recover from, and says " You see that.... you see. Don't fuck that up. Cause she good, but you no good. Don't fuck that up." I responded that I never would. Then he said something about the economy, and I said something about Obama, and he said, "Fuck that nigga!" and we took off.

We met up with the crew and headed out into the Quarter. I don't know too much more of what happened from there. I remember we went into one of the gayest gay bars I've ever been in and then suddenly Bryant was up on the stage dancing for a dance floor full of people with no shirt on. Then Chase was shirtless doing the same and much older men were reaching up to them to stuff dollars into the crotch of their jeans. Then at some point we ended up in a bar where they were playing "Sweet Home" and Chase used his money from stripping to pay a guitarist to force Megan to get up on the stage and dance with a bunch of girls with very little on. I keep seeing pictures from that night and wondering at what point the event pictured happened. Oh, and when we returned to the house, Nathaniel was gone, but all the wigs were there. Lisa quickly scooped them all up and rushed them into the house. She put them on the mantel for safe keeping. The next morning was rough. I was so hung over and had a case of vertigo about as bad as the last time I had a concussion.

Half of us decided to go in costume as we walked around the city during the early parts of the next day. Bryant and Bri had amazing Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy costumes that Bri had made for them. People stopped them throughout the city to yell, "Miss Piggy and Kermit!" or to get a photo. It's odd how at Halloween people enjoy yelling at you what you are. I was Oates to Chase's Hall, and people were yelling, "Oates" and I would say, "yep" and they would yell, "Oates" again. Sometimes they would yell "Tubbs" because they thought we were Miami Vice and I was the black guy. I would respond, "nope." Then they would yell, "Tubbs!!!" again. Not a lot of interesting things happened during the day. Chase, Rachael, Candice, Ali, and I all played roulette at Harrah's. Chase walked away up $100 and Ali and I working as a team did the same. Later, we returned to the house and dressed up. The sun started to set and the crazies began to creep out. One couple, bracing themselves against the walls, walked our way on the opposite side of the street, eventually stopping directly across the street from us to cry, fight, and drunkenly make-out. Hall and Oates sang "Private Eyes" to them as they made up. We took some group photos and headed off to Decatur to find the parade. We missed the first parade, but caught the second one. It involved 6 or 7 half floats and lasted a good 8 minutes. It felt like the remnants of the first parade decided they weren't done parading and needed to get that on out before they could move on. Then it was off into the Quarter. It was chaos. I can't begin to describe it all so I'll just put up a bunch of pictures. But I will say, we decided that Sarah Palin and the Heath Ledger Joker would be the most popular costumes this year. That's why we counted every one we saw. There were 19 jokers in all and only 9 Sarah Palin's. However, we found there were 13 either Waldos or Wendas from Where's Waldo, which is coincidental seeing as how Megan was also a Wenda this year. As a group, Chase and I were Hall and Oates, Ali was Willy Wonka, Bryant and Bri were Kermit and Miss Piggy, Lisa was Grace Slick/Sybil Shepard, Megan was Wenda - Waldo's girlfriend, Rachel was Ace Freely, and Candice was Lizzy Borden. I don't know that there is a picture of Ace or Lizzy.

All the glazed-over, partial memories aside, there was this one moment I remember. A guy we passed had an enormous Miller Lite bottle. I have a passion for over-sized items and I had to have one of those bottles. It was unfortunate that it said Miller Lite, but it was more unfortunate that I drank all 64oz of it after already having a fair share of whiskey. I wasn't the only one. Chase and Ali both got 32oz beers. There is a fine line for Ali where she is drunk and pleasant and drunk and CaRAZY. You wouldn't ever guess since she is seemingly reserved. It's a very fine line and she typically doesn't cross it anymore. This was an exception. Once that line is crossed she loves to start flicking people off and dance. Don't know why that is, but that is what she does. On the cruise we have a damning video of her on the karaoke dance floor by herself flicking off an entire audience while "I'm a Bitch" plays in the background.
In this instance, we posed for a picture where she is flicking me off. I notice this and then realized she had passed the flick-off/tongue-out threshold. Then I explained the scenario, much like I've just done here and she put her hand over her face in shame. Then she went right back to it.

We sat on a stoop for the last hour or so of the night. An old guy gave us a bag of candy. We started throwing candy at people. Then we somehow made it home. On our way home we found our friend Jansen, from Tuscaloosa, in La Fete Bar. He took us to another gay club where more partially exposed penis' were gyrating on the bar. We had a good time on the dance floor. Ali got up on stage and began dancing all crazy. I don't think a single person in the bar noticed her except me. They were all staring at Chase. One thing they do at this bar is have dancers literally up on the bar wearing almost nothing, dancing in an extremely provocative fashion. They stand right over older men's faces and gyrate away. The men then stuff dollars WAY too far down their tiny boy shorts to not get penis all over their hands. It's fascinating. In a heterosexual bar, you'd have less teeth for something like that, due to bouncer intervention.

The next day we were all in enough pain to get blindsided by a shady cabby who took us for a $107 ride to the airport. We just said fuck it, grabbed our bag full of stripper wigs, and got on our plane home. Reflecting on this trip, I thought I'd probably see more risque activity on the behalf of sexy nurses, sexy kittens, sexy maids, and sexy freddy kruegers (we saw one) but really there were just tons of penis' flying around.
More photos can be seen here on Bri's flickr page.


Laser McNeal said...

Awesome post! My Halloween wasn't as eventful. I didn't have a costume! I think it goes back from the Catfish debacle. I'm in a slump! We went to the bar in NYC called Woody's. They had $3 dollar Yuenglings. Which is cheap for I can far. Emily asked about this strange bottle...the bartender poured a shot and didn't answer the question. It was disgusting. I drank it cause everyone else had smelled it first (Cardinal rule: don't smell suspicious shots). It turned out to be Chinese fermented grasses. Halloween in NYC appeared to be what I thought general life in NYC would be like--lots of dudes in Drag. We even saw a two dudes in drag on the Metro North. This chick was straddling one of them saying, "we're not going to the party. I'm going to hit this (pointing to the dude) and go to bed".

Falcon Steele said...

that is fascinating. i had always assumed general life in NYC would be a lot of dudes in drag as well.

your catfish costume came up over the weekend. so did the quote, "abby go-go are a bunch of chokers."

Laser McNeal said...

Did I coin that phrase? What was said about that costume? I really feel bad about Halloween now. I feel like people are going to think that my Rick Flair costume was some sort of fluke! I used to be so good at costumes! Damn!