Friday, May 20, 2011

Road Babe Dispatch From New Orleans

New Orleans is full of surprises. Whether it's the drag queens, voodoo, and brass bands; the roast beef po´ boys au jus, alligator cheesecake, and beignet pastries; or just the wild twenty-four-hour party, the city never fails to amaze. Even after the wrath of Katrina, the largest natural disaster to hit the United States, New Orleans has proclaimed that it will not die - government be damned! It will continue to incite the riotous culture, food and music unique to its Creole roots. As a Louisiana girl, I'm proud of that.

When I arrived back in my native land from a three-year-stint in Mexico, there was only one thing to do. After eating five pounds of boiled crawfish and corn-on-the-cob, I went straight to the French Quarter and bought a magenta wig. That's right. When you feel it coming, you might as well embrace it. Fifi Mahoney's on Royal Street has more wigs than the Queen of England has ugly hats. In front of its fifties-style Hollywood mirror, the magic takes place. Starting with a wig cap that bears an uncanny resemblance to a condom, all real hair disappears, transforming you into the party animal you will embody, after prolonged hours in that filthy city's kinky downtown.

From there, a stroll through the French Market offers original designs in funky art and jewelry, Egyptian cotton sheets, plus hot sauce fiery enough for even the heartiest of Cajuns. Yet, no French Quarter tour, for visitors or locals alike, would be complete without a stop at Pat O'Brien's Piano Bar. Amidst the general debauchery, my magenta wig landed me a front and center table between the dueling pianos. A man accompanied them, playing a tray of coins with taped fingers. So, my blue-wigged friend Lori and I jotted down requests on dollar bills.

When they played our Marvin Gaye medley, we didn't mind that no one else was dancing (whiskey can do that to you). We were on our feet in a matter of notes, swinging our Technicolor hair in every direction. In an overzealous attempt at a floor-touching dip, I lost my wig. An audible gasp emerged from the packed bar. They weren't sure if I was a transgender or a high-spirited cancer victim. Thinking quickly, I ripped off the wig cap and bowed, showing I was neither. Even the tap-dancing change player gave me a jangling round of applause.

Mittie Babette Roger is from Louisiana but lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University and authored the book It's Better to Visit the Shaman Without Questions to Ask. She travels the world volunteering to help disadvantaged children and promoting Blue Iguana Tequila to empower serious drinkers.


  1. I have been enjoying your eclectic blog. I am a new follower GFC and would love a follow on my blog if you have a moment. Thanks. Donna

  2. Donna,
    Welcome aboard. I'll go take a look at your blog right now.