Meredith, dynamic investigative reporter for a liberal on-line news service, happened to find herself in the Belly of the Beast, i.e. flyover country. New Orleans, to be more precise. Oh well, she was already philosophical in that she would be reduced to eating at Applebee's or other bourgeois dining establishments and watching television after they roll up the sidewalks at 10 P.M. The city was rather old, and had a damp odor to it. And apparently the section she was in was a tourist trap!
Her previous assignment involved a report on canine segregation in a cemetery: apparently the benighted natives allowed only coon dogs to have their final resting place there.* That created a minor sensation for a day before someone pointed out that coon dog was not a bona fide A.K.C. breed, but could refer to at least six different breeds. Her editor sarcastically said that she had insufficiently gone to the dogs: those dogs were segregated by occupation, not breed.
So Meredith decided to make the best of a dull situation and did a walk around. She found herself in a nondescript neighborhood where she saw a church with some basketball courts in the back. There were four twentyish women on a basketball court. Two were barefoot, and one was wearing her socks. They were shooting baskets, and a barefooted one missed. "R! R! Okay, Missy, take it off." The person addressed removed her blouse, and the guys nearby applauded seeing her in her gym shorts and bra. Meredith, no slouch in putting things together, immediately realized that they were playing strip H-O-R-S-E. This was a small miscellany item, perhaps. Apparently, the natives of New Orleans did not have surplus modesty, unlike that found in The Hamptons.
Then she noticed a strange young woman wearing heliotrope blouse and a Saints baseball cap. A NOPD sergeant approached her, and Meredith anticipated some police harassment of the poor nonconformist. Instead, the sergeant addressed her as Prophetess Ma'am and gave her a twenty dollar bill. She wrote something on a ticket and gave it to the cop in return. Hmmm......the policeman made a bet with a bookie. This convinced Meredith that she could do a crime story, so she looked for other evidences of lawlessness or corruption.
Unfortunately, the best she could do was see illegal parking and a rotund fellow pushing a hot dog cart down the street. It was the Lucky Dog Guy, dispensing wieners and philosophy to those who would desire either. Now this intrigued her: maybe in this eccentric environment there was makeshift employment for philosophers that would not involve lecturing or criminal activity.
Meredith got hungry, but could not find a recognized mainstream restaurant nearby, so she chanced into an obscure little place that had a remarkable menu. Being somewhat bold, and wanting to have a mild adventure to talk about back in Boston, she tried the red beans and rice, and the fried alligator tails. The red beans and rice were surprisingly savory and spicy, and the saurian was kind of pleasant in its own way. Still, Meredith felt screwed, as scrod was not on the menu! Bostonians out of their usual settings begin to jones for scrod.
The afternoon was hot! So she decamped to her hotel. On the way, she observed a pair of police officers dancing to accordion music. The hotel bar was elegant: apparently the natives had no inhibitions regarding alcohol, unlike that wild south territory she had recently passed through. She experienced the local Serious Drink, called a Sazerac: righteously made with real absinthe and Peychaud's bitters as the Good Lord intended.
*It's in Cherokee, AL, if you must know.
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