(c) 2012 Bryan Mullennix. Licensed through BigStockPhoto.com.
When I was a teenager, I traveled with my family to New Orleans. Bourbon Street left a lasting impression, and appears in a number of early writings…
A carriage, drawn by a ridgedly-ribbed nag, clip-clopped along the black-topped pavement. Travelling amidst acidic exhaust fumes, it turned onto a route absent of cars, but infested with people. The tourists within the carriage peered out at the circus about them.
Elegant society-ladies, adorned in glittering gowns, strolled arm-in-arm with handsome beaus. Childlike prostitutes, dressed in tattered jeans and skirts, searched for clients.
A stale-breathed drunk stumbled over curbs and into walls. An addict combined forces with a mugger — knuckles wrapped in worn handkerchiefs — to gain money for a fix.
Groups of shabbily-dressed teens danced in the street to the jingling jazz tunes emerging from Pat O’ Brien’s, a respected establishment surrounded by nudie bars and nightclubs. The clubs were painted exotic colors and topped by secluded cat houses. Shadowy human forms moved across dimly-lit windows. At these centers of entertainment, anyone could see, for the price of a drink, as much bare flesh as he or she desired; and from these ill-reputed businesses charged electrifying music that clashed from one corner to the next.
At Bourbon and Dumaine, the one-float parade, having completed its worn path, halted in the darkness. The passengers climbed out and joined fleshy swarms sandwiched between towering, creole-style buildings; becoming but another act in the Bourbon Street sideshow.