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Here's a cute shot from the last NOLA trip in April. It's Jackie Legends Joe Jackson and Champain with me (middle) in front of our house in Marigny. Yup, all that blue is our house - it is HUGE by NY standards.

And, if you've never been in NOLA in April - the shades are absolutely necessary!

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Last night at The Phoenix I was talking to this guy and his boyfriend (really nice). We were remembering Boy Bar, the good old days etc. etc. Then all of a sudden I spooked The Motherboards' own "Drama Queen"! I said, "You're Drama Queen? I'm Daddy." He said, "I know. But who's stomache is that?"
(the nerve!)
It's so much fun to spook another Motherboards junkie. Then we started talking about NOLA and I realized that "Drama Queen" really knows the Big Easy! REALLY knows her! He knows so many places that I've never even heard of.
Come on girl...
Give us the 411.
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Chi Chi,

Doug and I were in New Orleans this year about the same time as you (odd as that may seem, I don't know how we didn't run into you). But reading your posts tonight brought all the enchantment back for me ...

Such a magic vibe emanates out of the swamp and into the French Quarter. The adventures we had there, too many for words! We can't wait to get back there. And as for where we plan to retire --we've already stared pricing down-trod mansions!!

And The Shopping!!! Being true to our somewhat embarrassingly stereotypical fetish/goth natures, we acquired some of the loveliest treasures we've found in years.

I got a numbered (229 of 250) hard copy first edition of Pandora, signed by Anne Rice; a unique crystal ball in a wrought iron Ibis stand and a star-themed rhinestone tiara.

Doug acquired a gorgeous, one of a kind, hand-tooled leather mask by Matthew Mansour at Rumours, a hand-carved wood card box and a beautiful pewter razor in the shape of a naked woman.

To learn more about Doug's mask:

Also, Doug and I have four exciting hours of video tape which we now force on anyone interested (or not) in seeing it ...

See St Louis and Lafayette #1 cemeteries, snippets from a spooky French Quarter ghost tour (hosted by the amazingly knowledgeable Randy). See the gators on the Swamp Tour. See the variety of bourbon decanters in Anne Rice's limo and laugh as Tonya, as investigative reporter with no clue, tries to videotape the writer's backyard by flinging the video camera over the fence, only to be chased down the street by a stern looking gentleman (Stan Rice perhaps??)... We wish now, in retrospect, to apologize for this fanatic fan behavior, it was not cool; but it felt fab to act fifteen again ...

So if you (or anyone else on board) is curious about seeing New Orleans through the eyes of Doug and Tonya, you just let us know, and we'll have you over for a four-hour screening (which with my shoddy videotaping ability will make you more sea-sick than a three-hour tour)...
Storm sounded really bad on the Internet radio - said lots of streets are impassable including Elysian Fields, parts of the Quarter and lots of the CBD. Was very worried about our beloved second home but just got off the phone with my brother in Marigny and he says all is well so far, if wet.

So love from everyone here and lets hope the gris-gris (and the leveees) hold..
Only the recreation of all things Anne Rice for our bash here is making me feel better about missing my absolute favorite week in New Orleans - Halloween week.

Have MCd most of the past five Endless Night Vampyre Balls in NOLA, and am sorry to be missing this year's edition (especially because it may be the last.) As the ball has never been on Halloween night before I've always been able to do it and fly back to NY to do the 31st with my Click and Jackie families. But this year it was one or the other, and New York seemed to need a centuries-old, period-dressed female voice more!

If you are in NOLA and thinking of going to the EN, or somewhere else and travelling to New Orleans, its at Gallier Hall(!) and all info is at
We are BACK, rather reluctantly from a magic week at Mardi Gras and beyond. The locals were saying Mardi Gras was SLOW, but we found it busy enough, thank you!

Some highlights included

Lundi Gras evening we were first row as the King Of carnival - Rex - with velvet and rhinestone encrusted masked entourage came over by boat to receive the actual control of the city from the mayor. They were then joined onstage by King Zulu and members of his entourage, who all had gwens upon gwens holding umbrellas over their heads as it was pissing rain. This famous, famous ceremony had the production values of The Jackie Awards!! This floored us! On a normal Lundi Gras there would have been thousands of people there, but there were only hundreds of diehards like us, dancing in the rain and up closer than we'd ever be for the omnipresent "throws" (rex beads, dubloons, etc.)

Alt Gras: On Mardi Gras morning a marching band woke me about 10 AM as the Society of St. Anne, one of the newly revived "walking krewes" came right down Royal Street. Went running out sans coffee to see the most heartwarming and divine of any of the parades we saw that day - lots of artists in homemade costumes, with props and handheld floats made out of cardboard cartons, with kids and animals in full drag too. They stood drinking at the corner bars and in the street as they gathered more marchers going towards the Quarter. These walking, local parades really evoke what Mardi Gras must have been like a half-century ago, and I am glad to see them in revival. Other local walking krewes included the Krewe de Poo, which were headquartered right at our corner alt.coffeeshop Floras (lots of plushies, full body paint, imagine Click + Drag as a marching parade..)

Goth Gras: One of the truck krewes (following Rex on Mardi Gras afternoon) was a goth krewe who were throwing black beads. Divine!

Gay Gras: Spending early evening of Mardi Gras on the balcony of Oz, the big gay disco, with my new best friends off a gay cruise, while Johnny Dynell and HIS new friends threw their unwanted beads to cute guys in the street.

The epithet "Zulu Bitch", heard on Canal Street

Alt.Gras part 2: Frenchmen Street, where we ended our Fat Tuesday at this enormous street party where everyone is in elaborate handmade or funky drag, and the whole street for several blocks turns into a big dancefloor. I cannot really do this party justice, between the wild womyn drummers, the body-beautiful Ebony Prince wearing only a sock over his manhood and sneakers, the fisheads in "Bubonic Plague" costumes, the Alt Wizard sipping his beer, etc., etc., etc.

Ash Wednesday, when we saw several versions of this -

Midget crossing Elysian Fields with forehead ashes, wearing beads, and carrying a large takeout cup of beer..

Lessons learned:

Start your Fat Tuesday early - it turns into Ugly Gras after the first 12 hours of drinking by the general public.

Avoid Bourbon Street.

It is worth spending two and a half hours getting dressed for this, even if you do miss the Zulu Parade because of it.

Got to catch up with:

The Motherboards own Drama Queen and BF, Varla Jean Merman (who's just bought a house in The Marigny) and Toni C. and her gorge GF Leenie, at their Bywater manse complete with 8 DOGS!

Missing In Action:

Ms. Gramps, Drag Queen Betty

What a week!
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I adore Halloween in New Orleans, but we are too crazed to get there this year.

Halloween weekend is huge, and so much fun everywhere. Not sure what kind of nightlife you like, but Halloween weekend events range from a big annual circuit party to the Voodoo festival, and everything else in between. Of course the graveyards and ghost tours are hopping - our friend Lord Chaz gives great nighttime tours - he is pretty easy to find there.

There is no Endless Night Vampyre's Ball in NOLA this year for the first time in five years, and the Anne Rice Coven ball ceased in 2000, but a wide range of events should be under discussion at the fabulous forums at

Also, if you are still in town Nov. 1 for the Feast of All Saints, do go to the graveyard in the day to witness this extraordinary only-in-NOLA phenomenon. If you are still up and can go early, take the streetcar to Lafayette Cemetery in the Garden District, that is incredible.

Have a great time, and remember it could be 80 degrees, so bring some light clothing just in case (probably wont be that warm, but after being stuck there with only velvet in that weather I thought I should warn you.)
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Singer-songwriter Ray Davies of the Kinks was shot in the leg while chasing thieves who snatched a purse from a woman he was with, police said Monday. He was not seriously injured.
Police said Davies, 59, and the woman were walking along the Quarter's Burgundy Street around 8:30 p.m. Sunday when the theft and shooting happened.
New Orleans is a wildly dangerous place in this regard. It seems that nearly everyone has guns, and there is tremendous poverty. I say this as a great aficianado of the city, but one who has experienced my share of crime there, as have my family members who live there.

We usually describe the danger in and around the boho neighborhoods of NOLA as relative to NY's Avenue C or D in the early Eighties. Since most of the crime is done by kids for drugs (sadly, Im sure most dont live past their twenties) they are generally happy with small amounts of cash and just move on to their next prey.

This is New Orleans' greatest problem as far as attracting businesses, and one that the city's new mayor seems intent on addressing. There was a scandal recently where police officials were vastly underreporting crimes for two reasons - firstly to make themselves look more in control and secondly as part of a citywide clampdown on this kind of news - it is bad for tourism.

This is not just the fault of the police, but a city that has so little money that there are a scandalously low amount of cops - last figures I read were only 1,500 in all of the city - Compare that to NYC's 50,000 plus.
In the eighties NO had one of the most corrupt police forces in the nation. It is a long way back from a tiny, corrupt police force to one that effectively controls, rather than participates in, crime. And being the South, it is way ahead in the trend towards a two class society -the high and the low- not much inbetween.
I will be there from Feb 19th through the 26th.If you have any suggestions for a first timer please let me know.
The last time I was there in december I ate at the buffet at harrahs casino.I was really pleased with the quality....being that you are not a tourist to the area you might not be willing to try it but I would give it a shot.Maybe I'll see you on the streets.Have fun.

yeah I know NOLA crime is one thing that has kept me away from the city for so long (even though I only live 2 hours away!), its gotten worse in the past year.I went down there and had my car stolen while I was in it! with a cop across the street! The police force is so small because the politicians don't want tourists to see nothing but cops walking around... I swaer if they cleaned that place up it would be beautiful.

I am the Queen Bitch of the Multi-verse!
Chi Chi and Johnny -

If you haven't already, you should visit John T. Martin at the NO Voodoo Museum (724 Dumaine). He's a druid/voodoo priest and he gave me the most INCREDIBLY MAJOR card reading. I was there for Halloween '03 and was lucky enough to attend a ceremony he held on All Souls Day. Dancing and snake-touching!

And - only in New Orleans - I ended up staying at this incredible mansion on Prytania in the Garden District owned and operated by a TINA TURNER IMPERSONATOR!

I'm sure you two will have a ball - be safe and have fun!

Brian D.
yes the crime is great in NO. went shopping several years ago before my daddy died, in a mall in a poor section and was starred-down for being white and using a credit card, both mistakes that day in that neighborhood. also spent much time driving around avoiding kids running into the street trying to get hit by cars so they could collect insurance.

also, sat with an ems worker, a good friend from college, and his cop friend and got to listen to their white-eyes version of the problems in NO. they saw all types of people and problems and every kinda situation, and seemed burned out. the poverty is forcing people go to the grocery store and break open bags of sugar and pretend to fall from the loose sugar on the floor at the market, so they can collect. the stores used to pay people rather then call the insurance rep to keep costs down in the long run, that was making people do it more tho as they could collect on the spot. lots of faked car accidents as well were happening at the time.

went to college in shreveport, so know the culture well. the whites have intentionally undereducated the non whites, who have been undereducated for over a hundred years in louisiana, to the point that the work force today is driving down the economy rather then boosting it for it's lack of preparation. so the poverty is not just finding a job, it is getting any training on how to keep or work on the job as well. until there is truly equality in education, we will see these extreme cases of poverty in america.

merlin has seen the eyes of blackmen in shreveport that were never allowed to do anything other than be janitors all their lives when they were in truth intellectual giants for the love, compassion and support they gave to others.

white segregated christian anti-science academies we formed all over the south in the 1960's to promote school segregation while america was attempting to integrate. these poor educational opportunities have infected skills performance at all levels in the society, creating a tremdous intentionally undereducated group both black and white.

merlin almost moved to NO several years ago, to open a photography gallery and live in apartment upstairs on magazine street, but the violent crime and weather have stopped this one for now. that don't mean we can't remember the good times and the promise we know is locked up in the new orleans of our dreams.

sigh, sure miss the big easy.

I will be there from Feb 19th through the 26th.If you have any suggestions for a first timer please let me know.

Christopher -

A few tips -

Monday, Lundi Gras (feb. 23) is a huge Zulu festival along the Riverfront. Zulu is the krewe with the most legendary parade on Fat Tuesday. On Lundi Gras around sunset there is a great moment where the King of Rex comes over by boat and the mayor hands over control of the city to him for the remainder of Mardi Gras (till midnight Tuesday night.) Then the King and court of Zulu comes over and exchanges gifts with King Rex and his knights. Rex and his nights stay completely masked, and Zulu has these amazing archetypes in the court like Mr. Big Stuff and the Witch Doctor.

It is completely and uniquely Mardi Gras, and free and open to all.

That night are two major parades - Proteus (the last of the old-time flambeau parades (lit by torches) and Orpheus, the biggest, showiest parade with the hugest floats.

On Fat Tuesday there are multiple layers of nthings to do all day, which is part of the beauty. If you love the alternative side of life, there is the artists's walking krewe The Society of St. Anne, which parades through The Bywater and Marigny beginning at about 10 AM and rolls into the Quarter about noon. (Look for them on Royal Street).

If the gay/drag/big costume side appeals, you'll want to be on St. Ann Street by noon for the Bourbon Street Awards - or just their aftermath.

If you want to see the two big parades Zulu and Rex, you'll need to be at least at Canal Street by noon.

Definately end up on Frenchmen Street at night and stay off Bourbon as much as possible past 6 PM. People are incredibly wasted by then, and it only gets uggier. On Frenchmen, the tribes that you'll want to be with converge in a big street party.

And definately stash some food in your room as most restaurants wisely choose to close on Mardi Gras night, and the waits at others can be staggering. The scene at Angeli on Decatur is about as good as dinner gets that night, and there's a lovely brunette transexual waitress whose career and transformation we've been following for years now.

Wear comfortable shoes, lock up everything possible in your hotel safe, and have a great time! Hope to see you there..
Chi chi,

Thank you for all the tips on mardi gras.I am fortunate enough to be staying at someone's house on royal and st.peter so that will alleviate alot of the formalities of dealing with issues.
It's good to know about those parades since can be confusing to a newbee.The only thing I dread is the traffic from the airport to the french quarter but I arrive pretty early in the morning so we'll see how that turns out.
I think bourbon street gets pretty ugly no matter what.I've seen fights break out every time I've been there and always right in front of papa joes and the cats meow.
I do suggest you try harrah's buffet it really rocked!! Dont know what their doing for mardi gras but they had all the new orleans treats in one buffet and there is a resteraunt called QRS (quarter scene resteraunt) on daphine(spelled wrong) close to north rampart Gay owned/gay operated with an amazing breakfast menu.
I'll look out for you guys.I hope to see you too.CANT WAIT!!!!

Terrible! A 13-foot rise in the ocean there? All first-stories in town to be submerged? the littler houses swimming? Graveyard-bones released in soupy mud?
brrrrrr! I dread to see the damage.

From the Times Picayune, Thursday 9/16 ...

Damage Appears Minimal Uptown

While Ivan's winds made some mischief Uptown, by 1 a.m., damage from the storm appeared minimal. Power stayed on throughout most of the neighborhood, although the odd block lacked power, and several traffic lights were not functioning.

A lot of tree debris littered the streets, but very few large limbs or trees appeared to have been knocked down.

[In this section following, I hear the voice of Tennessee Williams...]

One exception: On Plum Street near Carrollton Avenue, a large palm tree fell, crushing a hurricane fence -- killing several members of a green parakeet family nesting in the tree.
Friends Jerry Lopatka, Kyle Bryant and Simon Beck, all recent Loyola grads, were sitting on their porch watching the storm when the tree fell. When they pulled some fronds back, a couple of birds and a squirrel escaped. But at least one other bird that lived in the tree was crushed.

[as per "I heah 'one greeen pah'keet fam'ly... been kilt in that damn stahm."]
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The Wifi Report

Well, since our last trip at Carnival, wifi is everywhere in NOLA, but in classic laidback style, you often have to know it's there!

Some fav spots to log in from, free and easy:

Envie - the coffeeshop at Decatur and Barracks, - so pleasant to sit in the window with the doors open and a big cold beverage. Dogs, smoking, wifi, macs and iced chicory coffee. My current fav..

Coop's Place

This local extremely reasonably priced bar/restaurant has free wifi, along with rabbit jambalaya, alligator bits, Cajun fried chicken and other acquired tastes. In their laid-back wharf-rat style, they dont mention this anywhere - not a sign inside or out or anything on the tables or menu. You just have to know its there.

Alternately, you can sit in the famous Molly's at the Market bar next door picking up Coops free wifi. This is the bar that always stays open during hurricanes, ignoring the tv. This also isnt advertised anywhere.

Coops and Mollys are next door on Decatur, and Coops serves food till 3 AM.

There are many more funky, fun and free wifi points in the Quarter and the Marigny, with more all the time.
Happy Mardi Gras y'all

Sadly, daddy and I wont be down for the first time in several years - MG is so early this year that it coincides with Fashion Week. So, we'll miss all of you, and especially the St. Anne contingents - both Society of, and Street!

If you'll be following it all from a distance this year, i really enjoy these galleries and video clips on

Just saw three galleries of our favorite early parade - the all-pet Mystic Krewe of Barkus. Check them out - this year's theme was "Harry Pawter" and the cozzies divine.

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