An Angel On My Knee

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April 22, 2011 by David Gillaspie

I’m Going To Louisiana And So Should You.  Here’s why:

 People take trips for something different to talk about.

They go to Europe and come back filled with wonder, as well as an unspoken resentment.

Europeans hate feeling like zoo animals for you to examine as a breed apart, especially since they’ve perfected the art of living so well. 

Scrutinize too much and they drop into their feigned lack of linguists. 

Ask a Spaniard about available wifi and you’d better pronounce it weefee or else get a response slower than a dial-up modem on a Commodore 64.

Why go to Europe at all when you’ve got New Orleans.  If it’s a choice of France or the French Quarter, head for Bourbon Street.

Oh, you say, but France is so civilized and cultured.  Ze wine.  Ze food.  Ze architectuure.


Take the wine for openers. 

Oo oui, you say, a $3000 bottle of Romanee Conti from Cote de Nuits in Burgundy haunts your dreams.  Be honest and take a good look.  It’s wine.  Wine is alcohol.  If you are not a connoisseur of the finest things on earth, then you are another pretentious jackass with a too-tight beret strapped onto your inflated mellon.

A harsh evaluation, or a reason to ditch France and take your poofy head-gear to the Big Easy?  Choose correctly.  You don’t want to find yourself stroking your goatee and sipping espresso at a sidewalk cafe when you could be walking a Sazerac through Jackson Square with a horn band echoing jazz off St. Louis Cathedral.

About that beret?  Mix in a visor with a few letters like L, S, and U and you’ve got a real hat.  If you have friends in France, send them one.

Do you dream of fine French cooking and the subtle nuances of delicate sauce?  Who doesn’t, so put on a bright red t-shirt that says “I Put Ketchup On My Ketchup” and order up a pound of mud bugs with a combo plate of fried catfish, oysters, and shrimp and put those dreams to rest. 

The French are thin and contemplative.  They eat French food.  Is that you?  No, so find a roast beef po boy and snap it up with a big ass glass of Abita Blue beer.

Are you a fan of French buildings?  Do you love the intricate work on cathedrals and castles?  If so, get a book.  These building were executed by the same people who invented the guillotine, which is French for ‘can’t shoot a gun.’  If you want to visit a historical place that chopped off heads, go to England.  They kept it simple with an ax and a block of wood instead of a ceremonial decapitation under a gravity blade.

Better yet, go to New Orleans and suck the head on a crawfish if you need some headless activity.  Look around while you’re building a pile of orange critters and you’ll see accessible architecture.  The metal and stonework are equal to any other you’ll find, and the fact it’s all been battered and blasted by centuries of hurricanes makes it even more impressive.

If you are a spiritual traveler, and in the end we all are, remember the Vatican is in Italy, not France.  The Reformation began in Germany. 

The true spirit you’ll find in Louisiana goes beyond religious affiliation and straight to the heart.  It means more to the people who call it home than the place you call home.  They’ve suffered and pushed back and endured more in the last five years than your state or country has in the last one hundred.

At the end of the day they deal with it by letting the good times roll, and that’s a gift to you.

By David Gillaspie


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