Thursday, June 01, 2006

Flour Power: A New Orleans Moment

It’s late at night, early May. Jay and I are walking back on Decatur after a night in the bars of Frenchmen Street (where we caught what were supposed to be the last few minutes of Christian Scott’s jazz combo, which kept on getting extended as more and more musicians—including Jason Marsalis and Terrence Blanchard—wound up sitting in. A guy leaned over to Jay and said, “We sure got our five dollars’ worth!” Which would be an awesome deal, but ours was even better; we came in so late they just waved us in without a cover).

Anyway. So, on Decatur. Jay and I, walking a little drunkenly. There’s a guy on the sidewalk, on his hands and knees, kinda sprawled actually. He’s looking like his mental state has been significantly altered from how he’s accustomed to it – his brain cells aren’t marching in line anymore. A girl is down on the sidewalk with him, pressing her palm gently against his chest, almost to reassure him that she is real and she is there.

And did I mention? He’s covered head to toe in baking flour.

He’s got two friends (friends?) sitting in a doorway, announcing like carnival barkers: “Amazing! Astounding! Come one, come all! See the man covered in flour! An actual human being, my friends, completely engulfed in flour! Only two dollars to see this amazing sight!”

Needless to say, we kept our money to ourselves. But we couldn’t help talking about this guy for the rest of the way home. I figured all we had to do was dip him in an egg wash and then some spicy bread crumbs and then we could pan-fry him. Jay was more philosophical about the whole thing:

“You’ve gotta think – at one point, he had a plan for all that flour. And if it had worked, it mighta been awesome. All his friends were behind him, they were probably all for it. But then something went horribly, horribly wrong. And they turned on him.”

“One minute you’re the man of the hour, then next minute you’re the man covered in flour.”

Truer words were never spoken.