New Orleans!

by Lenny Hughes

NEW ORLEANS-November 13

We're in New Orleans! We're in New Orleans!

All you loyal Lewis fans, be sure to high-tail it over to the Mahalia Jackson Theatre in the French Quarter for the Big Show tonight.

I'll tell you what this place means later, but for now, I gotta hit the Cafe du Monde and beignets and bookstores, so I thought I'd send you some visual images.

We're holed up in a hotel near the business district, but the first sign of the Vieux Carre was an iconic sign at the corner of Conti and N. Peters.

Of course, on the way into town last night, we passed the holy temple of the Saints. People all over the place are wearing Saints stuff, flags hang from iron railings (one saying "You're in SAINTS country"); so I bought a flag for my house in one of the million schlocky souvenier shops. Even those places are fun (one T-shirt declaring, "Jesus Loves You-The Rest of Us Think You're an Asshole").

Zoom in on the guy walking in front of the Lafitte Blacksmith Shop on Bourbon Street, and check out his apparel. By the way, that's probably the most photographed building in the city, and a grand bar...purported to be the place Lafitte and his men hung out between storming ships and helping Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812.

The cop cars remind you of "The Big Easy"--one of the finest films ever made.

I passed up the temptation to eat a Lucky Dog (like Lew and me, "since 1948"--which may be the age of the dogs they sell). Ignatious Reilly ran a dog stand disastrously in "The Confederacy of Dunces." You HAVE to re-read it (I know I do). One of the best BOOKS ever written.

I caught an episode of "NCIS New Orleans" just before I left. The show has promise, but they're missing the chance to use local actors and write in characters like the John Kennedy Toole people in that book.

I passed the Cornstalk Hotel, where Elvis stayed during the filming of "King Creole," they say. The red McDonough Public School was used as Royal High School in the film. That shot looking up the street is a replica of the part in the movie where Elvis walks out of the place, to talk, I believe, to Vic Morrow in a car on the street.

Anyhow, I gotta hit the bookstores. Including the "Faulkner House," which has been restored since the days he used to shoot BB's at people from the balcony.

More chat later.