Monday, October 27, 2008

When You're Serious About Getting Stuff Done, and Eating a Homemade Bran Muffin

I dragged myself to the Orange Couch cafe (2339 Royal St.) last Monday with a hangover still lingering from the weekend and a yucky work deadline staring at me from an hour ahead.

I love sitting in New Orleans cafes (listening to gossip-masked-as-small-talk, making said gossip-talk with the few people I'm starting to recognize).

But that day I needed this place (which just opened two days prior) to part the thick fog of too much gin and bar bands.

I set up my laptop and spread the tools of my trade on a luxurious expanse of white table under the reassurance of everlasting wireless.

With other people on laptops around me, I felt like part of a productive brotherhood. (This is my brain on three jobs.)

Upon walking in, everyone realizes this place isn't from around here. (The owner, in fact, is from San Francisco.) But they go on to marvel at the light fixtures and order the highly-recommended mango black tea.

One guy even asked permission to have ice-cream with his coffee.

I rewarded myself for doing stuff with a piece of green-tea Mochi.

This was on the wall somewhere in the cafe. Look for it if you go there.

They're open until 10. I don't know if I'm cool enough to go there late-night (at least not without a serious beehive or maybe a jumpsuit), but here's what it looks like:


Monday, October 20, 2008

Getting My Hair Did

I hate hair salons: the $60 for a haircut, the "funky L.A. vibe," the stilted hairdresser-client prattle.

Every Monday at the R Bar, New Orleans provides a hair-cutting experience that involves none of the above:

As I folded my laundry last night and waited for 9 p.m. to roll around, I was nervous about two things: what $10 could do to my hair, and whether I would look like a loser sitting at a bar alone waiting for a haircut.

There were two people in line before me. I ordered my drink at the bar, marveling at the low price (my $4 drink would have been $7 in NYC), then tried my best to ignore the current haircut being performed.

Everyone else was more enthralled with the sex scene in the movie Fear being projected over the bar.

When it was my turn, the hairdresser summoned me from my bar stool, I gave a quick, jittery description of what I wanted, and the cutting commenced.

I never caught her name -- or any conversation at all -- but she did pause once to tell an inebriated regular named Dan (?) to get out.

Though I felt pretty cavalier gripping my gin and tonic while my hair flew in pieces behind me, I was taking mental stock of my hat and bandanna options.

I paid the $10 as advertised, plus $3 for tip, and sat back down at the bar to let my hair dry and pick some split ends out of my drink.

I received immediate, slightly beer-goggled, reviews from two gentlemen at the bar. One liked my style so much, he was thinking of having a seat himself.

When I got home, I thanked my mirror that it looked like this:


Juvenile/Troy Andrews NOLA YURP Fundraiser

Click above and click on the NOLA YURP ticket

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sweet Sweat

A week and a half ago, I pulled out of my street in Astoria, Queens and drove myself and my job 24 hours south.

With stinging culture shock and festering loneliness, my first priority here was finding a place to box.

My gym in Queens had been zealously air-conditioned, with polished water fountains and the latest elliptical wonders.

The Freret Street boxing gym I found here is ten times better:

There's no air conditioning, not even a merciful fan: you only go here when you’re very comfortable oozing sweat-rivers in front of others.

The owner Mike, a former New Yorker, is always perched on a picnick table blocking the main door.

On Saturdays he has a beer in hand. Last Sunday, he had a black eye.

“Bar fight,” he tells me. He didn’t win, he says, but that’s because there were two guys.

The speed bag is new, the stationary bike, a little worn -- but it gives you hell, especially to the overhead speakers cranking out Queen’s “Find Me Somebody To Love.”

Though almost everything here is straightforward/no frills, Mike frequently shows off the colored lights he strung along the walls.

“It’s like Vegas,” he explains.

The gym’s only shower was free when I finished my first workout, but I didn’t bother.

It felt too good to walk outside into the Freret Street fair, dripping in sweat, feel the breeze, smell the empanadas, guiltlessly throw down two, buy a little black slip-dress for $20, and walk back down Napoleon to catch the streetcar.

That same day, walking down Canal Street, I found the statue of Ignatius from A Confederacy of Dunces I'd been looking for since I got here:


Monday, October 6, 2008

Voting Day in New Orleans

Friday, October 3, 2008

VP Debate Party

Watch clips from the Debate Party on WWLTV

Here are a few photos from the debate at