The Mississippi river was mysterious, dressed in white, all misty under layers of clouds. After walking miles and miles, exploring the town, working up and appetite for jambalayas and po-boys and gumbos and pralines I sat down on the bench at the River Front Park. A small party of stinky gutter punk kids with a sad pit bull settled in on the grass behind me. Their nameless bully walked up to me slowly, his tail and pink balls hanging down hopelessly. A hand-made sign was attached to his collar Gimme a dollar or a bone. I took out a dollar bill from my purse, and passed it out to the party. A guy with dreadlocks rolled it up and hid it in his dreadlocks. He then shook his head and a single dollar bills rained on the grass. “Hahaha, pick you stripper singles, baby”, a guy told his sweaty hairy girl.
“Ew, said the girl, baring her grey teeth, “Those clubs on Bourbon street are so dirty…”
Southern hospitality was pouring out on me like fine red wine. It was a culture shock because nothing felt like cranky East Coast. Very soon I moved out from my Airbnb cemetery lodging – right into the action quarter, the French Quarter, a famous Decatur street thanks to a new friend. There’s no better way to win a stranger’s heart than to rub his stomach with a delicious breakfast cooked with golden crusty Andouille sausage, finger potatoes fried on kerrygold butter. My new place was in eighteen-hundred something’ year-old creole building with a huge balcony outlooking Decatur street, swarming with young couples, curious tourists, musicians and art shops. I made friends with my landlord Smoky, a middle-aged blues-harmonica player. He gave me a good deal on rent in exchange for promoting his band on social media.
Bourbon street felt and smelled like a drunk’s man armpit, covered with intoxicating moss. Yet, penetrated by vibrant rich history, it radiated some wicked authentic charm, unlike hollow vibes of Time Square.
I walked in Scores a Mansion on Bourbon street, the sign read. A very young manager Mark sent me upstairs to change to audition. At 5pm the locker room was empty except a very young anorexic looking girl, named Candy and a tan busty MILF who looked like she’d been around since the Declaration of Independence and yet managed to maintain her youthful vitality.
I put on black thong, tight short red polyester dress, white clear stripper shoes and came downstairs.
“You can just start working any time you like,” said Mark, examining me from head to toe as I appeared in front of him.
I returned to Scores a few days later after checking out a few other big clubs on Bourbon street which all asked for social security card which I’d left back in NYC.
I was struck by a strange odor when I pushed an old heavy knob and opened the door. It was a mix of dead rats, stale liquor, and remnants of sex. “It smelled like old factory blues…” Someone with a pleasant voice once said. Bites and pieces of obscure past coming back spontaneously, bitting me like mosquitos. The scent of Old Spice, the scent of Him, filling me with inarticulate, nagging feeling of lost love. It was late in the afternoon, The locker room was empty again, except a young tall half-asian, half-caucasian, half-naked girl, sitting on a cold granite counter, tediously working on a large box of hot n juicy Crawfish boil. She was twisting their necks, sucking their heads and squeezing the meat from the tail as if nothing else mattered. As if it didn’t matter – that she still had a scent of mudbuggers on her skin when she would be on stage splitting her legs, baring a tiny string covering her pussy and sticking all her assets into a man’s face. A hungry stranger, like a hungry wolf waiting to be fed. Mud-buggers, or also knows as Craw Daddy’s are cooked with Cajun spice mix. Hot, spicy, a spice so unique – it can cling to your skin once and for all. It can heal you and burn you at the same time.
It smelled Louisiana – raw, authentic, fresh, and simply real. In New York, the air in cramped locker rooms of Flasdancers or New York Dolls is filled with cheap and expensive perfumes, dorritos, cheese puffs and chinese take-outs.
“Did ya pay your house fee already? You need to pei me naw. You didn’t pay me, I hope the bus will run ove’ you. Your hair needa be straight, or else they wont let you work like dat. You need to put two more lipsticks over your lipstick, you needa look like a doll. Marcia won’t let you work like dis. You must buy dis lingerie piece from me. It’s only sixty dollars…” An old Italian House Mom from FlashDancers hissed at me like a viper.
The pole was sticky, shinny and it was rotating on a small wooden elevated stage. The Mansion on Bourbon street. It was a grandiose mansion with chandeliers, long wide mirrors in curly wooden frames, heavy marble tables, centennial velvet sofas soaked in sinful liquids of liquor, cigars and other humane juices. Glass cabinets with fancy vintage liquor and cigars. Upstairs was even more impressive. One of the VIP rooms had a Nobel Prize Book library from the early last century. There was a winding wooden stair covered with red carpets leading upstairs into locked secret room, a courtyard where a roman statue of a lonely naked woman was immortalized in a fountain of cigarette buds. But the real treat for customers was a balcony on a second floor outlooking Bourbon street. They say the Mansion on Bourbon street had once belonged to a Judge. I wonder if the Judge was rolling in his grave knowing that a library room is reserved for salacious acts. Or maybe he was a fan of debauchery. Everything about the place was wicked. Even the ole statue in the open courtyard was intoxicated and perpetually high on coke and weed. Once I walked in Scores , I never walked out the same ole squeamish gal.