Steve Earl on Tour: All things sugar and spice

by Steve Earl


Arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana, coupla days before NYE and wandering Bourbon St there was a sea of orange clad folk – I thought the rajneeshees had returned but these folk were suckin’ down big fluro green and red drinks, the first in the shape of a hand grenade the second a fish tank and chuffing on Dominican Republics (can’t get Cubans unless they’re under the counter), I then drop into my hotel, a smart type of affair with a price to match and sittin’ all around the carousel bar (you get a bit dizzy after a while ) there’s a sea of blue and red clad, forty gallon wearin’ folk talkin’ in tongues other than the queen’s.


After a few Abinath ambers I get the gist of the vibe and discover the Sugar Bowls in town – Ole Miss v OKU Cowboys.


All sorts start trying to convince me to become one of theirs by varying strategies from singing their battle song  (though OKU is based on the Oaklahoma musical so I felt like doing a Tennessee waltz rather than going in to battle) while the Ole Miss had a chant based on some foreign tongue that half scared you to death.


So we spend NYE down Bourbon Street where many have lost their virginity out in the Street and the town throbs and pulsates to many a beat and we’ve still a night to go before the mayhem.


Friday comes, a little foggy but we muster the courage to venture down to the Dome and convince a scalper to sell us four seats at one third the price as the games about to kick off and I’m still undecided even though Ole Miss is 4 point favourites


Our seats are godly – that’s cause there up on the sixth level and we spend about 30 minutes ascending stairs escalators and ramps but there still selling beers and other goodies on the top deck so things ain’t so bad and the view’s good.


I look about once seated and my mates already declared himself a Cowboy but I soon see an ocean of blue and red and take the high moral ground and declare myself Ole Miss through and through – the locals clap me on the back whilst old mate’s spitting lonely on the aisle.


Good thing Ole Miss are down 0-3 after 5 minutes (but about 15 minutes on real clock) before our quarterback starts throwing bombs all over the joint and we’re up something like 34-3 at the half.


Now the announcer says there’s going to be some entertainers enter the arena and out comes the OKU band – about 200 of em, but Miss is miserable and only have about 100   Then there s the dance crew with another 200- topped off with a collective of other school bands totalling another 300 and the ground is covered in multi coloured sea gulls moving about to marching band cacophonics


It takes about 10 minutes to clear them all out before Ole Miss take to field and demolish OKU – I’m sure a few of the 85 players per team did nothing more than suit up and jog out and back but, hey, they’re Amos


So back to the bar for a few more and with a new day rolling in we take to the streets on bikes and check out Lafayette cemetery where folk are buried (yet another oxymoron) above ground, the river – I missed it the last time I was in town and if anyone ever says the Yarra looks dirty ask em to drink a Jaxs – pretty popular a few years back til the folk heard they made it from Miss water – no wonder the population remains the same.


Any way we’re lookin for some Poboys and suggested we stop in at Parasols – a dainty little French ladies sun shade as I recall – and come upon this ramshackle timber hovel in the middle of suburbia on a corner – no signage to speak of and no indication that you can get a drink or eats.


But how looks are deceiving – inside is a ramshackle bar and a ramshackle dining room – I ate an oyster Poboy fully dressed whilst my companions ate beef and shrimp


Our accents had the bar astir and Squirrel our female host served up frothy delights whilst my genuine Cajun – French speaking local mate Ron Ducet – who could’nt speak a word of English until he was about 12 when he was forced to go to school albeit he grew up in the glades just a few miles north of where, but through the shipping industry has managed to visit 106 countries and I suspect has done very nicely and probably owns one of the southern grand ladies – 4 storey mansions s few blocks off – and there’s quite a few others who drift in and out of our discussions centred on all things sport


Several more beers and the sun’s disappearing and we have to find our way back to the French quarter where we are off to Frenchmen st for another night of festivities – the talk of ole miss and OKU had been replaced by Mardi Gras discussions but there’s still another 20 or so Bowls to be played so no matter where we go – including my carouselled ritzy jazz hotel bar or the jiving Parasol there’s plasma everywhere – the salesman must’ve been as good as the bloke that sold cladding in the 70s to unsuspecting timber home-owners in the Melbourne burbs – Raymond Youllouz – say it quick and that’s exactly what happened to the value of those homes – so to a plasma screen I go before venturing further south and more sporting discoveries …


So as a newborn Rebel I’ve hit the hot toddys ….


Are you ready ?

Hell yeah

Damn right

Hotty toddy, gosh almighty

Who the hell are we


Flim flam , Bim Bam, OLE MISS BY DAMN

Sent from my iPhone


  1. bob.speechley says

    Thanks for this Steve – it drew me back to The Big Easy where I visited in person back in the 1980s. A city oozing with character and characters and glad to hear you enjoyed it. John Kennedy Toole’s book “A Confederacy of Dunces” and James Lee Burke’s “Tin Roof Blowdown” are classics based on New Orleans.

    Happy Adventures.

  2. MGLFerguson says

    Bodda getta, bodda getta, bodda getta, bah,
    Rah, rah, rah, sis boom bah,
    Weagle, weagle, war damn eagle!
    Kick ’em in the butt, Big Blue! Hey!

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