In order to spend the most time as possible with Barbara, I stayed up way too late last night which made this morning come a bit quickly! But I was on the road with coffee by 7:15 am which was right on track…until…
Serious coffee fail right at the first sip. I debated putting on a new shirt, but then I figured I was just driving and shit happens, but wow, not a great start!
I got moving out of Austin just fine, but probably about an hour or 1 1/2 hours down the road, maybe around Katy, TX, it just started pouring rain. It lasted nearly the whole drive to NOLA, just little let-ups here and there. There were some white knuckle moments, but it was all okay. Again, the West Wing Weekly podcast kept me going for many hours. I stopped somewhere to pee and buy water. Then I had lunch and got gas in Lake Charles. Somewhere between Lafayette and Baton Rouge, I was getting tired so I pulled into a gas station, got out and walked around a little. I thought to bring a small bag in case there were places where it wasn’t cool to lug my big suitcase. I knew the room I got in NOLA was upstairs, so I put my little bag together while I was stopped. I went in and got more water then was on my way. This was outside my window just outside of Baton Rouge if I remember correctly, it’s Henderson Swamp.
I got to New Orleans around 5 pm, drove by the venue first to scout the parking situation, then went to where I’m staying (Balcony Guest House in Marigny). On the way, I saw this amazing mural:
I did some searching and found out it was created by Brandan “B-mike” Odums. Really stellar work.
So the owner/host had texted me the codes to get in to the building and into my room. It’s a small room, but absolutely perfect for what I need. I showered and got ready for my reading. Here’s the “greeter” (scared me at first), the little common area sitting room, and my room:
The venue was nearby and I had some time so I had to call my sister to wish her a very happy birthday! Love you, Sandy!!
Here’s the venue from the outside:
Inside is a really nice art space that was really warm (as in inviting) and the owner, Megan, was really nice. My co-feature, Kim, was also super nice. My friend, Todd, who I met in San Diego 20 years ago we realized and now lives in New Orleans was the host of the open mic plus he’s the one who hooked me up with Megan to book the reading. Yay!
Kim started off. Her style is way different than mine. She used sound loops and had another girl playing guitar. She sat on the floor and read a poem about Ted Bundy that was weird and clever and interesting. Kim is the redhead on the left.
Then it was my turn. My set didn’t have much to it, just me and my voice, but it was a wonderful, listening audience who were super into it. It was awesome. Then Todd hosted the open mic, and he started it off by reading one of my poems! He read “Early Tonight” from my chapbook “Complicated Skies” that he’d bought from me in 1999. Wow! He also mentioned how I had published his first chapbook (which is true!) So cool!
The poets in the open reading were all great. It’s a nice community of poets they have. After the reading, I sold 4 books (yay!) and mingled a bit. Todd & I caught up a little bit more, but I realized I was hungry and pretty tired so I bid everyone goodnight.
I really didn’t want McDonald’s (again) and especially since I was in New Orleans! But it was 10 pm, and I didn’t want to go very far. Luckily, a place came up on Yelp that was literally steps from my room that served food late. Mimi’s in the Marigny was perfect. I had patatas bravas (yes! Spanish tapas) and goat cheese croquetas. Hard to see in the photo, but so delicious. Topped off with an old-fashioned. A kind of bummer was they’re cash only, but I had book money so it was all good ??
I would like to take a quick walk in the morning if I’m able (it might be raining again), but after that pretty quickly I’ll be on my way to Nashville!