I haven't felt like
this since September 11th. Actually, this is worse. On September 11th I only
knew one person involved, a flight attendant from Syracuse who got stranded
in New York City, and she got out quickly and was never in danger.
This time, though, there are several people I'm worried about. It's not that
they are close friends. Really, they aren't even friends. I see them only a
couple of times a year. These are the people who make visiting New Orleans
so enjoyable for so many people.
Alvin and Henrietta come to mind first. They entertain at Pat O'Brien's, a
famous bar on St. Peter Street in the French Quarter. This was the bar where
a potent drink called the Hurricane was concocted decades ago. All other
Hurricanes are rated against those at Pat O'Brien's. None measure up. Trust
me. I have experience.
By the way, I'm making a prediction right here. Next time I get to New
Orleans, which will be as soon as they open the Louis Armstrong Airport to
the public, I'll bet they're serving a potent drink called a Katrina, which
will pack a wallop.
Henrietta plays the piano in one of the barrooms at Pat O'Brien's. Think of
a song, write the title on a napkin, hand it to her along with a dollar bill
and she'll play it. She might even play it if you don't tip her. I don't
know how long she has played there but when she started there, she didn't
need reading glasses to read the napkins.
Alvin accompanies her and all the other piano players, of which there are
several because music starts early in the afternoon at Pat O'Brien's and
goes until morning. Alvin uses his fingers to tap on a metal serving tray
topped with coins. You have to see it to understand Alvin's talent. He's a
legend in the Quarter, one of those who make the Quarter the Quarter.
Tonight I'm going to go through my pictures. There are several of Alvin
taken over the years. I've probably got some of Henrietta, too.
Then there's Joe DeSalvo, a lawyer turned bookseller. He operates Faulkner
House, a bookstore on Pirates Alley next to St. Louis Cathedral. Yes, the
street is aptly named. Pirates such as the Lafitte brothers once walked that
street and others through the Quarter.
DeSalvo likes nothing better than to talk to customers about New Orleans,
the Quarter and William Faulkner, who once lived and wrote in the bookshop
that honors his name. Some people who visit Faulkner House even buy books
from DeSalvo now and then.
I don't know what has become of Alvin, Henrietta, Joe DeSalvo and others who
have provided so many good times for so many visitors, but I'm going to try
and find out.
Joe Kelly is the editor and publisher of The Boonville Herald & Adirondack Tourist and