Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Nice Work, If You Can Get It

I just returned from my first business trip. Two words. First word, one syllable: sounds like “shoe” and “blue.” Second word, two syllables: sounds like God laughing.

Bon temps rouler...and rouler again. Isn’t it ironic?

Because I haven’t blogged in ages, I’ll go easy on you. I swear on an Emeril’s cookbook, I won’t use the word “closure” in this post. My second NOLA evacuation occurred over eight months ago. Purely voluntary, but entirely necessary. In my second year of graduate school, I dropped 17 pounds. Another year would’ve turned me into Calista Flockhart on heroin.

But I didn’t revisit Chocolate City to fatten my shriveled soul, nor OD on etouffe. I went for a conference. Also, because my company paid.

In lieu of Bourbon St. tonics, my co-worker/hotelmate and I binged on reality television. After long days of suits and extraversion, we wanted the sleaziest fare available. Think: glitz, innuendo, hosted by anyone from the ‘80s “TGIF” lineup. We hit gold, of the capped tooth variety, with (hold your breath) “Your Mama Don’t Dance.”

Co-eds in sequined spandex compete in tail shakin’. Their partners? I’m afraid Donny and Marie never had it this incestuous.

If only Bob Saget hosted -- the ick triumvirate would be complete. I guess “Steve” from “Melrose Place” will do.

My colleague and I got the biggest “ick” out of Eric and Brooke, a stepfather/daughter pair. As a devoted stepchild, I’m not one to question the difference between biological attachment and step-bonding. But you can’t deny, the nature/nurture debate becomes more interesting when family members are separated only by Lycra.

“Those people are the same age!” my co-worker insisted. “He adopted her for the show.”

“Shh!” I hissed. “They’re about to ‘Boogie Oogie Oogie.’”

My second-favorite trip experience is owed to Jacques-i-mo’s, where we dined on the last night of the conference. Jacques-i-mo’s has the best crawfish etouffe in the city. The restaurant’s namesake wears Hawaiian shorts and a chef’s top, always. He greeted us at the bar -- a location from which, judging by his breath and diction, he hadn’t strayed long.

“Where you ladies from?” he posed.

When we replied “Boston,” he shouted, “Yankees!” (Sorry, Murk.)

He then bought us a round of shots, followed by a glass of Pinot. When Jacques-i-mo drinks, you drink. Jacques-i-mo continues drinking while you order too much food and tip 85.5%.

Jacques-i-mo asked us where we work. I don’t intend to reveal that info on this blog, but I’ll share the chef’s rough translation: in art, or literature, or artsy literature, or literary art. “Huh,” he said. And promptly walked out the door.

“Where did he go?”

“I think we bored him.”

Ah well. Like a respectable, dull Yankee, I finished my wine and willed our server to appear.

Instead, Jacques-i-mo came back carrying three, square packages.

“Art!” he proclaimed.

His prizes were three gallery pieces -- sketches, he said, by a local artist friend. All garish but cheerful, like the chef’s pants. Something to remember the city by, Jacques-i-mo smiled. I assured him I wouldn’t forget.


Blogger Eric said...

You know, I knew there was something a little amiss when we went to that restaurant. Yankees... thanks, Jacques. Why don't you just spit in my food next time?

10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah! Laisser les bon temps rouler, J is back. Yay! You made my very stressful preparation less stressful for the time it toook to read. Once that weather gets warmer maybe a trip to see my good old homeland and you but for now NC (and urgh NYC for the next week) are all the cold I can take. Happy almost weekend. -A

6:26 PM  
Blogger Melinda said...

ahhhhh...JnM....fond memories....waht was the art!

8:36 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

welcome back.
A fun post

7:55 PM  
Blogger Jesseanna said...

Murk, Mom, Miz A.C., Mary: thanks for the "welcome back"! Hope to blog again soon...the Nantucket trip is definitely worth a post.

9:48 PM  

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