[ilds] NOLA OMG Notes from 2010

Rony Alfandary alfandary at gmail.com
Sat Aug 11 21:59:31 PDT 2018

Thank you Ken for this riveting, personal, meandering account of the
conference. all those great details made the reading experience lively and
brought me almost into the room with you. and the walks and trolley rides.
I can almost hear the music and the rain fall.

*Rony Alfandary*, Ph.D.
*Clinical Social Worker*

Postgraduate Program of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

Dept. of Social Work

Bar-Ilan University

Ramat-Gan 51905


*http://www.hebpsy.net/me.asp?id=30 <http://www.hebpsy.net/me.asp?id=30>*

On Sat, 11 Aug 2018 at 23:59, Kennedy Gammage <gammage.kennedy at gmail.com>

> 7/7/10 Hotel Monteleone, Royal Street, New Orleans
> Am I being self-indulgent? Yes – but it was also meant to be. Lawrence
> Durrell. My poem. New Orleans and the Monteleone. They all came together.
> I can’t spend hours now, bringing this up to date. I was supposed to write
> on the plane, but the guy in front of me put his seat back…and anyway, I
> didn’t really want to wallow in the messed-up stuff that happened – mostly
> psychosomatic I now believe – between February and July. I think I’m
> managing it better: I am losing a tiny bit of weight and getting in
> infinitesimally better shape. It’s been getting better.
> Here is a key quote from Seth, which I dipped into at a friend’s
> suggestion, which seems brilliant and actionable:
> "Do not personally give any more conscious consideration, either of you,
> to events that you do not want to happen. Any such concentration, to
> whatever degree, ties you in with those probabilities, so concentrate upon
> what you want, and as far as public events are concerned, take it for
> granted that sometimes even men are wiser than they know."
> Session 891, Page 184
> Now here I am. Room party tonight in the Monteleone – which started in the
> famous Carousel Bar in the lobby…the Kaczvinskys were very nice to host.
> <There was nothing here in my Journal about what happened at the room
> party, or how I felt about it, but it was very positive. Everyone was
> welcoming – it was a suite with a separate bedroom but it was pretty full
> of people, and more were arriving, so I ended up holding the door to the
> room open with my foot, and talking to a series of very nice people
> including Grace, David & Molly, Anne & David, and Don, Chloe & Julia >
> Julia directed me back to the Acme Oyster House around the corner, (which
> M., the young B. & I visited on our previous trip, 16 years ago) for a late
> dinner –
> - including six of the sweetest oysters on the half-shell I can remember,
> followed by a Gumbo/Jambalaya sampler that hit the spot – along with a
> draft Abita Amber (a go-to brew we even enjoy here in SD at the Gulf Coast,
> one of our locals.)  After that, I felt a powerful hankerin’ to return to
> the Absinthe House for a Sazerac. Let’s crash – and see how this plays out.
> #
> Thursday July 8, 2010
> I am embarked on the Conference. I am part of it, and looking forward to
> delivering my paper on Saturday. This morning, after a fitful night, I woke
> at 6 and was downstairs in the Iberville Room on the Mezzanine at 6:30,
> drinking coffee, talking to the young man from the hotel about the Saints
> and LeBron’s imminent plans, and reading USA Today until the first folks
> arrived. People were super-nice: every morning I had a longish chat with
> Merrianne and her husband Peter. Obviously morning people like me, highly
> cosmopolitan and congenial. Got to know the other early risers and the
> folks from last night’s meet-and-greet in Don’s room – and then I enjoyed
> the morning program: a series of three 20-minute low-key talks – some with
> Powerpoints, others simply read out loud as mine will be.
> During the lunch break I took a quick walk on a warm day (luckily in the
> 80s rather than hotter) down Decatur to Jackson Square, and beyond to the
> Central Market, where I enjoyed a delicious and justifiably famous
> Muffuletta sandwich: Italian meats and cheeses, and a delicious olive
> spread on a savory roll. Followed by a quick swim on the roof of the hotel
> – and now I’m back for the afternoon program.
> Following the afternoon session: adventures in the Garden District on the
> St. Charles Streetcar. Very wonderful – costs $1.25 and the front windows
> were open, creating a breeze fresh enough to knock my Key West Green Parrot
> cap off. I got off at 4th and walked the wrong way, north, into an
> increasingly sketchy neighborhood. I was doubly-confused because I
> eventually found the Lafayette Cemetery I was looking for – except this was
> Lafayette #2!
> My instinct for self-preservation sent me gradually back – and across –
> St. Charles, where I saw some of the amazing palmy Garden District
> mansions. And I finally reached my destination, Commander’s Palace – but
> they were closed. (I had hoped to enjoy a cold drink in their bar.)
> So I took the streetcar back to Poydras Street, downtown, and walked to
> the famous Roosevelt Hotel - <insert lyric from Randy Newman’s “Kingfish”
> from Good Ole Boys> where I enjoyed my second Sazerac, in that eponymous
> elegant bar where Huey Long used to drink – and it was well-prepared. They
> are serious about preserving the Sazerac (Rye whiskey shaken over ice with
> both kinds of bitters (Angostura and Peychaud’s) and a little simple syrup
> – but they also pre-ice the glass and then coat it with a layer of
> Herbsaint, the local poor-man’s Pernod – which they then pour out, before
> filling the glass with the chilled contents of the shaker. A New Orleans
> classic cocktail.
> Then more hiking in the heat. I decided to go back to the same liquor
> store I went to yesterday, next to K Paul (I had picked up some local
> beers: two different Abitas and a Dixie Blackened Voodoo) except this time
> I couldn’t find it – so I walked to the river. By the time I got there I
> was a sweaty basket case, nor could I find anything to drink where I was -
> not even a drinking fountain. I was probably minutes away from death when I
> staggered into the air conditioned Harrah’s Casino and inhaled a $9 large
> Sapporo in a Go-cup.
> Which fortified me to get some gift items (mostly apparel.) Finally found
> that wine shop. On the way back I saw some of the people from the
> Conference drinking inside one of the watering holes near the hotel (the
> Chart Room I believe) but it was awkward: very crowded, and most of them
> were seated, with no opportunity to “pull up a chair” or even stand in a
> nonchalant way. After a couple of walk-byes I returned to the hotel to
> write this, accompanied by a big Abita Abbey Ale at 8% - in preparation for
> going back to the pool.
> Heavenly. Here’s what I was supposed to write on the plane: “Hearing
> Haydn’s 100th Symphony on NPR’s Performance Today – one of my favorite
> symphonies that I have on vinyl, and have probably listened to 100 times!
> [Well – at least 50…] On the flight to NOLA write it all down:
> • Tension at work
> • Bees
> • Metal-detector guy
> • Stroking out
> Um…I’m not sure I want to write all that stuff down. Let’s try to stay
> positive, and current:
> Dr. Anna Lillios published my poem! (My name was spelled wrong in a couple
> of places – but who cares.) I think she’s great…and all the people here at
> the Conference are really nice. I was telling them: it’s like a
> science-fiction convention. They will understand when I read my paper.
> *
> Great dinner tonight. I took a disco nap until 8, then walked over and
> stood in line at the Gumbo Shop. One delicious Chicken Andouille Gumbo and
> side of Turnip Greens with an Abita Amber lager (plus a small loaf of
> French bread, which immediately went down the rat hole smothered in butter)
> – and the bill came to $17.53. One of the best bargains ever.
> This was my night to walk around the neon lights and blaring hip-hop of
> Bourbon Street with a Go-cup of a small Hurricane from Pat O’Brien’s – and
> something embarrassing happened right in the middle of the crowded street:
> I was victimized to the tune of $10 for an impromptu shoeshine that I
> didn’t want. As the turtle said about the snails who mugged him: “It all
> happened so fast.” As I’m walking around with my go cup and my camera, this
> black guy comes up and says “I like those sandals – where did you get
> them,” and at some point during my friendly answer I looked down and this
> joker had squirted some foamy shoe polish on each sandal – I go “Hey!” and
> he pulls out his buffer rag and some kind of negotiation ensues. If I was a
> pugilistic person I might have assaulted him – but part of the scam is to
> spot people like me who won’t hit you. It’s kind-of like those
> street-corner windshield washers who suddenly appear when traffic is
> stopped. He appeared to be nearly as inebriated as I was, and I had a
> perhaps mistaken impression that he had to do this scam drunk, as it was
> personally embarrassing to him. When you think about it, it’s not a nice
> way to make a living. He claimed to be giving me a deal because I had
> mentioned the venerated Saints - and I ended up paying the guy $10 to buff
> my shoes. But the chagrin I felt made it a much more valuable lesson.
> Did I mention that Canal Street looks virtually identical to Market Street
> in San Francisco? But it sure feels a lot warmer.
> Friday July 9
> Wonderful morning program, capped by H.R. “Stony” Stoneback’s very moving
> talk, poetry reading and sing-along. The highlight of the meeting. There is
> much more to be said about him.
> Late lunch adventures in the Quarter, starting with a 10 block walk
> northeast on Royal Street to the Mona Lisa at 1212 for seafood pizza with
> two glasses of red wine. A walk to Esplanade Avenue – that boundary of the
> Quarter – followed by one more glass of wine at Laffite’s Blacksmith Shop
> at Bourbon & Philip (which is allegedly haunted – and looks it.) Then in
> the heat and humidity to another boundary: Rampart Street, across from
> Louis Armstrong Park. At Dauphine Street Books I bought used copies of
> Justine and Tropic of Cancer. Then one frozen lime daiquiri (a “margarita
> daiquiri”) and here I am, drying my clothes in the window.
> This is a unique place. The old architecture is amazing. The heat is
> bracing, if ultimately enervating. It would be difficult to be out all day,
> laboring in the heat. But it’s a wonderful change from San Diego’s “June
> Gloom”!
> Early evening dinner at Mandina’s, 3800 Canal Street in Mid-City. I’d been
> looking for an excuse to take the Canal Streetcar – but it’s not so nice as
> the St. Charles, just as Mid-City is not the Garden District. It’s night
> now and there are lots of well-dressed people on the streets, and the
> Carousel Bar here in the hotel is full.
> I think I’ll stay put and do some reading. I can hear tuba,
> trombone-and-drum music down on the street. It’s great being here!
> One of my conclusions from the Conference: after Alan Friedman’s Plenary
> Session speech, I thought to myself: “OK folks – conference is over. Time
> to pack up and go home: Durrell is sexist, racist, misogynist and
> Imperialist.”
> But as I finish re-reading Balthazar – the language is so beautiful. Even
> when he’s describing ugliness, the description is gorgeous. This is why we
> keep reading him and talking about him. And why we came all the way to New
> Orleans this summer: to wrap our arms around him, 20 years after his
> passage.
> Saturday, July 10
> This being the morning that I successfully read my paper to the group,
> toured the Saint Louis Cemetery #1, walked back in the heat with the lovely
> Japanese ladies, enjoyed a delicious fried-shrimp-and-oyster Po-Boy
> sandwich at The Acme with an ice-cold Abita Amber, and then took a
> restorative dip in the pool.
> *
> Dramatic poetry reading this afternoon in the Iberville Room, as thunder
> rolled and rain poured outside the tall windows. I read my poem “The
> Permittivity and Permeability of Free Space” to a group of sympathetic
> listeners – including Stony! It has now finally been published, 23 years
> after I wrote it. I thanked Anna and David – they have no idea how much
> this means to me. It’s been wonderful looking out these second storey
> windows, past the cast iron railing to the corner of Royal and Iberville
> Streets, down upon the real city (so full of music) while we discuss these
> cities of the mind.
> Wonderful people here at the conference. This is a short list of the major
> players:
> Don, Julia & Chloe
> Merianne and her husband
> Normajean and John
> Michiko and Chizuko
> David and Anne
> Molly & David
> Fiona
> Pamela & Greg
> Jamie
> Jimmy
> Charles
> Anna
> Nabil
> Stony
> Alan
> Kerri
> Alic
> Marthe
> Paul
> Dianne
> Grace
> In a few moments I will walk down Royal Street to The Court of the Two
> Sisters for the farewell dinner. All good things – especially things like
> this that you know are temporary – come to an end. But it’s been great. *
> Well. That was it for the Journal. But I find there is more to say.
> I wrote those names down for my own reference, as a reminder (attaching a
> name to a face) before going to the Conference Banquet. The Court of the
> Two Sisters is an amazing place – one of the classic old Quarter
> restaurants, steeped in history. We had a great table: David and Molly to
> my left (David & I had gotten progressively closer as the Conference went
> on, and had read & enjoyed each other’s poetry) – with the charming
> Japanese ladies next to and across from me (I had bonded with them  on the
> long hot walk back from the cemetery), and Normajean and John (whose face
>  absolutely lights up when he smiles.) We were joined by Aljaz, working for
> the European Union in Brussels, who had delivered a paper at the session
> opposite mine. I had catfish, and numerous glasses of red wine went down
> the hatch.
> Finally the dinner was over and people were scattering–but I caught a
> glimpse of Stony out the window in the patio, so I grabbed my glass and
> pulled up a chair out there, followed by David and Molly. Bill and Fiona
> were out there with Charles–and I got a  chance to tell Stony how much I
> dug his presentation, and about my college friends from Berkeley being big
> Jerry Jeff fans. He laughed when I said they all bought cowboy hats and we
> started chewing tobacco. But then the darn restaurant kicked us out– so I
> had one last long talk with David and Molly on the walk back to the hotel
> (about Tennessee  Williams)–but then it was 3:30 in the morning, and I was
> up with a nasty headache.
> Out the door before 4, cabbing to the airport...luckily the cabbie was
> playing a tape of the Moody  Blues, which I appreciated. 6 o’clock flight
> to L.A. which allowed me some sleep, and got in at 7:45 in the morning
> local time. Major problems with my connecting flight, which finally arrived
> in San Diego at 1 p.m.–and the lady who got off the plane before me took my
> bag by accident! (These little commuter jets load on the tarmac– and
> they’re too small for the roller carry‐on bags, so they leave them outside
> on a cart.) So this was a major cluster‐$&@# that caused me and my wife
> (and the airline employees we were yelling at) huge amounts of heartburn.
> The lady finally called our house four hours later and delivered the bag so
> I guess that’s pretty much the end of my Durrellian adventure. 8 years ago
> now during the hot summer of 2018.
> @kgammage
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