[ilds] NOLA OMG Notes from 2010

Rony Alfandary alfandary at gmail.com
Sun Aug 12 10:40:17 PDT 2018

Thanks Billy, really looking forward to it. No, I have not been to Corfu
yet. Richard Pine has put together quite a program. Hope to see many
Durrellians there. June 2019!

On Sun, 12 Aug 2018 at 20:31 William Apt <billyapt at gmail.com> wrote:

> Rony, it will be a pleasure to see you again next June! If you have not
> yet been before to Corfu, you will love it!
> Billy
> Attorney at Law
> 2705 Bee Cave Rd, Ste 220
> Austin TX 78746
> 512/708-8300
> 512/708-8011 FAX
> On Aug 11, 2018, at 11:59 PM, Rony Alfandary <alfandary at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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
> *Rony Alfandary*, Ph.D.
> *Clinical Social Worker*
> Postgraduate Program of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
> Dept. of Social Work
> Bar-Ilan University
> Ramat-Gan 51905
> https://ronyalfandary.wordpress.com/
> *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>
> wrote:
>> 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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