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How I Missed Halloween 2007 

You'd think that after living in New Orleans for 300 years, I'd have the stamina to make it to Halloween, but I'm just glad to be alive, OK? Two nights before Halloween weekend, my poetry apprentices gathered in the churchly quasi-gloom of the Thursday services at the Gold Mine Saloon on Dauphine Street and held a long, multiple-voiced liturgy of poesy laced with sin and feelings, a beautiful ceremony that made me feel so honored I had about 12 drinks and, on top of that, the bishop, Dave Brinks, didn't let me pay for any of it. You can imagine what a thing like that can do to a man's soul. I felt so elated that I proceeded to Molly's, where the poetry posse set itself to entertaining lofty thoughts aided by more drinks. Some of my friends even managed to get gently removed from the premises for acting unseemly, and some ended up in my tiny cell, where our thoughts soared so high I wasn't sure there were any more words to express the condition. Happily, Laura took charge about 5 a.m., and we gained the solitude necessary for a poet to sleep and renew his powers.

The next day was spent mostly renewing those powers, after which we dressed carefully, I by pulling a new sweatshirt over my jeans, and Laura by fussing around with various vestments suitable for a New Orleans premiere, settling at last on black tights, a short checkered skirt and a long vintage maroon leather coat that had belonged to my mother in the days when Frank Sinatra was still at the top of his game. We then betook ourselves to the event of the season, the premiere of Miss Pussycat's film, Trixie and the Treetrunks, an animated film where I am the voice of the seminal character, JJ Suede, a drummer and an assassin of kittens. You can view Miss Pussycat's film in serial form on VBS on the Internet ( The premiere was at One Eyed Jacks on Toulouse Street, where they occassionally have burlesque, but the place was filled this night by ultra-hipsters who had obviously taken pains to look very cool. In addition to a great number of discreet and indiscreet masques, there were many vintage touches of the early '60s mixed with crude porn retouches of the late '90s. The crowd was, to my untrained eyes, teleported from New York and Berlin, with all the hip accruing thereof, but New-Orleansized visibly with various hoodooish accents. Trixie and the Treetrunks was a huge hit, and I was a huge star. We even got to go backstage where Quintron and the musicians who followed the film were meditating with the aid of whiskey. We then regained the floor and listened in amazement to a band dressed (or rather draped) in black-and-white squares that set the stage for Quintron and Miss Pussycat, who delivered a musical performance that was so riveting and hypnotic I actually shuffled my sorry legs involuntarily in what someone might have mistaken for dancing. I know my abilities, and dancing isn't among them. The motley crowd was very still for about eight seconds, then the music started flowing through them, warming up the blood congealed by the strain of dressing up, and they started boogieing rhythmically like a large family celebrating the founding of a new settlement in mindspace. Soon enough it was about 3 a.m., and more amigos came over, and then it was 6 a.m.

Lying on my Mac desktop at 6 p.m., when I got up, were invitations to several never-to-be forgotten Halloween events, for which I substituted an immense bowl of macaroni and cheese lovingly prepared by Laura from a big paper package, and I stood very still while the raucous party on the streets outside went on like a lullaby. That's how I missed Halloween, usually for me the hardest working day of the year.

Andrei Codrescu's latest book is New Orleans, Mon Amour: Twenty Years of Writing From the City (Algonquin Books).

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