Honky-tonk music roared as tourists and locals clamored for the bartender’s attention. Her clarion call moved the blonde woman to echo the song’s pithy, southern mourning. I elbow my way in as another staccato twang reverberates the after work milieu. In between verses, the mahogany-hued bartender asks what I want. Another verse shouts out as she grabs my beer.
We sit what seems like the back of the bar as the clamor feels subdued in this side bar separated by an archway. Golden Lantern felt like any other bar. “I like it here. Feels safe that I won’t get hit on,” Cyn stated emphatically. Maybe because it’s Jazz Fest? I sauntered in to a couple other bars that felt noticeably Gay, more men or all men, “Act like you own the place. I know the maitre d’.” A beer-filled cup in hand, we head west on Royal Street to Muriel’s in Jackson Square. Cyn led unfazed quickly past the maitre d’ with a wave and a word into a narrow, long bar. The bar was full. As we decided what to do, several patrons got up to leave. How fortunate? Or were we? The Honey Child served in a chilled, long stemmed glass heightened a new, sensual experience as Muriel’s buzzed with diners and bar patrons.
Muriel’s faces Jackson Square, a two story former bordello with a wrap around balcony, one on Chartres Street that bends right on St. Ann. A “rush” pervaded my mind and body. The beers, Honey Child, Cyn and the carpeted walk up to the balcony where several other rooms adjoined felt welcoming and exciting as twilight twinkled the street lights on.
“I wanted to show you the Red room!” Cyn disappointed in my solo foray as she when down to pay our tab. At the time, I knew nothing of a resident Ghost. Only the visceral reddish hues and colors that embodied this long, insular room. Adorned couches and pillows abutted each wall with stately portraits of bygone eras. Exposed brick exposed its origins from wood to brick after the 1788 fire. Cyn nestled her hand into mine as we settled deeper into the plushness of the couch.
The Séance lounge’s centerpiece portrait turned our heads right. By this time, several people transited in and out of the lounge. Only two young women sat beneath the portrait, getting chummier as we nestled further into the pillows.
Mona my Lisa
“i’m hungry.” So am I. “Do ya like Italian?” Cyn led us east on St. Ann’s. Two quick turns and Mona was staring at me. Her portrait hung conspicuously outside the front door. Every thing in the French Quarter feels worn, weathered yet welcoming. Like seeing your grandmother or old uncle greet you with a firm hug and a handshake. Steady. Strong. Long and narrow (feel a theme here!?), Mona Lisa’s painted guises adorned the restaurant’s walls. A calavera, an abstract Lisa, a cubist Lisa. Lisa’s everywhere.