Boogie avec le Marquis le Marquis’ Intimate Diary

First off, I am mad-seething-livid at the moment. I haven’t been able to connect to the internet or make a phone call over which I didn’t have to yell all day long.


The bane of my existence.

“BellSouth. We Redefine Suck!”

Picking up my phone, I seem to have a crossed line with a hurricane. It sounds like someone crushing ice or a phlegmatic man snoring. Infrequently, the static buzzes down to mild flurries with a chance of thunder. It is in those brief moments when I dash upstairs, reboot the DSL modem, cross my fingers that it connects, do my queued transfers, then get booted by Hurricane BellSouth again.

The simple tradesman came out to do his simple task of fixing it.

He pottered about on a pole outside my house for an hour and said he “replaced the broken thingy,” (his words, not mine).

“Mmm-hmm,” I said skeptically, having had only too much experience with BellSouth. I picked up the phone and I was transported instantly to Belize in the midst of tropical storm. “Listen,” I said, non-plussed, handing him the phone.

“Hmm. Still there,” he surmised brilliantly as my modem light blinked spasmodically, trying to connect to something — anything — help!

“How ‘bout dat…” I shared.

Then he began his speech. He knew it by rote. He said it with the rehearsed distance and lack of emotion that telemarketers tell me to “have a nice day.”

“The problem is with the wiring in your house. You don’t have the Fix-It plan. Billing starts at $90 an hour. Shall I get out form 89-stroke-Zed and begin the necessary procedures in triplicate?”

“Waaaait a minute,” I said. “I just moved into this house four months ago. The wiring is not my responsibility.”

Now I have to fight with BellSouth and the landlord (who’s actually one of the cooler landlords I’ve had) and get this mess sorted out.

In the meantime, Melusine needs her cold compress changed hourly, and she is too upset and frustrated to venture from her boudoir to do so herself. Poor dear has been email-less for many days now and is conjuring dæmons and siccing them on the administrative staff of BellSouth as we speak.

I’m glad I’m not one of them. She has powers, that one does.

In the meantime, I’m knocking on the neighbour’s door, PowerBook-in-tow, asking if I might use their phone to send an email right quick.

I have no idea when I’ll be able to post this diary entry. I feel so marooned. This must be what it feels like to be on Big Brother or Survivor. It’s not for me.

Thanks for listening to my rant. Now onto today’s entry…

River Road snakes along the levee of the Mississippi River, looming higher than New Orleans’ own elevation. It is usually considered “hell and gone” from wherever you want to be.

In Manhattan, it would be in the 90’s.

In Los Angeles, it would be Van Nuys.

In London, its equivalent would be Chiswick Park.

San Francisco : Ocean Beach.

(Let me know if I’ve missed your city.)

Last night, Patti asked if I could help her dress (corset n’ all) and do her hair (power-puffs n’ all) and take her to the set where they’re filming a movie in which she is playing a tarted up vixen kung-fu, gun-totin’ bitch from hell.

(Why is Patti always cast as the bitch? Because she pulls it off so well, one supposes.)

Cinched, powdered and perruqued, I asked her, “Whither wends us, m’lady?”

“Butler’s Bar on River Road.”

“Wow. River Road. That’s … pretty random. Butler’s. Hmm. Never heard of it. You?”


“Wait, there’s a bar in New Orleans that I haven’t heard of and that you haven’t worked in?”

“Who knew!”

We hopped onto the I-10. I got to drive in 5th gear. I haven’t driven in 5th gear in months! I imagined all sorts of fatal flaws in my car as we zooomed all the way up to 65 mph!

Found the bar flanking the river. I love the bars in New Orleans. Each one (and there are hundreds-‘pon-hundreds in this smallish town) is completely individual, barring the touristy daiquiri bars on Bourbon Street.

Every establishment has been in existence since time immemorial, and each place has a history, ambiance and personality all its own.

Much like London pubs.

But more Tom Waits-ey than that.

We met the director and another actor outside with the lights, then sallied inside.

Great triangular shaped room (the building being on a corner, and River Road cutting the grid of Uptown diagonally). One long wall lined with comfy old sofas. The last one had an Atari 2600 and a B&W monitor set up with “Tank” playing.

I meet the bartender, Troy. Tall, bouncy, energetic and charismatic.

Then Patti, to a girl at the bar: “I know you.”

“You box, don’t you?” replied the girl.

They laugh. I have often chided Patti for the uncommon propensity she has that wherever she goes in New Orleans or elsewhere, she will know somebody from somewhere.

“That’s so not true,” she says, then further proves my theory when we go to a random, out-of-the-way place like Butler’s on River Road.

Patti finishes her conversation. I cut her a glance that says, “See? Tollja.”

She rolls her eyes and we go outside to begin shooting.

No lines tonight. Just evil glares, bitchy poses, and pulling a gun on a character who is peeing enthusiastically against a wall.

Patti camps it up.

I’m cold, despite my well-padded leather jacket. (I quietly mourn for my friend who’s standing in the chilly night air in a corset, knee-length slip and little else.)

I go inside and order another drink from the charismatic bartender. We start bantering about this n’ that.

Then, from across the bar: “Marquis?”

It’s an acquaintance from around town.

“Jeezus H. Christ on a stick. Heya Temple. What the hell?”

I wonder aloud at the centrality and nepotistic ways of New Orleans.

“Okay,” I explain, “I get around a lot, and usually see someone I know out, but I was certain that River Road would be bereft of familiar faces.”

“No way, man, Butler’s is great.”

Of course it is. It’s a bar in New Orleans. There are only two I can think of that suck. And those two are still better than any place in L.A. or anywhere in the Midwest.

Visit the Marquis’ Crush o’ the Week. Nice penmanship, nice ass, what more could a person want?

“DJ, SAVE my life!” TODAY: Not a new one today because BellSouth’s line noise prevents me from large file transfers. Thanks, BellSouth! The Shaggs: “My Pal Foot Foot” (2.3 MB)