New Orleans Stories: James


We arrived in New Orleans last night and are starting to settle in.  After having been here, we think, 9 or 10 times in the last 8 years (is that even right?) it no longer feels like arriving somewhere new, or like a vacation at all.  It's a sort of homecoming.  Especially after last year when we got to stay for a month. And now, we're back for another month.  The possibilities are endless and exciting.  Equally pleasing, if less exciting, is slipping into our routine.  Nights in with Lenny, long afternoon walks in the French Quarter, cooking our own food, and yes, buying wine at the corner drug store.  I'm Canadian. What do you want from me?  It's still a thrill.

Today I slipped away to spend an hour alone at the French Market just to enjoy the warmth (again, Canadian, what do you want, etc) and there I met James.

His opener was: Have you heard of Hurricane Katrina?

I gave him a "do I look dumb?" look and we both started laughing and high fived.

James told me he got evacuated to Arizona after the storm.  "Don't no black people want to go to no Arizona" he said. So he relocated to...wait for it...Vancouver.  

The Canadians were generous, he said.  One night, he was panhandling (his word) outside a Canucks game and the offers of Canadian money came rolling in.  He said he wasn't sure it would be worth it.  Maybe Canadian money would be a lousy exchange, like Mexican money.  But, who was he to turn down the offers?  It turned out lucky.  He got 98 cents on the dollar and made $700 in one night, because the Canucks beat the L.A. Kings and it was a big game.  Or something.  Hockey talk makes me glaze over.  

I implored him to talk about the Saints or the Yankees or the Raptors but he said he only followed hockey after his time in Vancouver.  The Yankee cap and Lakers jersey were gifts.

Him:  Where are you from?
Me:  Toronto.
Him:  In Canada?
Me: That's the one.
Me:  I've tried...I'
Him: Girl, that's just sad.
Me: Go Raptors?
Him: What?
Me:  Never mind.

I should have told him how excited I was not to be wearing a jacket and that I was looking forward to buying some wine at the drug store.  Maybe that would have gotten me some Canadian street cred.


  1. Not even Olympic hockey? Not even women's hockey? Even I get caught up in that action.

    I hear all about the regular season from Garry, but I can't enjoy the games because of my delicate sensibilities. The things Uncle Garry shouts at the TV make me blush.

  2. When I hear that the women won I have a moment of "awesome! good for them!" and then it's done.


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