I'm fixing on you boy

Anastasia had meetings in New Orleans, so once again I got to hang on her coattails and see the sights whilst she attended various conferences.

A friend told me the week before not to hang around Bourbon Street after midnight. Which sounded like a theme from a Joe Dante movie. At the Intercontinental Hotel, I've already had one too many Sazeracs and I'm trying to persuade the barman to tell me his best fight story. I tell him mine about getting beat up by two motorcyclists in a road rage incident in my late twenties on the A1. He tells me he got beat up on the school bus, it paled in comparison. Just then a rat goes by my foot, and I tell him that this bar is about to go crazy with screaming chicks. "They're used to it,' he replies insouciantly.

New Orleans

Bourbon Street is just another rat hole that stinks of weed and cigars. A young black man passes me on the pavement pedaling one of those classic Schwinn bicycles and says, "I'm fixing on you boy,” whilst staring me down. "Very good," I reply. In hindsight, I wish I told him to f*ck off, but that would have only lead to some unwanted drama. Some pavement rage.

But Bourbon Street aside, I like New Orleans. I like the people. They speak with unguarded verve, they appreciate you, they love their city. And it's a city that's had the guts ripped out of it in the past twenty years. Since Hurricane Katrina, which put 80% of the city under water, it's been trying to claw back its spirit.

There are echoes of it all around. We drove past the abandoned theme park, Jazzland that had trees growing through the rollercoasters. It only planned to shut down for a week back in 2005, but never reopened. You can learn about that film in the excellent documentary, Closed For Storm.

Andrew Jackson Equestrian Statue & Osterley Safety Razor

Andrew Jackson Equestrian Statue & Osterley Safety Razor

Then there was Hurricane Ida that hit in 2021. The tour guide on our visit through the Swamps said, 'Everything we're sailing through now, was once land three years ago. Indeed Louisiana has lost 2,000 square miles of land since the 1930's, and this is still ongoing. Experts predict by 2050, New Orleans will most likely be underwater."

It was a somber thought. He then brought out a baby alligator for his passengers to hold. Of two guys in conversation next to me, one asked ‘I wonder what alligator tastes like?' the other replied instantly 'Pork’.

Most men wore baseball caps from previous tours and memorabilia shirts from road side cafes. The women wore animal-print halter neck dresses or lulu lemon pants. One girl with a Gemini tattoo on her arm, wearing a daffodil-yellow accordion pleated skirt was insufferable, talking on her phone with the loud speaker on. Mobile phones; the scourge of our society.

Anastasia with baby aligator

The tour guide fed the larger alligators in the swamps some marshmallows. 'Their bodies don't react to sugar,' the guide tells me. Even the Alligators in America are addicted to sugar, I thought.

Back on dry land, Anastasia and I pass a guy with a bull horn on the corner of 8th telling everyone how rich people need to give up their money in order to get into heaven. Screw that I thought. Not that I have any money.

be  New Orlean wherever you are

We share a fish platter in Luke's Restaurant, and the waiter hammers a 30 buck tip for just bringing ketchup to the table. This is America, the tipping system is making dining out something for the elite. But I suck this moment up, savour it. Like every moment in New Orleans should be. You don't know how much longer it will be here.


About the author

Peter Brooker is the co-author of From Tailors With Love an Evolution of Menswear Through the Bond Films and is also Editor-in-Chief of From Tailors With Love, a blog, vlog and podcast dedicated to men’s costumes and cinematic style.

Peter Brooker - From Tailors With Love

Follow Pete on Instagram: @therewillbebond (over 22k followers)

Follow Wilde & Harte on Instagram: @wildeandharte (2k followers)

Above: Pete with his Osterley Safety Razor.

From Tailors With Love logo