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Summer in NOLA

Story by Jason Kerzinski

“Hey Sweetie,” a girl in a red cruiser saunters by acknowledging the Mardi Gras Indian who stands with a Home Depot tip jar inches from his flowering Indian garb. His pink feathers illuminate the streets streaked with reminders of last night’s debauchery. His bloodshot eyes bulge.

The few tourists walking by glance with unsure looks at the man dressed in such odd attire. The yellow-and-blue beaded design on his breast reflects pink dusk brushstrokes that fill the sky. I never noticed the pink dusk until I moved to New Orleans. It took me until my thirty-third year to notice the dusk. The things we miss. How could I have missed the pink dusk all these years? The pink dusk is fast approaching. Does anyone else smell a bouquet of star glazers? Can you smell it? I can smell it.

The Mardi Gras Indian picks up his empty fluorescent orange tip jar and waddles farther down to Bourbon Street. The well has run dry. Summer in NOLA. The only way for performers to pick up some cash these days is to migrate to Bourbon. My poor, poor street performers. No one should be subjected to all the vile things that stare up from that street. Tough times in NOLA during the summertime. A gooeyness. A stillness. Days to reflect.  

Photo: Kim Welsh, Offbeat Magazine, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED