“You can’t come in, but you can come over!” Three young guys with clean black shirts and aprons are working their charms on a few young ladies across Royal and Saint Louis Streets. They’re untucking laminated menus from beneath their arms, peering out from their corner perch at the Royal House Oyster Bar. The ladies seem hungry, and eager to sit down somewhere, but are turned off at the realization of eating oyster beignets on a bench in Jackson Square without a cocktail to work it through.
Around the corner toward Bourbon, the lionized Antoine’s Restaurant, boarded up with purple-gold-green panels normally posted in place on Mardi Gras day. Perhaps a knowledgeable passerby is curious to know how to wrap a $120 Chateaubriand for two, to-go. Once crossed the mystical membrane in the one square block beyond Royal, the debaucheries of Saint Patrick’s Day a blur of noiseless mutters and zipping Gob Bluths on motorized scooters.
And here, the Square obliterated at its playful fringes, Pere Antoine Alley emptied save a gussied pair of engaged lovers, their photographers taking full advantage of the beautiful blankness within stark romances stirring all around them, shocking, true. 624 Pirates Alley, William Faulkner’s apartment in 1925, where he wrote his first two novels, A Soldier’s Pay and Mosquitoes, now ever a bookstore, now open to deliveries only, its shutter doors half ajar. Its small, handwritten capacity sign delirious, when twelve browsing shelves now seems a fearless dream.
By way of Frenchmen Street: mechanic Tim, business card says King at Bicycle Michael’s, is pulling out tufts of Morgan’s undercoat, they float in a light breeze off the river – Mo chomps at them- hilarious futility. More shamrocks shambling in a single group of six, they wander. Where on Earth to find a beer? A king would have such boom in his voice. “The bodega. Over there.” I lead the way for a bottle of my own.