Posts Tagged ‘New Orleans’

New Orleans

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

New Orleans

Jim Fitzgerald and Debbie Courtney in rear, Michael Wallis and Suzanne Fitzgerald in front, on Bourbon Street, New Orleans, 1968.

We came from all points and converged in “The Big Easy.” It was the spring of 1968 and some time in New Orleans seemed like a sweet tonic for all of us.

We were young, confident, and the world was our oyster. Speaking of shellfish, we ingested plenty at Felix’s, the cozy bar on Iberville Street where folks have devoured tasty ice-cold oysters on the half-shell for generations.

This photograph taken by Proud Mary Wall, one of our gang, shows Michael and Suzanne and behind us Jim Fitzgerald and Debbie Courtney. Jim is one of Suzanne’s brothers and is now my literary agent. Debbie went on to become a country-western singer. The four of us are ambling down Bourbon Street, the famous avenue that spans the length of the French Quarter.

Only a couple weeks before our New Orleans adventure, American soldiers swept into the South Vietnamese village of My Lai and massacred 504 unarmed and unresisting women, children, and old men. It would be almost a year until word of this tragedy became public. Just short days after the photo was made, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be shot dead in Memphis at the Lorraine Motel and then shortly after midnight on June 5, Robert Kennedy would be mortally wounded in Los Angeles.

But on that bright day on Bourbon Street, our bellies filled with oysters and beer, we were far from war and knew nothing of what was to come. We were midnight ramblers and daydreamers out for a stroll and fast falling in love.