Alistair did not like New Orleans very much. “It smells like ass”, was a common refrain. The drunken louts and titty bars of Bourbon Street did nothing to endear him to her either.
I on the other hand, loved her in all her smeared mascara beauty. Yes, she wore too much French perfume that hinted at dirty nights and even dirtier deeds, but I thrilled to her humid heat and dangerous smile.
From the elegant homes of the Garden District, bordered by the eerie tombs of Lafayette Cemetery, to the incongruous blend of party-goers and haunted establishments in the French Quarter, I was mesmerised by this harlot known as “The Big Easy”; her gumbos and oyster po-boys keeping me sated as we travailed her mysteries.
One of the most fascinating parts of our trip was the haunted history tour showing us the house of the infamous Madame Delphine LaLaurie, a wealthy socialite and sadistic torturer. The gruesome evil she inflicted on her slaves left me in need of a hand grenade, the New Orleans equivalent of Long Island Iced Tea (but stronger).
Dodging the frat boys and tattooed girls on roller skates, Alistair and I made our way back to our sinfully luxurious hotel – Le Pavillon, ”the belle of New Orleans” – for hot chocolate and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches (a late night tradition).
During the heat of the day, we lounged by the rather OTT rooftop pool and I drank cocktails while Al wrote. As for what else we did… well, every scarlet woman has her secrets doesn’t she?