This month’s “Babes, Booze and Books” book club meeting will be one to go down in history for us. This month’s selections were Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams and Music for Camelians by Truman Capote. Our fearless leader J had a smashing idea one night while out drinking with K, another Babe. She said we should discuss the books while riding the streetcar. She promised me we wouldn’t be “out all night” because she had a busy day the next day. We all gathered at J’s house. We started out with Brandy Cassis cocktails since Capote drank a lot of Brandy. J first proposed we eat after the streetcar ride, but a couple of us decided we need to eat before we drank so we helped ourselves to fried chicken, potato salad and the mirliton and shrimp casserole. We saved the red beans and peach cobbler for after the ride. (Our meetings are potluck and we are damn fine cooks if I do say so.) J then made a round of “Streetcars” – actually they were “Sidecars” but we rechristened them for the evening. Eventually, we made our way to Canal Blvd to catch the streetcar. We had to wait for a little bit, so J broke out a bottle of wine and plastic cups. There were nine of us and I’m sure the other people waiting there for the streetcar to ride to work were not amused. We encourage them to all board before us, since we had to finish our drinks before we could board. We sat in the back and started talking about “Streetcar.” We also took silly photos of ourselves, and I took the opportunity to shoot some video. I love the sounds of the streetcar.
We got off the streetcar and headed to the Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleon. Supposedly Tennessee wrote in the bar. I had never been, though it’s been on my list of things to do in New Orleans. Well, it’s a bar, and it looks like a carousel. The people sitting around the bar rotate, while the bartender stays stationary. The staff was great – the bartender cheerfully made nine cocktails with much flair, and the bored waiters were dancing to the lame disco that was playing. It was hard for all of us to talk together, so we ended up chatting in groups of three.
J then ordered us to get to-go cups because it was time to move on. We walked back to Canal to catch the St. Charles streetcar. We had to wait again, so J broke out munchies. When the streetcar arrived, it was packed! The driver kept picking more people up and they just had to cram themselves in. We had to physically pull people through the aisle when we came to their stop. Finally enough people got off we were able to sit. We got off at Louisiana Ave and walked over to the Delachaise. It too was packed and they had only one bartender working. If you’ve even been there you know how trying it can be to get a drink. J got frustrated, and was also upset to be told that Chef Chris no longer worked there (I hope that’s not true). She remembered we still had wine with us, so some of us drank that while a few who didn’t want wine waited (and waited, and waited…) for their cocktail. One of the babes pointed out it was after 10 and she has to be at work at 7am. We walked back to wait for the streetcar. And wait. A man who had come out of the Rite Aid told us to be careful walking on the streetcar tracks then asked where we were from. He didn’t believe were we locals until he and J started talking about cooking. Once again, out comes the wine and we shared some with our new friend.
By the time we got back to Canal Street to transfer to the other line it was 11:30. J asked the people waiting if they knew what time the next car would arrive. After midnight? TAXI! We took cabs back to the start. When we got back to J’s a few babes left but the rest of us dug into the red beans and sausage and the homemade peach coddler with ice cream. I got home at 12:45. So much for not staying out late.