Gator on a stick.

Friday 19th June, and our stay in New Orleans had come to an end. Impressions linger. Balconies, hospitality, beads and beignet sugared noses.
My big red suitcase, packed to the gunnels, was left by the desk in the suite of my bedroom. I emptied the complimentary plate of meat and cheese into the bin, and piled up all the sheets and underlays for the chamber maids. Still donning my nearly white dress, me and B Roll camera and AP were off to the market to pick up some more B roll shots.
B roll is vital in an edit. The footage is used for establishing shots, pictures to cover dialogue, think of it as televisions ‘Elastoplast’, covering a multitude of cuts.
I locked my case and put a change of clothes in my pink suede shoulder bag so I could change for the impending fight to LA.
Met downstairs for some clogged scrambled eggs and Early Grey tea.
Despite the hour it was hot and steamy, that’s the atmosphere not the scrambled eggs.

We were driven to The French Market which has a plethora of stalls selling Cajun and Creole spices and food.
Cajun food comes from any of the largely self-contained communities in the bayou areas of southern Louisiana formed by descendants of French Canadians, speaking an archaic form of French.
Louisiana Creole people are those who are descended from the colonial settlers of Louisiana, especially those of French, Spanish, African and/or Native American.
So you can imagine the sights and smells that assault the senses when you enter the market. It was early so the market was just getting ready for the onslaught of locals and tourists. The one stall that Big J steered me to was the family stand that sold ‘Gator on a stick’. Alligator is a tried and tested ingredient that the poor fish for.
I tried the gator on a stick, a cube of white meat on a wooden skewer, that tasted of neither fish nor fowl. That is the question always asked is alligator a fish or an animal? If you’re looking at it between the eyes it hardly matters.
The Archbishop of New Orleans told an alligator farmer, in
reply to a question as to whether alligator meat is considered seafood and
whether Catholics can eat it on Fridays during Lent. The Archbishop said
in his letter; alligators are reptiles and not fish, crustaceans
or bivalves.
So you choose….
I preferred the gator in a piquant sauce. The white meat, has the consistency of chicken or rabbit, and soaks up the liquor its cooked in. The piquant sauce, prevalent in Louisiana is peppery and sweet. Couldn’t leave New orleans without a taste of the gator…..The guy who cooked it for me, unintentionally said.
‘See you later…’
To which I of course replied
‘Alligator.’ he turned and grinned. ‘Yeah’, he said, ‘Yeah’ like it was the first time he’d heard it.
‘In a while crocodile’ I threw back, my mouth full of spice
‘Sure thang.’ he shouted from his hot stove.
It wasn’t 9.00 yet and I had stuffed my face with alligator stew.
Back to the hotel and the SUV’s were being loaded up. I nipped to the hotel ‘Restroom’ stripped off my clothes and pulled on a dress that was loose, cool and covered my undulating flesh. Ready or not we were off to the airport.
The internal flight lasted four hours. I sat in the front row, Olly across the aisle. The first class woman in the window seat coughed, spluttered, and did a great job of spreading her viral infection. Coughs and sneezes spread diseases, I was tempted to say, but the food arrived.
Olly and I had boarded first as we were first class passengers, which means we had more leg room and got food on a tray. Salmon, salad and cheese. The crew had to pay for any kind of food they ate. I started the trip feeling guilty but we TALENT are given the goodies since we are on camera, hopefully looking trim and rested. Ha!
Watched Ben Stiller in a sweet comedy and slept fitfully. I could feel my chest coming on. Long days, heat, air con, long flights, air con, coughing passengers and LA air.
We arrived as the sun was setting. Cars, traffic jams, smog and the customary haze over La La land.
I was put on the 12th floor at the JWMARRIOTT Hotel. Big cool room. Pulled my clothes out of my case and did something I hadn’t done since I was fifteen. Threw all my clothes over the floor It was easier than hanging them up. My mother always threatened to hammer hooks on my bedroom floor – she never did.
In my confusion I had left my plug adaptor in the wall in New Orleans, $35 to hire one from the front desk, the money would be refunded on my departure.
Eleven of us turned out for a Mexican meal. Three new runners. Kim, descended from a family of boat people, Kevin, red hair and Celtic heritage, and Colton, who had been named after a doctor on a soap opera his mother was watching when she gave birth to him. Thank God she wasn’t watching ‘Game of Thrones’, he didn’t look like a Balon Greyjoy. We all sat at a long table. the food kept coming, Guacamole, nachos, salads, peppers, in fact the whole enchiladas. When my belly hit the floor Olly walked me back to the hotel.
Given that I had been in white I now chose a neat little black number that required no Spandex, but care had to be taken when bending over. Well I’m not as young as I was….
Before I settled down I stripped the under mattress off the bed, and slid into cool, white sheets.
Clothes laid out for tomorrow, me full of Mexican beans, I drifted off listening to the sound of LA outside the triple gazing and my own wheezing.

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