The Piano Bar at Le Pavillion

While Weboy and the M.A.S. lament their lack of a/c in the stifling humidity and heat of New England, the exact same weather in New Orleans feels balmy and lovely to me, a woman whose toes turn purple at the slightest provocation of chill.  Indeed, I loathe the air conditioning that plagues me throughout the summer.  If I had my way, Weboy, the M.A.S. and I would all be chilling at the rooftop pool here at Le Pavillion.

The rooftop pool at Le Pavillion

Instead, at the moment, I’m nursing a nearly empty Baileys on the rocks in the piano bar.  Probably the most annoying aspect of this rather chez-crumbling-historic hotel is the showtunes in the elevator (no joke: Cats, Phantom of the Opera, others I know but can’t recall after four cocktails tonight), although the high-end service (employee-gentlemen rushing to press the elevator button for you as if you couldn’t possibly manage) and cable (OMG – Daily Show! I never have the pleasure) is certainly appealing. 

The best moment in the bar tonight is the blond behind the piano with the fur wrap laid across it

 Le Pavillion Pianistcoming out for a break, and cornering the vacationing-NY-Jewish-couple-with-son-Jonah-and-adopted-Chinese-daughter-Milan (sp??) to grill them about why they’re here and broadly comparing their experience to her local six children all within several years of one another.  The adult NY’ers had little idea what to do with this information, though responded rather warmly in contrast to their excessively blase children.  Apparently they no longer live in the city and come to NOLA quite frequently.  From there the conversation devolved into the gratuitous thanking of the tourist family for their regional spending, and then the entertainment once more reverted to the 80s soundtrack of the digital music channel playing while the pianist was on break.  I kid you not, “I’ll be Loving You Forever” by New Kids, not to mention Bobby Brown and Jody Watley hits.  This musical nostalgia is a consistent theme I love about New Orleans.

And our pianist concludes a Dan Fogelberg cover and moves on to Carole King as I type.  Meanwhile, Redstar seriously considers a refill of the Baileys.

Unintentionally in honor of my new cousin, tonight I ate at chef John Besh’s latest joint, Luke. 

Luke, New Orleans

Tasty crab, but better, a fun conversation with Ashley, the bartender.  I was hunched over a glass of white wine and genius historian Alice O’Connor’s Poverty Knowledge, furtively and energetically making notes in this hip little journal TK gave me titled “What I Read”, so Ashley verbally surmised that I was “working on something.”  When I mentioned planning, I got my usual somewhat-random-association of earlier patrons who worked for a company that takes 3d photos to use for “planning” and stuff.  I immediately turned the tables of inquiry on her career in the high end food industry (thanks for giving me some insight, Nikki!) and we chatted amiably while I ate.  Our only real glitch was at the end of the meal when she told me her brother lives in Boston, on/near MLK blvd/st, close to “the stadium” and the “waterfront.”  I told her in Boston that wasn’t possible, that she was more likely describing the Bronx (even though MLK in NY is in Harlem).  My recapping later to the M.A.S. confirmed that MLK is in Roxbury, and it’s likely a born-and-raised (white) New Orleanian who’s somehow found himself living in Roxbury, MA could easily equate his address with proximity to Fenway and the ocean.  Boston is teeny-tiny.  Of course, symbolically, and according to neighborhood boundaries, his address is impossible.  I unintentionally chagrined Ashley, but perhaps the joke is actually on parochial old me. 

Staying in such a service-oriented hotel in a block of the Central Business District within walking distance of a multitude of New Orleans neighborhoods (biz, warehouse/hipster/loft living, and FQ), I feel a bit more like a tourist than usual in the midst of my usual familiarity with the city.  I also feel safe here, which is an unusual and satisfying change.  I’m pretty sure I hate the French Quarter. I’ve been taking some camera photos but nothing I feel like throwing up here at the moment.  I have some deeper thoughts re: recovery and participation, but I’d prefer not to do them the garbled injustice of three white wines and a Baileys.  In the interim, I’ve added a new category here at the RP on planning and development, and it’s a collection of some of my best writing on the reality down here. 

Enjoy, even if you can’t be privvy to the Bread, John Lennon and Kansas covers that might stimulate your own thinking on Gulf Coast recovery. 

Here, at least, is a picture of some excellent locally-grown long beans that I ate last night.  TASTY:

Local long beans


1 Response to “The Piano Bar at Le Pavillion”

  1. June 28, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    I’m not sure it’s exactly the same weather – I wasn’t there in dead summer, but when I was, I’d say their southern-ness made things way more balmy than here: the heat here is just stifling. As for the whole expeience of piano bar and dining… I am there with you, and oddly, not in a jealous way: you just got me thinking about how much I enjoyed my dining experiences. I’d love to try Luke, too.

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