Keep Those Bullets From Flying (Into Your Head)

This is our last Weekly Beat missive for 2012, and it’s certainly been a wild year. The year 2012 marked OffBeat‘s 25th anniversary, which was the first time yours truly has ever been on OffBeat‘s cover, as I’ve avoided showing my fat little face on our covers. Elsa Hahne, OffBeat‘s Art Director and main photographer, talked me into it, and I’m kind of glad we spent an hour filling up the tub in Bethany Bultman‘s bathroom with soap bubbles. It was fun, got a lot of attention, and Ms. Hahne made me look beautiful, as did Erin Moreau, who’s a hair and make-up goddess. Thanks to you both for making me look much, much better than I do in real life!
New Year’s Eve is a big deal in New Orleans. I can remember going to my friend Jane’s apartment on the corner of Dauphine and Conti, across from the Deja Vu bar. She had an unbelievable apartment: the entire second floor of a building that’s now an office building/meeting facility. Back then, she had a really sweet deal with her landlord and had an utterly decadent grand (and huge) apartment, for dirt-cheap. It was a musty, old, crumbling-ceiling, original-chandelier-and-plaster-rosettes kind of place. Impossible to keep warm in winter, and no air conditioning in summer, just a breeze from all the windows around the entire floor. She had a massive wardrobe of clothes and costumes hung on garment racks in the part of the living area she deemed a “closet,” along with masks, and souvenirs of the Quarter. I can’t imagine that those kinds of apartments exist in the Quarter anymore. It was truly the bohemian type of place that you imagine would exist only in New Orleans.
She and I and our mutual friend Walt would party there into the night in the heart of the Quarter, and it was easy to go to any of the Quarter hangouts, which we did, regularly. One of my fondest memories is spending New Year’s Eve at Jane’s place, and heading to Jackson Square and Jax Brewery with Walt, Jane and some other friends to watch the Baby Drop. Never saw so many crazy people (in a good way) in my life. Later, after midnight, we wended our way back to Jane’s, drank a lot more champagne and partied into the night, and as we tried to leave, Jane had to fetch a couple buckets of water to wash down her stoop (remember Deja Vu was across the street; it was about 3 a.m. and there were, shall we say, bodily fluids of all types on that stoop). Being a girl who was headed back to Mid-City, I was appalled, but Jane just shrugged and said that it was no big deal: part of living in the Quarter, she said.
This was almost 30 years ago, and unfortunately, Ms. Jane is no longer with us. At least back then, we didn’t worry so much about gunshots on New Year’s Eve. Back in the mid-1990s, though, a young tourist visiting the city was killed by a falling bullet from some unknown person who was celebrating New Year’s by shooting a gun into the air. Since then, the practice of shooting guns has been curbed somewhat, but falling bullets being shot by partygoers in cities all over the US have become problematic. Every year, hundreds of people who are innocently out celebrating the New Year die because of falling bullets.
I mean, how stupid is it to shoot a gun into the air and expect that the bullet isn’t going to fall to earth and potentially kill someone?
Please, please: if you must own a gun (and I hope you don’t), don’t be firing it into the air on New Year’s Eve to celebrate. Get yourself some fireworks and play with those, because at least if you’re going to hurt someone, it’ll probably be yourself: your bad for shooting off fireworks and not being careful. At least an innocent human’s life won’t be ruined or taken.
Enough with the preaching, already! Have a great New Year’s Eve, and let’s look forward to 2013. It’s going to be a great year, and the beginning of OffBeat’s 26th!