Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Tale of Windex Pete

Hate to bore you with another post about New Orleans, but the city is so colorful and so bursting with energy I couldn't resist.

If you're salivating for another good diatribe about advertising you'll just have to wait until tomorrow.

Pictured above, you'll see my wife (she's on the right, today is her birthday, she's 44 too) and a man who calls himself Windex Pete. Trust me when I say his association with cleaning products, hygiene or anything soapy ends there.

As you can see it's nighttime.

And if you have any sense of the French Quarter you'll recognize Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar in the background. Lafitte's is rumored to be the oldest bar in America.

I had spotted Windex Pete, it's hard to miss a man walking around town with a mudflap/washboard strapped to his torso, earlier in the day while taking a walking tour through the nearby Treme district. He was noticeably more sober in the AM. By nightfall, it was obvious Windex Pete had been three sheets to the wind.

At the time of this photo, I too had been well-lubricated, and caught Windex Pete's attention while he was riding his bike and working his street hustle. He had a bloody eye and his lower lip looked as if it had just been torn away from the frozen wall of a meat locker. Moreover, I don't know if he had showered since Hurricane Katrina.

In other words, he was a walking Red Flag to the typical scared white tourists who had journeyed to New Orleans to see glamorous Bourbon Street and hear "When the Saints Coming Marching In."

But Windex Pete, and how can you resist a man with a legendary nickname like that, was the Real Deal. So I gladly reached in my wallet to "buy a song."

The lighting sucks and Pete is an unusually black, black man, but it gets better as I angled around to get a better view.

Turns out Windex Pete also lived in Culver City for a spell and he regaled us with stories of time spent at the Fox Hills Mall and Dinah's near the 405. He also offered to take my wife and I to the seedier side of Rampart Ave., to the Oompa Loompa Room, where we could watch him sit in with the band, The Can't-Hardly-Playboys.

He said if we got lucky, the legendary Kermit Ruffins might be in the house.

Had I not three Sazeracs and a couple of beers in the tank, and had my daughters not been traveling with us, I might have taken him up on his offer. Who knows what kind of adventure might have transpired? Now I wish I had gone.

Instead, we combed the rest of the French Quarter and came across Tanya and Dorise. It's rumored that Tanya was the inspiration for the Annie character in Treme (a must see series, BTW) but I'll leave you to decide.

If after all this you don't feel the slightest inkling to visit the Crescent City, I suggest you pour yourself a good strong Sazerac.

Actually, it's my wife's birthday, make it two.


Bob said...

Some more Windex Pete:


BTW, Dinah's? Wow. Is it still there? Still have all-you-can-eat fried chicken night?

Anonymous said...

The Oompa Loompa Room is probably Windex Pete-enese for "Ooh Poo Pah Doo". http://www.yelp.com/biz/ooh-poo-pah-doo-bar-new-orleans
Thanks for writing about this iconic character. ;)