Chris Rose, of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, is one of the best and most unjustly-unknown writers in the country. Think James Lileks crossed with Dave Barry and Lewis Grizzard, except Rose spends more time in bars than with Gnats (in retrospect, that’s a horrible comparison; Chris Rose is just Chris Rose, and his work can stand on its own with no help from me). His columns about a customer revolt involving a long-term waiter at Galatoire’s are already legendary in New Orleans, and an utter delight to read, even if you’ve never been there. They’re fall-on-the-floor funny if you know the city at all (I’d link it in a heartbeat if I could find the complete text; here’s a tiny excerpt from an old blog page).
Here’s a sample from his latest, particularly appropriate for this site:
This scenario is reproduced dozens, hundreds, thousands of times a night in New Orleans. A single drinker at the bar, a touchy-feely couple in a dark corner, an office party in a side booth, a mob of singles clogging up some tony Uptown saloon.
People are enjoying their cocktails, a word so square that it’s hip again. The definition of “cocktail” varies, depending on whom you ask and where you look it up and what year you’re talking about, but suffice it to say it’s a mixed drink, served chilled in a glass, and it packs a punch. This much has been constant since the beginning.
And in the beginning, there was the word.
Although it sometimes seems like New Orleans claims that everything related to poker, music, prostitution and liquor was invented here, the fact is: A lot of it was.
Go make yourself a drink, then read the rest. If this doesn’t start your weekend off right, you’re doing something wrong.