Dedicated to “Nawlins”….

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Each tattoo tells a bit of my life story. I’m not one of those “gun attached to brass knuckles mixed with a knife kind of tattoo” people. Each of my now 22 tattoos bares some kind of importance. My most recent piece is a dedication to the city that showed me that I had a bit of growing up to do. Now I wasn’t down there being a menace to myself and others but there was a bit about yours truly that I hadn’t even come to terms with.

I wasn’t as ready as I thought I was for the journey that I decided to embark on. Don’t get me wrong; I have no regrets about anything that I did as it gave me the fuel to get to where I am today internally. New Orleans has an energy that’s supernatural and very powerful; I don’t know if it’s the spirits that are centuries old or those that were taken by Katrina in 2005, but it’s something there and I felt it.

I guess I can admit it now since the statute of limitations in terms of ex-girlfriends are concerned is pretty much over: I bugged out. Now I didn’t bug out with drugs or alcohol though I didn’t meet a drink that I didn’t like down in “Nawlins” but when it came to the night time you can best believe that it was the right time. I explored some of the French Quarter’s finest bars and I helped to pay a few bills for more than a few exotic dancers in The Hustler Club (I had a favorite and her tattoos added to her sexiness). I used to frequent Evangeline’s (another bar that was across the street from my gig at a classy hole in the wall restaurant) and though I had never been much of a bar hopper in Philly, in the N.O. that what everyone seemed to do. I used to rub elbows with many of service industry veterans since I was one of them during my time in there and as much as I respect the profession, I don’t have the tolerance to deal with ignorant customers and I’m very sure that I served a few bigots.

What Baron Samedi is in terms of his raucous qualities as a Voodoo Loa (he’s known to curse, smoke cigars, drink alcohol and chase mortal women) is what I started to become in the Crescent City but I didn’t go “full retard” which is what Kirk Lazarus said you should never do. I had a girlfriend at the time but once that relationship started to crack, the more that I tried to find a method of escape. I started to write in journals about the other women that I found sexually attractive but refused to act on because I wasn’t one to do that type of thing. Well, not until the very end of the relationship when I called it quits. As soon as that happened, I wound up making out with a girl my ex knew on the front steps of a church near a bar on Magazine Street named Ms. Mae’s and I even had sex with this girl from Spain that I met at another bar that was ALSO across the street from my gig (New Orleans has more BARS than an Eminem freestyle).

I loved the city. The people, the food, the culture, etc. Everything that New Orleans represented I truly appreciated. I made friends in a place that I was foreign to which proved that I could function anywhere and not be troubled (well almost anywhere, I’d keep my black ass out of rural towns near the bible belt). I think back to that spring/summer of 2013 and so much happened to me in such a short time. Mike Munter of Hunter Gatherer brought the vision to life and now wherever I go I have a reminder and a tribute to the city that broke me.  And to my ex, who I doubt will read this post, just know that you were an essential part of making me into more of a man.

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