An Excellent Party

ANDREI CODRESCU

June 14, 1993|By ANDREI CODRESCU

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans.--A few of us artists and writers from New Orleans went to Boston over the weekend to visit with some Boston artists and writers. It had been decided that no two cities are more unlike than Boston and New Orleans. Bostonians eat lobsters and burn witches. New Orleanians eat crawfish and worship witches. It's always cold in Boston and it's always hot in New Orleans. Bostonians are eggheads. New Orleanians are sensualists. And so on.

Based on these differences the two groups made each other some ritual gifts. The Bostonians sent us a two-ton block of ice with essential items, such as plastic mouths full of white beans embedded in them. The Boston ice melted picturesquely as we ate oysters off it at the reception party. There were candles in the ice and someone suggested holding a Black Mass on it around midnight but we couldn't find any virgins.

In exchange, we set out for Boston carrying five suitcases full of Mississippi mud mixed with grave dirt and file gumbo. Embedded in the mud were found items such as a denture with gold teeth, and the disk containing the complete text of my latest novel. We delivered the mud to The Space, the downtown art gallery where our counterparts were based. The digging of the items out of mud was accomplished with great aplomb by one of the Bostonians.

We then adjourned to a lavish dinner prepared by one of our hosts at his renovated Victorian mansion and had lobster in red bell pepper sauce, followed by an ancient colonial stew of salted cod and white beans which some of us laced with Tabasco hot sauce from the bottles we carried in our pockets for just such an emergency. After the custard desert made with honey from a neighborhood beehive, the hosts put on Cajun music, which being unfamiliar to the natives, caused several of them to fall and break valuable vases, antique dishes and clay sculptures.

Around midnight, it was decided that there wasn't much difference between Boston and New Orleans, so we officially exchanged the names of our cities, promising to refer henceforth to Boston as New Orleans and to New Orleans as Boston. Next stop -- Minneapolis.

Andrei Codrescu is editor of Exquisite Corpse.

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