A few years ago my husband sent me a series of pictures he took around New Orleans.
Most of them were tourist shots- the St. Louis cathedral, his lunch, a Voodoo shop where you’re not supposed to take pictures ( he sent me a picture of the sign ).
And one was a picture of a bottle.
And the bottle was full of something called a Toxic Baby.
I was fascinated with that picture. I kept looking at it. Wondering about it.
I had no interest in what was inside of the bottle- I just liked the name
So a few months later I booked a flight to New Orleans ( just in time For Halloween ) and went in search of the Toxic Baby.
When I got to New Orleans I didn’t google Toxic Baby. I didn’t ask my husband where I could find it. I just spent the week haunting the French Quarter.
I hung out at the Saint Louis Cemetery on Basin Street, where among a lot of other history I learned you might not want to wear flip flops because what was once inside of those crypts in some cases ended up outside of the crypts and bone looks like sand when it gets smooshed and you might not want that stuff stuck between your toes.
And I also learned that when a cab, a horse-drawn cab and bicycle cab meet in an intersection and none of them can decide who has the right of way you can learn about a hundred new ways to use over used swear words.
Just in case you’re curious- the end the horse-drawn cab will win because they have whips.
If you want your Tarot cards read you can get it done right to the left or right of the cathedral doors almost on the steps themselves.
But not in front of the Cathedral itself.
You can also go to confession and end up in a bar in less then twenty steps.
I thought that was hilarious.
So I got distracted. I was there to look for the Toxic Baby and I had made no effort to even ask about it.
On my last day in New Orleans I decided to visit the Cathedral one more time ( it seemed like the right thing to do after all the time I spent in the cemetery) and as I walked out I turned the corner of St Louis Cathedral and I found myself a few doors down from the Pirates Alley Cafe.
Really? Pirates went to Cafe’s? Oh why not. I thought. Pirates have to eat to right?
I decided to go on in.
None of the customers were dressed up like Pirates that day but something about those dark walls, that long worn wooden bar and brick walls made you feel like you were a pirate.
So I head up to the bar-and there it was.
Waiting for me.
The Toxic Baby.
I took a picture of the bottle. I walked from side to side and took it in- the simple label and the promise that the drink tasted worse than it looked.
I found it, I thought.
I found the thing that brought me from Washington state all alone during Halloween.
It called to me and I went. Just because I like the way something sounded.
I remember standing there looking up at the ceiling and wondering how many other people ended up so far away from home because they liked the way something sounded.
It’s a wicked tasting drink I’ve been told. I wouldn’t know. I don’t drink.
It was two years ago that I ended up in search of and finding The Toxic Baby.
I hung out in a graveyard. I explored VooDoo shops and toured a VooDoo museum that was housed in an actual house. I wandered around the French Quarter and ate pizza by the slice and wrote stories and took pictures and did I mention I hung out in the cemetery a lot?
I’m a suburban housewife from a small suburban town and that year some of my friends to Disney World, some went on cruises others ended up in Hawaii.
I ended up in New Orleans staring at a bottle of The Toxic Baby.
And if I could get on a plane now and go back tonight-