We had just wandered down Bourbon Street at dusk and were comparing Soho, London and The Strip at Las Vegas. Soho had burly blokes luring drunken football fans into the strip clubs. Las Vegas had the diminutive Latins handing out prostitutes’ illustrated business cards automatically to passers-by regardless of whether alone or in couples let alone their age, gender or obvious inclination.
Bourbon Street has more of a fun air. The burly blokes outside the strip clubs have girls in short skirts with them, there’s music in the air, the heat is sultry rather than Nevada scorching.We weren’t too sure about the exact gender of the six footer in a tiny bikini outside one club, but generally it’s an attractive scene. My wife got hugged by a lovely girl who said ‘Don’t worry, hon, I’m not gonna pick you up and carry you into a strip club. I’m just a hugger. Welcome to New Orleans …’ (and yes purse and jewellery were intact afterwards). I waited for a hug, but it never came.
So we turned the corner, and ran into them. At least a dozen boys, all white, fifteen or sixteen years old, fresh-faced, 1962 crew cuts, and with identical uniform black sweatshirts proclaiming GOD IS LIGHT over the heart. They looked like the escaped cast of ‘The Book of Mormon’ but were younger, faces shining with scrubbing. ‘Hey, guys,’ one was saying, ‘Bourbon Street’s next …’
We sat over our bacon-wrapped shrimp half an hour later regretting that we hadn’t followed them to watch. What were they doing? Were they an escaped school choir in New Orleans to sing at some religious event? If so, wouldn’t removing the sweatshirts have been a good idea? Were they bent on converting the sinful? What would be their reaction to the pleasures on offer? Or were they an arts event in progress?