01 November 2007

halloween, in school and in the quarter

the tureaud elementary school was our destination yesterday. i was sorry not to head back to gregory. it's obvious that so much needs to be done in that prison camp of a school -- so much, unfortunately, that our presence is not necessarily helpful, which i hope to get to. the 7th ward school tureaud was in much better shape, and i felt a bit useless. we helped move some things around and did some inventory, but after that hour of hard work was over, we spent the afternoon helping to set up the school's fall festival and halloween party. and yes, it was easier for the people setting up the event with us there -- who would have carried the giant roasting pan full of boiling nacho cheese down three flights of stairs if i hadn't been there?

i guess i just had lofty goals for my time here. but hey, it was one heck of a party. i took endless pictures of children in costumes, kids playing on a playground looking out on boarded-up houses with the ubiquitous X. two years later, many houses still bear the marks of inspectors that identify the inspector, the hazards inside, pets if any and the number of bodies found. most of the x's have a body count of zero, but the ones that do make me shudder as we drive by.

still, we had one heck of a halloween party. i ran the ring toss and the pins were two liter bottles of soda, so the kids were anxious to win. they were like compulsive gamblers, going again and again and again in vain.

after our day, i expressed my doubts as to the effectiveness of our time at the school to our program leader and was transferred to construction duty this morning. a good morning for it, considering the real halloween party was last night in the french quarter.

some say the best halloween party in the country is in the castro. but it was cancelled after a shooting last year. those from madison wisconsin say their's is the best in the midwest. i haven't done the west village yet, maybe next year. honestly, i'm not sure that i will ever be satisfied with another halloween after last night. i can't wait to put my pictures and videos up. seriously, this is one helluva time. i couldn't believe the insanity. so many amazing costumes -- michael vick seemed to be a local favorite, with stuffed dogs dragging behind.

the highlight for me was in our last bar. we stopped to wait in line for the bathroom before we began the long search for a cab home. a couple girls were dressed in full kiss makeup and suits and started singing i wanna rock and roll all night. me, being dressed in my full freddie mercury costume, started we are the champions. kiss shouted me down and i challenged them to a rock-off. they went silent and it became obvious that rock and roll all night was the only kiss song they knew. so me and my sister started rattling off song after song from the queen library. eventually a guy dressed in a terrible florida costume (egg crate mattresses tied to his body with duct tape) joined us for bohemian rhapsody.

rock off final score? queen 7, kiss 1.

we truly are the champions.

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