Years ago, when I was in my first serious relationship, I called up my mother to complain about how hard love was. I explained to her that my boyfriend wanted me to change to be this. I wanted him to change to be that. My mom, by then, had been married to my Big Tex of a stepfather for many years, so I just knew she’d understand. She did. Understand love. I, on the other hand, clearly did not.
“If all you want to do is change the person you love,” Mom said, “then … you’re not in love.”
Over the years, I’ve grown into the wisdom of my mother’s words and come to accept love for what it is: An alchemic reaction that magically combines everything that you and your lover are. Perfections and imperfections. And it transmutes all into something wondrous. Something precious. Something you’d never want to change. Something called love.
I’m grateful for my mother’s wisdom. And you know what?
I really wish she could share it with some of my fellow New Orleanians who are running around trying their damnedest to change the city they say they love; the one I know I love.
I’d like her to start with the Bywater neighbor who called the police a few weeks ago to complain about the music at Bacchanal — an aptly named establishment at the very end of Chartres Street that offers a nightly feast for the senses. NOPD shut down the music on the spot. It’s still shut down.
As my grandmother would have said, “That was an asinine call.” (Gran knew not much of love, but lots about asinine people).
For starters, anyone who moves next door to a place that has been playing live music for years and then calls the police to complain about said live music is like someone who moves next to an airport and then raises holy hell about the noise. Or someone who falls in love with a short, bald man and, upon marriage, asks him to wear lifts and get plugs.
More important, taking the music away from Bacchanal is like taking the music away from New Orleans. Music is the oxygen on which that venue — and this city — thrive.
And anyone who’s actually stepped into Bacchanal knows that. It’s the ultimate house party in this city that is, fundamentally, one big house party. Magic happens there. Alchemy happens there. Love happens there. The music, the food, the wine, the people combine to take you higher, just like Sly promised you he would.
Now, look, I know there are rules and such and that Bacchanal was not playing by all the rules when it came to permits. Which they should. Play by the rules (well, mostly).
And I know that, even when it comes to such intangible things as love and relationships, our society has chosen to give government a role in imposing rules.
P.S. While this asinine mess sorts itself out, show your love for Chris, Beau, Joaquin by heading on down to Bacchanal and making your own sweet music.