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A New Orleans countdown to the end of the world

For those of you who live in caves or on Mars and haven’t heard (and if you do, you aren’t reading this), we regret to inform you that the world will end tomorrow.

This we have on good authority from the ancient Mayans, who haven’t been around in a few thousand years, but were smart enough to create a preColumbian Mesoamerican long count calendar that would make sure they stayed famous 5,125 years later (hear that, Nostradamus?).

That calendar ends tomorrow, although “tomorrow” is a relative term when you have 24 international time zones. I tried to Google when, exactly, the Maya calendar screeches to a halt in New Orleans, but immediately got into explanations with weird words (b’ak’tun, uinals) and numbers with decimal points (

I don’t do decimal points.

So, when someone at a recent NolaVie editorial meeting said they’d heard that the Mayan calendar ends at around 10 a.m. on Friday, that was scientific enough for our planning purposes — which involve making sure that the last 24 hours of life in the Big Easy are spent fully and well.

To that end (so to speak), here is the proposed Mayan End of the World countdown from the NolaVie staff, as refined and erudite a group as any you’ll find at other think tanks in town, like the Idea Village or Chewbacchus headquarters.

Read carefully, plan your own itinerary, and act quickly. You really don’t have a lot of time to ponder this.

– 24 hours (Thursday, 10 a.m.)
Drive at 40 mph through the speed camera at the corner of Prytania Street and Henry Clay Avenue, while hanging your head out the window and laughing maniacally at the lens. Eat a bag of Zapp’s Crawtator chips.

– 23 hours (Thursday, 11 a.m.)
Stop at Creole Creamery on Prytania and take the Tchoupitoulas Challenge. Tell them you’ll come back and pay for the eight scoops of ice cream and eight toppings “tomorrow.” Eat a banana split on the way out.

– 22 hours (Thursday, 12 p.m.)
Keep from throwing up by heading home to the couch for an hour to watch highlights of the 2009 Saints Super Bowl win. (You have the option of continuing this for the rest of your short life; if so, stop reading and replay that second-half onside kick.). Eat a Hubig’s pie if you can find one.

– 21 hours (Thursday, 1 p.m.)
Drive at 50 mph through the speed camera at the corner of Jackson and Prytania avenues, while hanging your head out the window and laughing maniacally at the lens. Eat a whole muffaletta.

– 20 hours (Thursday, 2 p.m.)
A quick pub crawl here may keep you from pondering eternity (it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?): Our choices are a Pimm’s Cup at Napoleon House, a Ramos Gin Fizz at the Sazerac Bar and a Pimp Juice drive-through daiquiri (in a half-gallon milk jug!). Eat a fried potato po-boy.

– 19 hours (Thursday, 3 p.m.)
Go to City Hall and leave a message for Mayor Mitch Landrieu that says, “Really? You have had us in construction hell for the last weeks, days, hours and now we find out the world is going to end? Really? Eat a piece of king cake.

– 18 hours (Thursday, 4 p.m.)
Hit the parking lot at American Can for one last trip to the Crescent City Farmer’s Market for a few only-in-Louisiana products like Plaquemines Parish blood oranges or brown jasmine rice grits. This is generally pretty healthy stuff, so eat an entire king cake.

– 19 hours (Thursday, 5 p.m.)
Head to Jackson Square for a quick palm reading — not to learn your future, because you don’t have one, but to get a little inside info on the mo’ better place we’re headed to. Eat a couple of sticks of Roman candy.

– 18 hours (Thursday, 6 p.m.)
Getting hungry? Throw out the calorie counter and make your dinner entree a stack of bacon pralines from Cochon Butcher in the Warehouse District.

– 17 hours (Thursday, 7 p.m.)
Swing through Mid-City for a quick stop at Voodoux Tattoos (created by a freak meteor landing in tattoo artist Juju’s back yard) to get that body art you’ve always wanted but your mother scared you into avoiding (don’t rush — it’s open til midnight). Maybe artist Lirette’s “This too shall pass?” design? Eat the last bacon praline.

– 16 hours (Thursday, 8 p.m.)
Drive at 60 mph through the speed camera on Chartres in the Bywater while hanging your head out the window, laughing maniacally, and giving the camera the bird. Eat three Popeye’s biscuits (you just burned a lot of calories).

– 13 hours (Thursday, 9 p.m.)
Spend an hour at Rock ‘n Bowl’s weekly zydeco night, boogying to accordionist Geno Delafose. He’s from Eunice, where they teach em’ young how to play right. Eat a bag of cracklins’.

– 12 hours (Thursday, 10 p.m.)
If the world were ending on a Tuesday, we’d steer you to Rebirth at Maple Leaf. And Tipitina’s is dark tonight, though it’s worth a drive-by at the corner of Napoleon and Tchopitoulas for a farewell salute. Then keep going to the French Quarter for a brass-band finale at Preservation Hall, with the Survivors Brass Band. While you wait to get in, eat a fried oyster po-boy, dressed.

– 11 hours (Thursday, 11 p.m.)
Hey, you’re already on St. Peter Street, and who could check out without one last hurricane at Pat O’s? Or, maybe, given the circumstances, a couple. Eat some hot wings.

– 10 hours (Friday, 12 a.m.)
The Original Dungeon Bar opens at midnight, and we don’t know about you, but we’ve never actually dropped in on this loud, allegedly haunted bar where, according to Lonely Planet, some of the bouncers have filed their teeth into vampire fangs. Now is that New Orleans or what? Eat some sugared pecans while you wait for the Dragon’s Blood you ordered.

– 9 hours (Friday, 1 a.m.)
Wander downriver to Frenchmen Street, and savor the sounds wafting from the open doors of dba, the Spotted Cat, the Blue Nile, Cafe Brasil… Oh, man, we hate to leave this world. Eat a slice of peanut butter pie.

– 8 hours (Friday, 2 a.m.)
Double back to Cafe du Monde, where you can sit and mull over The Big Questions as the end of the world approaches. Did the Mayans have trombones or football? Did they celebrate Mardi Gras and corner the market on glitter? And if not, who would want to live 5,125 years ago? Eat six orders of beignets and that last bacon praline.

– 7 hours (Friday, 3 a.m.)
Head home without dusting off the powdered sugar and read the cliff notes, at least, to “A Confederacy of Dunces,” the city’s one must-read before you die. Work on an Ignatius J. Reilly approach to the End Times: That is, channel your disdain. Eat a lucky dog.

– 6 hours (Friday, 4 a.m.)
Roll Ray Nagin’s lawn. No, wait, he moved to Dallas. So roll Aaron Broussard’s lawn, in homage to those of us who once believed in our leaders, and in defiance of all those leaders who let us down. Sit on the lawn with a megaphone and repeat these phrases: “Cranes in the sky,” “Chocolate City,” “Heckofajob, Brownie,” “Henry L. Mencken 1951” and “The cash in the freezer is not mine,” all while eating more lucky dogs.

– 5 hours (Friday, 5 a.m.)
Grab a costume and a six-pack of Abita Amber and hit the streets for one last second line, knocking on doors as you go. The world might be ending, but in New Orleans it’s just an excuse for a party. Pass out moon pies as you go.

– 4 hours (Friday, 6 a.m.)
Start the morning with a drive down Canal to the Blue Dot for a dozen maple-glazed bacon donuts and some takeout donut bread pudding with white chocolate sauce. Eat a bacon donut.

– 3 hours (Friday, 7 a.m.)
Ride the streetcar nude, just because you can. Eat a wedding cake snoball with condensed milk and whipped cream.

– 2 hours (Friday, 8 a.m.)
Park at an empty CBD parking meter, get out of your car and laugh maniacally as the meter maid approaches. Eat four macarons.

– 1 hour (Friday, 9 a.m.)
Drive at 70 mph through the speed camera on Poydras at Carondelet while hanging your head out the window, laughing maniacally, and tearing up the parking ticket you just got. Eat a pound of chocolate caramel turtles.

– 0 hours (Friday, 10 a.m.)
Hmm. Will it be a meteor strike, a la Juju (see above)? Or an infestation of immortal blood-sucking creatures, a la Ann Rice or “The Passage”? Or one last Cat 5, sweeping in from the Gulf? Do we care? No. Because those Mayans have ruled the great beyond for 5,125 years, and now it’s our turn. Are there bacon pralines in heaven? We think yes.



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