This passage was taken from the preface to A Confederacy of Dunces, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that has been embraced as an emblematic tale of New Orleans' character and distinctiveness.
In the first chapter, author John Kennedy Toole refers to Mrs. Reilly's manner of speech as "that accent that occurs south of New Jersey only in New Orleans, that Hoboken near the Gulf of Mexico." Add the fact that, according to city-data.com, Hoboken is listed at five feet above sea level, and one might come to the conclusion that we have a lot in common with our beleaguered brethren in the Big Easy.
In an effort to make things a little "Easier" down there, numerous bars and restaurants throughout Hoboken will be taking $1 donations at the door this Friday, Sept. 9 and Saturday, Sept. 10. All monies raised will be contributed to various charities to aid in the Gulf Coast's recovery from Hurricane Katrina. For an updated list of participating bars, log on to www.hudsoncurrent.com and www.hoboken-bar.net. For more information, contact Ann Wycherley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to this weekend's efforts, Oddfellows Rest Louisiana Bar and Restaurant (80 River St., Hoboken) will be holding their own fundraiser Tuesday, Sept. 13. Oddfellows, a New Orleans style restaurant featuring mouth-watering Cajun cuisine and some of the French Quarter's finest brews and cocktails, will be donating proceeds from that evening towards the relief effort.
While it may seem like there have been a lot of efforts on behalf of charity lately, perhaps this Sunday, Sept. 11, will serve as a poignant reminder of how much was done by the rest of the world when our area was in need. As countless tales of trauma, loss and tragedy pour off the TV screens and into our conscience, they share that space with our own pain from the events of four years ago, as well as the images of the tsunami last Dec. 26, and countless other incidents that continually reinforce the need for responsible, proactive leadership and the continued benevolence of our fellow man when it comes to dealing with such disasters - be they natural or orchestrated.
And while some might find it inappropriate to drink towards a fundraiser, keep in mind that this is New Orleans we're talking about - home to Mardi Gras, Jazzfest and the Museum of the American Cocktail. Anyone who's ever been there will tell you it's a town that knows how to have a good time. And while that is certainly furthest from reality today, one might raise a toast in hopes that The Crescent City will do its best to recover so that we may all enjoy its charm in the very near future.
Christopher M. Halleron, freelance writer/bitter bartender, writes a biweekly humor column for The Hudson Current and websites in the New York Metro area. He spends a lot of his time either in front of or behind the bar in Hoboken, New Jersey where his tolerance for liquor grows stronger as his tolerance for society is eroded on a daily basis. Feel free to drop him a line at email@example.com.