It’s nighttime, not as late as it feels, though, and I’m standing outside leaning against a dirty floodlit wall talking with the smokers. A man walks up, cowboy hat, leather vest, and scuffed boots, ignores the others and addresses me, asks what this bar is like, and I tell him it’s a decent place. I walk inside with him. He orders a beer, I order a beer, we set to talking hunched around the distant corner of the bar. He’s from Texas, Hispanic looking, named Hank or Harry or something else that gets lost in the din of the room. A musician, he wrote a song that’s gonna be famous, he sings a few bars, I nod approvingly though I can’t say I’ve ever heard it.
We talk about random things. Rents are going crazy in New Orleans. A couple of years ago he lost his lease and has lived in a van since then. He looks good for a guy living in a van. We talk about him, we talk about me. I married a Cajun woman, he wants to marry a Cajun woman too, he says, because he wants to start Cajano culture: half Cajun French; half Texas-Hispanic (Tejano). Think of the food, he says, think of the music. So I do. I think of the way the cuisines could merge and compliment each other. I think Cajun fiddles could use a trumpet and that accordions could always be in higher demand. I think about the way cultures collide and mix constantly, spinning off new cultures and traditions, some survive and some don’t, some press on in tiny enclaves, and some exist only in spirit. I think about the spirit of Cajano South Louisiana, yet to be summoned, but somehow, comfortingly, inevitable.