When I was in grad school at the University of New Orleans, Gonzo journalist and all-around wild man, Hunter S. Thompson allegedly visited the liberal arts building and stole a typewriter. The story goes thusly: my friend, Jennifer, was working in the English Department offices when Thompson burst into the room and in rapid-fire speech, explained how he absolutely needed a typewriter. This was the new millennium. No one used typewriters anymore, but Jennifer found him an old model electric and he spirited away with it in his arms. Less than a year later, he was dead. He never gave the typewriter back.
That kind of exploit, the mad, wild tomfoolery that takes no prisoners (but perhaps takes any number of substances), fits in perfectly with an aspect of New Orleans literary culture. We’re the city of Tennessee Williams’ louche observations, of Charles Bukowski antics, of John Kennedy O’Toole’s grating Ignatius. New Orleans offers myriad ways for the down and out, Henry Miller type to make his or her way. However, there’s also another, more genteel side to the city’s literary culture.
Sunday, June 13, the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society will host its annual fundraiser, Juleps in June. This year’s event will be held at number 7 Audubon Place in a beautiful Uptown residence. Guests will sip juleps from silver cups and celebrate the literary arts. Juleps in June benefits the Faulkner Society and allows the organization to present the Words and Music Festival each Fall. I attended last year’s Juleps in June as a guest of one of my friends and found it beautifully civilized. Tickets to the event are $175.
If you’re unable to attend, consider dedicating the evening to your own literary soiree. Make some mint juleps and invite friends over for a discussion about books and writing. Worlds could even collide if your Thompson-esque friends joined the fray. Just make sure they bring the typewriter for when inspiration strikes.
• 2 oz. bourbon
• 3-4 sprigs fresh spearmint
• spritz soda water
• simple syrup (mix 1 part granulated sugar with 1 part water over low heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved, cool and set aside)
• crushed ice
• powdered sugar
In the bottom of a glass, muddle mint sprigs with a spritz of club soda. Add crushed ice to ¾ of the glass. Pour in bourbon. Top with powdered sugar and a mint sprig.