On Thursday, Xy and I went on down to Spanish Plaza, caught the tail end of Dennis Quaid and the Sharks and watched The Big Easy on the big screen. (I wrote about this event in advance, but remember, I am not a marketing tool.) It was fun in a cheesy way. As Chris Martel so aptly explains, bad is the new good.
It was interesting to see the film again now that I live here in New Orleans. The one thing I hear most locals cite against this flick is the accents. Anyone familiar with the area will have a hard time getting past the fact that virtually every New Orleanian in the film speaks with a bad Cajun accent. You don’t have to go far from the city to find people who talk like that (sort of), but it’s quite rare in the city itself. It’s disconcerting to hear people talking with a country accent in what’s supposed to be a gritty urban drama. But it dawned on me that I never realized that when I watched this in 1999, before I moved here, and in fact most of the country wouldn’t know or care that the accents are wrong. The rest of the country just knows people talk funny down there. Honestly, The Big Easy has many problems that are bigger than the accents. They are merely symptomatic of a general sloppiness. It’s a pretty weak film, but like the event itself — sort of fun in a cheesy way if you don’t take it too seriously.
The crowd was big enough that it was hard to see what was going on, and since I don’t know much about Vodoun, the whole thing left me and Xy and her visiting parents rather mystified. We arrived late and left early but still observed a good hour and half of ritual chanting. At least my in-laws got a good story to take back to Indiana.
There is actually a tenuous connection between these two events. The footbridge where the ritual takes place is also featured in The Big Easy. Ellen Barkin jogs across it and then gets harassed by a cop.
Well, it seemed significant when I started writing this.