A tale of accidentally stealing an original gallery painting, getting roofied, and the getting lost in my neighborhood after being dropped off by a cab. The story only gets worse and worse when my husband, girlfriend and ultimately the police find me.
"Oh mother tell your children
Not to do what I have done
Spend your lives in sin and misery
In the House of the Rising Sun
Well, I got one foot on the platform
The other foot on the train
I'm goin' back to New Orleans
To wear that ball and chain
Well, there is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God I know I'm one"
House of the Rising Sun
Most girls night out usually starts and ends with no major catastrophes or remarkable incidents.
Most girls aren't Cadence Jane Blackstone.
Since the disturbing night to follow here in detail, Cadence, famous for her "Soundtracks of My Life" playlists, this song, "House of the Rising Sun" evokes a painful, gut wrenching memory.
The iconic song, made famous by The Animals echoes the very essence of her time in New Orleans. She immediately recognizes the famous electric guitar intro(A minor chord arpeggio) the second it starts. She rushes to change the station if possible. She absolutely do something before Eric Burdon's eerie howl and soulful lead vocal joins in....."There is...a house....in New Orleans..."
Chances are, by the time Alan Price's pulsating organ (played on a Vox Continental) sounds, Cadence is out of sight.
The song and all it's personal symbolism, is too much for her.
Cadence recalled the night of chaos in the following diary entry.
December 5, 2009
Kelly from work invited me to join her best friend all-girl birthday celebration at Corks n Canvas, the new thing to do in uptown New Orleans. A bunch of girls getting together for drinks and a painting instruction by local artists with all the themes different but each related to N’Awlins. This was new for me, I didn’t have many friends outside of work and Jim and everyone thought it would be a good idea for me to get to know some local girls. These were the Italians, strong accent, “yat” Italians but that dialect grating my nerves is for another time to mention.
After spending the day with Jim mattress shopping (five minutes exactly on each side before moving on to the next mattress- took all effing day) I agree to being dropped off on Magazine Street in uptown to join the ladies for a harmless night of painting and sipping wine. Sure. I brought a few bottles of Francis Coppola’s pinot noir and sat amongst the girls chit chatting getting our art supplies and seats for the lesson. This evening’s painting selection would be from the gallery’s House of the Rising Sun collection.
I felt uncomfortable being there I guess that I am nothing like these women and their “keeping up with the Jones’” attitude, its stupid to me. But I continue and pretend to enjoy myself. I am not an artist so I didn’t take the lesson as serious as others but I enjoyed myself and my mistakes.
After the class was over, we all gather around for a group shot of us holding our own paintings. I sat mine down on the easel next to someone else’s because I had paint on my shirt. I was definitely buzzed but not drunk. I was getting a ride home with Kelly and the birthday girl so I didn’t have to worry about driving. Its still early so we decide to all walk down Magazine Street to some bar called Monkey Hill. I had two vodka sodas. Someone got a call from the gallery that the original was missing and wanted everyone to check their paintings. I knew I didn’t take it so I didn’t bother really looking once the three of us put our paintings in the trunk before heading to the bar.
Not long later at the bar, one of the girls from the party joins us and the conversation of who took the gallery’s painting. I really didn’t care because I didn’t know any of the girls and they didn’t know me, so whomever did take the art, I wouldn’t know anyway. She eventually comes to me and says, “I thought I saw you take the painting?” in a very annoying and caddy voice. This is the part where to this day I feel someone must have slipped me a roofie. This chick wasn’t backing away either after I brushed her off. I snapped. I wanted to fight. Kelly and I walk outside to talk because I’m about to whoop this bitches ass because she accused me of taking the original painting. I get pissed and jump in a cab. I start crying as we drive away because this was such a terrible way to make a first impression, my angry and violent tendencies were not under control and I was embarrassed.
We get to Lakeview and I need the cab to stop by the ATM two blocks from our house for his fair. I wept the entire way home, I’m sure he was concerned and begged me to not get out of the cab to walk home from the ATM. I wanted a cigarette and the two block walk would’ve been just the time I need to finish before getting home to Jim and the dogs.
Now things get interesting, I got turned around with my sense of direction after leaving the ATM. This is where the night gets blurry and vivid at the same time. I begin walking, and walking and walking. I eventually realize I am lost. Lost in my own fucking neighborhood? Really? Somehow during this walk, I break the face on my iphone calling jim begging for help because I couldn’t find my way home. I was incoherent. I was mad. I was screaming at the top of my lungs in the peaceful suburban gem of a neighborhood, “somebody help me!!!!” I start crawling through yards, rolling around like child but on something like an acid trip. I couldn’t tell Jim where I was, I couldn’t read the street signs. I was crying and screaming and acting like Scarlett Ohara with the dramatic wails and sighs. Thank goodness I was wearing my Burberry trench coat because if I hadn’t been dressed as I was, I could’ve easily been mistaken for a crazy person who’d just escaped the looney bin.
During this time, Jim and Kelly are in communication. She and the birthday girl, Lisa are driving around Lakeview looking for me. They do so for a couple of hours. Here I am just getting more and more lost. I eventually realize where I am when I reach the 610 interstate and that I’m about 20 blocks in the opposite direction from my house. What the fuck. I walk back home and by this time, I am so dramatic as I crawl through the streets, yards under the bright street lights screaming and crying in the quiet, very quiet time of night….around 2-3am.
I pissed my pants, was filthy but I made it home. Jim was so worried. I will never forget my dogs’ faces, they were so concerned as if they knew some evil demon was inside me. I am still incoherent. I run to our guest bedroom and lock myself inside with the dogs. What was wrong with me? Jim was crying, he had no idea what the hell just happened to his wife. I’m crying, I couldn’t believe someone accused me of stealing the painting and then getting lost and out of control. I like drugs. I used to like them a lot but this was nothing like that. I felt like a terrible trip on mushrooms while watching Natural Born Killers and being all alone….something awful like that.
Not long after I make it home, the doorbell rings. It’s the cops. They want to see me. FUCK!!!! I was the victim in my mind, that little girl who is just trying to live in the big world sort of thing. The cops see that I’’m ok, I told them that I thought someone had given me a roofie or something like that, I just wanted them out of the house because they were freaking me out. Apparently, entire 70124 zipcode heard about me, or just heard my screams that night. Great. Just great.
The next morning I wake with a terrible headache and still wearing my pissy and muddy pants from the night before. Jim had locked himself in our bedroom and as I slowly crawl through the house, I start remembering things.. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. I was so embarrassed I couldn’t walk outside for a week with the exception of going to and from work. We were new in the neighborhood. We were Tedescos. In New Orleans that meant something which was new for me, but I would most certainly accept the perks of being associated with the family if it meant I didn’t look like a crazed psycho killer from Texas. Jim is nice as can be of course. He helps me bathe and tries to comfort me that it would all be ok.
I lay in our bed all day while he watched the Saints game. I get a text from Kelly that I can barely read b/c my iphone face was shattered that read, “Why did you lie to me?” I’m like huh? The next text read that when she and Lisa get their painting from the trunk of the car they found that mine, or rather the one I took, was the art gallery’s original. Oh holy shit. These people didn’t know me. They don’t know how absent minded and aloof of an ADD person I am. Fuck. Now I become a wreck. Everyone thinks I stole the painting because in reality, I DID take the painting but it was an accident. I didn’t give a shit about it and didn’t take it as seriously as the others, now I look like a fucking thief.
I call Kelly to beg and plead and try to explain. I felt like the biggest piece of shit. How could I turn such an innocent evening with ladies into such a cluster fuck as this?
Kelly, her kind soul had worked with me for months so she knew how absent minded I can be at times. She forgives me and tells me to just move on. I couldn’t. I was so ashamed of myself. Here I am with what every girl at that party wants in life: a nice new home in an exclusive New Orleans neighborhood with a handsome, successful, loving husband who adores me and I’m causing holy terror for no damn good reason. The girl who accused me of “stealing the painting” was right. I knew I couldn’t redeem myself with those ladies again but I made it my number one priority to do so with Kelly.
Kelly agreed to return the art gallery's original in exchange for mine. She offered to deliver it to me but I quickly told her I didn't want it - ever and that she could burn it for all I cared. Who knows where that painting is now. In my mind, it was cursed and I was it's first victim.
That was an awful time in my life and although I've unfortunately had many nights of chaos, this one is particulary significant. as not a year later, I was separated from Jim, living in an apartment with no furniture other than a mattress, my drum kit and computer and my three dogs.
I have since referred to this this night as the first nail in my coffin or the first needle pinned in the voodoo doll cursed upon me that drove me out of New Orleans and back home to Texas.