There’s no water for the ”wash the girl of your choice” service and there aren’t any girls either, but Big Daddy’s strip club on New Orleans’ Bourbon Street is getting ready to bring back erotic spectacle to the devastated city.
Friday night on Bourbon Street, usually a throbbing artery of the party-going French Quarter, was pretty grim this time around in what has become a foul-smelling ghost town partly covered with a swamp of filthy water.
Police patrol cars and military Humvees made up most of the traffic on the street.
But Big Daddy’s general manager, Saint Jones, and a band of helpers defied an evacuation order by arriving to clean up their premises in the historic French Quarter, which escaped largely unscathed from the floods.
Jones told Reuters he would open for business as soon as he could get electricity, water and dancers.
He was already had electricity from a generator, which was moving a pair of robotic woman’s legs, in stockings and pink high heels, waving invitingly on the street by the sign for Big Daddy’s.
He also had plenty of bottled water.
But his former employees had been evacuated, so his main problem was convincing girls to come to a town without services and supposedly off limits to most civilians.
If you reopen it, will they dance?
But Jones, a corpulent man with a strawberry blond beard wearing a black t-shirt reading “I’m smiling because they haven’t found the bodies yet”, foresaw few problems getting strippers.
“It shouldn’t be too hard. Everyone’s going to come back in town and want to work. You know, if you’ve got 50 dancers in Houston and they’re not making money, they’re going to spread out,” he said.
Judging from the number of military and police vehicles which stopped or slowed passing Big Daddy’s, they’ll have plenty of customers. It didn’t seem to occur to the men in uniform to enforce the evacuation order in effect on the city -- they preferred to ask when the strippers would be back.
One army Humvee, carrying a team of Puerto Rican troops, stopped so that a soldier could pose with his M16 rifle by a life-size picture of a naked blonde while his buddy took a photo.
Jones gave them vodka on the rocks in plastic cups, which they enjoyed before hopping back in the Humvee.
‘We’ll make sure they get showers’
Big Daddy’s sign advertises several attractions, including “Bottomless. Topless. Table top dancing”, and “Wash the girl of your choice.”
This last item seemed to provide a business challenge in a city where the scant running water available in some districts is infected with feces and toxic loads of bacteria.
But Jones was undaunted.
“We’ll make sure they get showers,” he said.
Of course, Jones will fail in his ambition if he is compelled to evacuate.
One of his helpers, Vietnam veteran Terry Fredricks, who has temporarily moved into the strip joint because his home is flooded, said they would only leave if they were forced to go but they would go peacefully if it came to that.
Jones maintained his optimism. Asked about the identity of his potential customers, he replied, inaccurately as it happens, “probably you.”