Saturday, September 13, 2008

ruthie, the duck lady

ruthie the duck lady has died. in a city that breeds characters, ruthie was a show all her own. she was a french quarter icon, gliding about on roller skates in a bridal gown, ducks trailing along behind her. my first encounter with her occurred shortly after i moved to new orleans. i frequented the much talked about port of call and sat down at the bar for a drink. i was maybe two sips into my beer when this tiny little thing of a woman came blowing in with a menagerie of ducks, all feathers and waddles. she took one look at me and began to hurl obscenities at me because i was sitting on her stool. i stood up ready to make some protest when the bartender explained to me that this was ruthie and THAT was most definitely her spot. i moved down one stool and she began screaming at me again and continued screaming until i had provided sufficient room for her and all her ducks and made it right by buying her a drink. now that is quite a coup. that may very well have been the day that i was lost to new orleans. david richmond said of ruthie, "she's not out of touch with reality; she's just not interested." there really isn't anything better to say of ruthie than that.

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