It’s my own fault that I was attacked by an alligator this morning.
I was having gumbo for lunch with Frau Schmitt at Liuzza’s-by-the-Track this afternoon when I told her I was attacked by an alligator. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier?” she asked. Because I wanted something to talk about at lunch.
The alligator isn’t really my nemesis. I’m more curious about him than anything else. Remember when I saw the skunk ape way back in the recesses of City Park? I’ve been haunting a different part of the park recently, another remote corner where few people venture. For the past week or so there’s been an alligator in the same spot.
Here’s a picture of him that I took on Saturday:
He would only show me his eyes and the tip of his snout on Saturday, and that’s usually the most I’ve seen of him. He floats about three or four feet off shore. When I walk close, he’ll turn toward me but I’ve never been able to disturb him until today.
I should interject here that this isn’t anything that any of you folks at home should be trying.
I get close and he turns. I back away. We look at each other for awhile. I lose interest and walk away. This has been our routine for the past week. Today was different.
Today when he turned, he swam a little closer and his body was out of the water. He was standing on a ridge of mud below the waterline. When the tide is low it looks like he wallows there. His head and back were out of the water. Well, well, a photo op, I opined to myself. I took his picture and then had the bright idea of moving closer.
While I was fiddling with my camera, the alligator came straight at me. We were about six feet from each other, then, the next thing I know, we were about thee feet from each other. When people say alligators are fast, they aren’t lying. He lunged at me with his mouth wide open. I could see this palette, his tongue and all his teeth for a moment, then he stopped on the shore and closed his jaws, his snout resting on the mud.
What did I do? I hightailed it out of there, that’s what I did.
When I had finished telling Frau Schmitt my story, here’s what I said: “That was the highlight of my day, so far.”
She informed me that this was probably not the most well thought out of my escapades, and she is usually right about these things. “Have you learned your lesson?” she asked me.
We all know the answer to that question.
So far, nothing has replaced my alligator attack as being the highlight of my day. There are still a couple of hours of light left, however, and one never knows what will happen next in New Orleans.
The chance of you seeing an alligator outside the zoo or the aquarium are about as likely as you seeing a skunk ape. Both tend to stay away from the more populated parts of the city. An alligator was sighted a few weeks ago in Bayou St. John, which is the body of water at one end of our street. The body of water at the other end of our street is the Mississippi River. If you stay far enough away, alligators will ignore you. They live in a reptilian consciousness all their own. Very little perturbs them.
To hear more about my adventures, and make some of your own, please consider staying with us when you visit New Orleans. La Belle Esplanade has just been named “An Inn of Distinction.” We’ve always felt that way.
À votre santé,
La Belle Esplanade
…where every morning is a curated breakfast salon.
July 15, 2016: The day after Bastille Day was even more exciting than yesterday!