They came to New Orleans last weekend in their string ties, bee hive hairdos, cowboy boots, and dour looks. It was not a happy crowd at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. One observer noted that it was like being at a lemon eating contest.Sure as hell no one came to have a good time. Why did they pick New Orleans?"
A veteran political reporter from the Times-Picayune noted that the back story might be more interesting and revealing than covering the actual meeting. "I knew what was going to happen inside the meetings and I felt I could get more human interest if I did the back stories." He interviewed merchants, cab drivers, bellmen, waitresses, and owners of night spots. He reports as follows:
"This was not a good weekend for those folks here in The Big Easy that depend on the tourist trade for their living. Waitresses, cab drivers, and bellmen all said it was the worst tipping crowd they had ever seen. One bellman reported that after he took several heavy bags to a room, opened up the shades, filled the water bottle, and asked if there was anything else he could do, the male guest gave him a nickel and told him to "keep the change." The bellman gave the man a sour look and a sarcastic, "thank you," whereupon the man told him "go to school, get a job, and don't always be looking for a handout!" The bellman replied that he had a PHD from the Wharton School of Finance and this was the only job he could get to support his family. The man gave him another nickel and told him to go to church.
In another instance, an owner of a club that specializes in female impersonators reported that a very large conventioneer from Texas came to the club, became very intoxicated and came on to one of the performers. At two in the morning the couple lefts for the man's private jet and a quick trip to Las Vegas to get married. The club owner said, "Man, I would love to be a fly on the wall in that honeymoon suite after the ceremony. Wait till that ole boy finds out that Billie Mae is really Bubba Bob and an ex-linebacker for the New Orleans Saints. Talk about "Finding Love In All the Wrong Places!"
Another old time city resident stated, "It was like the entire city was constipated while they were here. I never have seen such discomfort on the faces of folks supposedly having fun. It was like," he paused,"like they were all bilious."