Barbershop Trio


This Story Time post is a throwback in many ways. My days as a Quarter Rat are long gone. I haven’t been to the French Quarter since the lockdown. There are too many unvaccinated tourists from adjoining states for my taste.

Part of my germ avoidance is that I no longer get my hair cut by the barber in this story. I go to Dr. A’s hairdresser who’s a lovely woman and does a good job. I miss my former barber, but COVID changed everything. At the risk of sounding like George Costanza, it’s not you, it’s me.

My friend Chef Chris has a new gig in the Quarter, so my boycott is bound to end at some point. I’ll wear a mask before entering. It will help kill the smell of the gutters as well as the gutter punks.

This post was taken from a Saturday Odds & Sods segment entitled Adrastos-Zelig Encounter Time. It means I met someone famous at the barber shop six years ago. The entire post is worth a read: it’s focused on a day at Jazz Fest.

Let’s set the Wayback Machine to 4/30/2016:

I’ve been going to the same barber in the Quarter since Katrina. I was badly in need of a haircut on Wednesday. I might not be able to grow much on the top, but it gets scraggly and even shaggy in the back. You’re probably wondering where this story is going. Here’s the pay-off such as it is.

My barber worked on Oliver Stone’s JFK when it filmed in New Orleans. His primary job was doing Tommy Lee Jones’ hair and tending to his Clay Shaw wig. The two have stayed in touch over the years and I’ve heard that Tommy Lee stops by for a trim, shave, and chat when he’s in town. But I was never there when TLJ visited until this week. He was the head after me, so I hung out awhile and bantered whilst his face was lathered. Bantered and lathered is the name of my next band.

The barber knows I’m a film buff-even if I loathed JFK (the film, not the President)-and that I’d get a kick out of chatting with TLJ. I did. I asked him why he was in town, and he replied in his clipped delivery: “Location hunting, eating, maybe some Jazz Festing.”

I was surprised about the location hunting and said: “What? No horses in this one?”

“I’m glad someone saw the pictures I’ve directed,” he looked at the barber and said, “This guy’s okay.”

The most amusing moment of my brief encounter with Tommy Lee Jones was when he asked the barber, “You’re not voting for that asshole Trump, are you?”

“No, I think I’ll vote for the lady,” he replied in his silky Cajun accent. The barber has an announcer’s voice, he should do voice overs instead of sweeping shorn locks off the floor. Btw, he told me it was okay to write about this but to keep his name out of it. I honored his request. Besides, the barber sounds better than his name anyway. It has a slight hair of mystery…

My only regret is that I didn’t get a picture or do my TLJ impression. Actually, I’m glad that I skipped the latter. As to the former, it would have been deeply uncool and make me feel like a paparazzo or stalker. I don’t like feeling like a stalker: I hate celery…

That concludes the second act of Tommy Lee Jones weekend.

The 2022 last word goes to Nirvana: