Day 13 – Easy Rider Movie Location Tour – New Orleans Louisiana.
I woke up and felt like George Hanson in a jail cell. When I looked in the mirror, I saw Keith Richards was staring at me. It’d been a long trip. Burbon Street is an interesting place.
I was to meet Graham in the lobby, but I was 10 minutes late. The plan was to go over to St. Louis Cemetery and see some scenes from the movie. Graham must have seen Keith Richards in the mirror too, he didn’t show so I figured i’d spy it out myself. I’m always up for coming back.
They filmed the acid trip scenes here. In fact, this was the first parts of the movie that they filmed, in 16mm film, instead of 35mm. If you watch the movie, you can tell the quality isn’t as good. They came down with 30 grand, no plan and Dennis Hoppers ego and the movie nearly ended before it began.
They even missed Mardi Gras by a month. If you notice in the movie, you don’t see the main Actors in the parade. They rounded up as many people as they could, and tried to re-create it.
Peter Fonda’s mother committed suicide when he was 10 years old. He didn’t know the full story or the reasons why for years. Dennis had convinced Peter to get up on that statue and talk to his mother in this scene. He didn’t want to do it. It was just way too personal, and and to this day he is both embarrassed and proud of that scene in Easy Rider. He laid it right out there.
When you watch the movie again, you can hear Peter say “shut up! Shut up!”. Dennis was a madman on the set back in those days, they’d just started filming and he’d started an argument while Peter was up there, laying his guts out on camera. He was trying to get through this, and he intermittently kept telling Dennis to shut the hell up. Tells you a lot about Peter Fonda, and his commitment to this film.
When they finished making the movie, they worked on getting a soundtrack for it. In Krotz springs, I told the story about how they’d gotten Bob Dylan to do a song for the film, and his reluctance to do it. Peter told Bob about the filming of this scene, and his own reluctance to say what he’d said. That point, was what finally convinced Bob Dylan to put a song on this film, after a few hours of debate. He scribbled down the words to “the Ballad of Easy Rider” on a piece of paper, and gave it to Peter. He told them to have Roger McGuinn of the Byrds put music to it. It was the final song of the movie. That was in 1969.
The Easy Rider graveyard/Acid trip isn’t my favorite part of this film, but I can appreciate the significance of it. It holds a lot of weight to the movie, and it’s a big part of what makes it such a classic period piece of film. It happened.
I didn’t want to get another cab. It was early, and figured I’d walk the few miles back to the hotel. I was in Nawlins, and I wanted to get a better feel for the city.
Hey, on a lighter note: This was Peter Fonda’s Escort in the movie of Easy Rider: Toni Basil. She was Hawt.
Toni Basil in 1981. Still fine, and holding it together. You know you like this song. I’m not gonna lie, I do.
I walked back to the Hotel.
We were to meet at 3 so we could ride the bikes into EagleRider and turn em in. I got some lunch, took a nap, and took in more of the day. We all met in the parking garage of the Hampton Inn French Quarter, told some stories from the night before, and rolled out in the rain for the final time. It was cool, but knowing it was over pretty much sucked.
We took a trolley car back to the Hotel, after we’d turned the bikes in. Brandon had headed out that morning with Captain America in tow, on to another tour. Steve originally had had to leave us, but in the end he was able to stay and turned us onto a good restaurant in the french quarter. After a couple of hours, we walked down the french quarter, to the Court of Two Sisters. This was a really nice place.
Tim made a pretty damn funny comment about the Blues Brothers.
I stared across the table at the people I’d ridden with for the last two weeks. I really liked these people. I’ll be honest, I’m a prick. I don’t like many. But Ana, Steve, John, Peter, Linda, Pete, Graham, Phil, Helio, Howard, June, Martine, Big D, Timmy, Bruno, Shawn, Bob, Brandon. You all made this ride fun. It was nice to share what I knew, and even better to learn what you knew.
We paid the bill, worked our way out, and said our goodbyes.
We all went our separate ways. Tim and I walked Bourbon Street, had a few beers and shot the bull. We rounded back to the bar near the hotel and talked a bit. Pete & Linda, and Paul and Martine showed up for a few.
Then it was over. I went back to the Hotel. I’d fly out in the morning.
I want to ride with these people again.