TR (ANNC): A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets. But on the 12th floor of the Acme building, one man is trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions: Guy Noir, Private Eye.
GK: It was October, and the nation was enjoying beautiful fall weather and yet a lot of people had their underwear in a twist and for some reason there was a rash of ultimatums. Rush Limbaugh held his breath until he turned blue, demanding an end to the entitlement program known as Christmas. (TR RUSH: There is a culture of dependency on Santa Claus and we've got to stop it. (HE HOLDS BREATH) It made it awkward to take public transportation because you never knew when the bus would pull over (SFX) and the driver would get up and say----- (FN: This bus is going nowhere until you people buy some cookies my kids are selling to raise money for a school band trip.) ----- It had become standard operating procedure for a lot of people. ---- (SS: I will bring your ham and eggs over easy just as soon as I see what sort of tip you plan to leave---- come on----- put it down on the counter.) ----- You just never knew when someone would hold you up and demand ransom.
(FN ON P.A.: This is your pilot speaking. I know this flight is supposed to go to Dallas but me and the co-pilot are concerned about the future of our country and we want all of you to say the Pledge of Allegiance out loud while Kristine holds that little flag on a stick—all eyes up front--otherwise him and me are going to strap these parachutes to our backs and out the door we go.)
GK: All of that anger and tension was why I accepted a job in New Orleans, the Big Easy, when a man called me up one morning.
FN: Mr. Noir, it's Benny Bon-Tom down in New Orleans. Listen. We've got a Vampire Festival going on down here and ---- look, I don't have anything against vampires personally, but they make the tourists uneasy, and I wonder if you could come down and run em out of town.
GK: Sounds good, Mr. Bon Tom. (STING) So I got on a plane and (SFX) flew to New Orleans. The plane came in low over water and touched down (SFX) and the moment it did right away people turned to each other and said hello.
ALL (CACOPHONY OF VOICES):
Hey, How aw ya?
Hey, how ya doin?"
Welcome to New Orleans.
Good to see ya.
GK: Took a cab into downtown.
TR: That ain't downtown, bra. That is the uptown side of Canal and the riverside of Rampart.
GK: Okay. Take me there. North Rampart Street.
TR: The river curves around so we don't say North or South, we say uptown or downtown.
GK: Okay, but on the address it says North Rampart.
TR: Whatever. So where you from, bra?
TR: Where dat?
GK: Up river.
TR: Baton Rouge?
GK: Farther upriver.
TR: St. Lou?
TR: Oooooo. Yikes. Gets cold up there, no?
TR: Why you live up there anyway? (PAUSE) Can't think of a reason, can you?
GK: I thought of so many, it was hard to come up with just one.
GK: I know people there.
TR: If you lived in New Orleans, you'd know twice as many people in half the time.
GK: You get major floods up here.
TR: One. In a hundred years. That's about two inches per year.
GK: How come you bury people above ground here?
TR: Cause we like em. Don't want to forget em. Want to check on em and make sure they're okay.
GK: How come your food is so spicy?
TR: So we know we're alive. You lose your taste buds, that's the first sign of death.
GK: He left me off on Canal Street and I could see where the river was (BOAT HORN) and the boats seemed to be above street level, just a high levee holding them back. (CITY AMBIENCE, TRAFFIC, ETC.) I got to the French Quarter and it was crowded. (HORSES CLIP CLOPPING PAST) (TR BARKER IN PASSING: No cover, no minimum, the show is continuous the show never stops. Hurra hurra hurra) (STRIPTEASE DRUM) (SS SQUEALS), (FN: "Hey, how you? Gud ta see youuuuuu."), the sidewalks were crowded so you had to walk in the street, (TAP DANCER) (SS: How you doin Suga?) (TR PREACHER, IN PASSING: And we read in God's Holy Word, God is watching! Yes he is!) (JUKE BOX, IN PASSING) It was a carnival in itself. (RECORDED JAZZ) TR BARKER: Right in this way, we got oysters, we got crab cakes, we got your blackened catfish, we got your alligator steaks....) HORSE CLIP CLOPS..
GK: The vampire festival was in the Garden District, in a neighborhood of old Victorian mansions, dark inside, with big yards overgrown with vegetation. Sort of spooky, the thought of weird creatures flying around sucking blood out of people-----
TR (VAMPIRE): I'm sorry---- were you talking to me?
GK: No. Just muttering. --
TR (VAMPIRE): Greetings.
GK: Is this the Vampire Festival?
TR (VAMPIRE): It isn't the Camp Fire Girls Festival! Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho. But if a Camp Fire Girl came, I would read her a story. Heh heh heh heh. -----Hello moon, hello gloom. Hello shadows in the room. Hello darkness, hello drape, hello man with long black cape.
GK: So you want me to run the vampires out of town, huh? Mr. Bon Tom.
FN: Well, don't get me wrong. New Orleaneans are very fond of our vampires.
GK: I noticed that. Lot of hugging and high fives going on.
FN: It's a very accepting culture, New Orleans. And vampires do not bite people from here----
FN: No. Our blood is too spicy. Too much garlic. They go for people from up north. People like yourself. So that's why we need to keep them under control.
GK: I'll do my best. (STING) There was a Vampire cabaret, and a young monster sat at the piano and sang.....
TR (VAMPIRE, SINGS):
As I take my cape off 'n climb into my coffin,
I'm lonesome now that we're apart.
I'm crazy for you, so darling be true
And don't pound a stake in my heart.
Are you lonesome tonight? Would you like me to bite
You there on your throat and your lips?
My eyes are aglow. I hope you're Type O.
And I'll carry you off to my crypt.
SS: Excuse me. Are you the security man?
GK: Yes, ma'am.
SS: I am looking for my husband.
GK: What does he look like?
SS: He is extremely pale and he doesn't show a reflection in a mirror.
GK: You're married to a vampire?
SS: You seem surprised.
GK: A vampire?
SS: Why not? You're a Minnesotan. Each to his own.
GK: But a vampire???
SS: We have a stable, committed, loving relationship. So what's wrong?
GK: How did you even meet?
SS: I was sleepwalking in the garden.
GK: But he drinks blood.
SS: Drinking blood is less dangerous than drinking alcohol. Plus there's protein in it.
GK: But he hasn't bitten you yet?
SS: No, because I'm from here. But he would if I asked him to.
GK: Why don't you?
SS: I can't afford to give up the day job.
GK: So which way did he go?
SS: That way. Downriver.
GK: But you're pointing north. The river doesn't run north.
SS: In New Orleans, believe me, it's possible.
GK: So I walked off looking for a vampire (TRAFFIC, PASSERSBY) and I found him a few minutes later on Bourbon Street, terrified, as people took his picture. (CROWD)
SS: Smile! Look this way!
FN: Hey, let's see your teeth.
SS: Hold your cape up.
FN: Look this way! Over here.
SS: Leer at me. Just give me a nice leer. (BRIDGE)
GK: I led him off into an alley and we sat down on a couple of garbage cans. (SFX) ---- You okay?
TR (VAMPIRE): No. I'm very unhappy.
GK: Well, it's not a great way of life, from what I understand.
TR (VAMPIRE): I was a recovering vampire. I was off blood for almost a year. Every day I said the Vampire Prayer. ----God grant me the opportunity to eat my vegetables; the courage to not drink human blood; and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.
GK: And what happened then?
TR (VAMPIRE): The Affordable Care Act.
GK: You mean Obamacare....
TR (VAMPIRE): Yes. The more people get health care, the more people will be on medications. And I hate the taste of medications in their blood. Yechhhh. Ptui.
GK: So you don't have health insurance?
TR (VAMPIRE): I do. So I can make withdrawals at ---- the Blood Bank.
GK: Aha. Well, let me tell you how you can fight Obamacare. Join together with others in the vampire caucus and shut down the festival and go down in your crypts and refuse to come out until Obamacare is cancelled.
TR (VAMPIRE): You think that can work?
GK: That's what they're doing in Washington.
TR (VAMPIRE): Well, I'll give it a try.
GK: Why not? (VAMPIRE FLIES OFF WITH A CRY, WINGS FLAPPING) So that's how I drove vampires from New Orleans. The city didn't really miss them. So much else going on here. A rather joyful city. Come, stay as long as you like, and know that when you leave, the party is not going to end.
TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets but one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions.....Guy Noir, Private Eye.
Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).