Monsters and Dust

Table of ContentsBlogArchiveAboutLinks

Chapter 3: Cayetano Ferrer






It had been a little over a year since Katrina hit when I drove into New Orleans. Being on the road for a few months can start to do strange things to your identity. The whole cliché of 'finding yourself' on the road seems totally off… 'losing yourself' is more appropriate. The contemporary person in search for their self might just as fruitlessly enter their name into a search engine. When I searched “Cayetano Ferrer” sometime around 2002, I found that I was a fairly well known bartender at a bar in New Orleans in the 1800’s. The place was called The Old Absinthe House,xli and my specialty was a drink I invented there called the Absinthe Frappe. The drink is a simple icy blend of absinthe, soda, sugar, and a dash of anisette. Absinthe consumption up until then was an esoteric ritual of slowly dripping cold water through a cube of sugar resting on a slotted spoon into the spirit, taking up to 15 minutes. Cayetano made absinthe into an accessible and unpretentious party drink. Everyone loved it.  

The history of Cayetano Ferrer (the bartender) had been at the top of the search results for years. Slowly I began to dominate the first few pages. By the time I made it to New Orleans there was hardly a mention of the bartender anymore, and I visited the still-open Absinthe House as a kind of atonement for smothering that history. I ordered an Absinthe Frappe.xlii The bartender asked for my I.D. to check my age. As she started to give it back I stopped her hand and asked her to look at the name, which made her more unsettled than surprised. It was an awkward moment: my drink came but with some absinthe substitute, and a loud TV tuned to the sports channel drowned out the few conversations happening in the bar. It wasn’t how I remembered it.