Same as it’s always been.
I got turned onto Harvey, Louisiana by seeing Joe Clay play a few years back at the Ponderosa Stomp. Clay’s an old rockabilly hero who never got famous and had to turn to driving a school bus to earn a living in Gretna, a town near Harvey where Clay lived when he put down cuts like ’16 Chicks’ and ‘Duck Tail’
Outside of Joe Clay, Harvey is known for UFO sightings, the Boomtown Casino, a large feral hog population and the Platinum Club where rapper C-Murder killed fan Steve Thomas after a concert back in 2002.
C-Murder’s doing a life sentence in Angola or ‘partying on the Ponderosa’ as James Booker would say.
The Platinum Club has long since shuttered but if you’re interested in tippling a cold High Life Peggy Sue’s Lounge is a fine place to spend an afternoon.
The bar is empty.
The lone worker enthusiastically greets me and is clearly eager for some companionship when she sits my yellow belly in front of me. We talk about the glory days of Harvey (they’re long since gone) Joe Clay (whom she’s never heard of) and what goes on in town on Sunday nights (there’s a new Mexican club nearby that turns into a disco on the Lord’s night and it is packed!)
I ask after her favorite po boy shop and she sighs and informs me that since she got divorced she rarely eats out and instead takes her meals at home. The light fades in through the blinds on the windows.
A couple walk in so I don’t feel guilty when I make my way out the same door I came in.
I have a deep love for faded, old blue collar bars where cold beer’s a dollar fifty, George Strait’s on the jukebox and the lady bartender’s got a story to tell that sounds like a Jimmy Rabbit song. If that’s your bag and you’re around New Orleans run by Peggy Sue’s Lounge, burn through a pack of Camels and share some heartbreak with your barkeep. That’s how they do it in Harvey, Louisiana.