“What’ll y’all have?” Kiss asked after greeting Jill and Alex with across-the-bar hugs and kisses on the cheek.
“I’m not sure. I like whiskey and had an old fashioned and sazerac yesterday,” I responded.
Kiss turned around toward the tiered bottles of liquor along the mirrored wall, grabbed a tumbler glass, poured a glass of Grand Marnier and slid it toward me.
“There ya go. Grand Marnier.” He said in the way you’d expect a NOLA man to say it. Soon after the shot we pounced on recently vacated seats at the bar at Jacques Imo’s Cafe in Uptown.
“Did Jill tell you what lagniappe is?” Alex, a petite blonde with chin-length hair, asked as she dug her fork into a slice of alligator cheesecake. She had the tendency to clap her hands and bounce in her chair whenever she laughed or got excited. I was told about the cheesecake on our way to the bar and was initially apprehensive about the concept. It turned out to be a delicious creamy mix of eggs, cream, parmesan cheese and small chunks of alligator.
“Lagniappe is when someone gives you a little something extra,” she explained. When you buy a dozen doughnuts, they will often give you 13.
I had ordered a bowl of duck and andouille sausage gumbo and a margarita with the amber-colored orange liqueur. I conservatively planned on gaining 7 pounds after eating my way through the Crescent City, but hadn’t factored lagniappe into that estimation. Shortly after our dinners arrived, spinach salads with fried oysters were placed in front of us. Then Kiss said something to one of the waiters and a plate of mini garlic cornbread muffins arrived.
Satiated with the cajun treats I asked Kiss about the origin of his name.
“Well,” he began his tale, “my mom and dad were at a Kiss concert in 1976 at The Warehouse and my mom’s water broke,” he paused. “And here I am,” he shrugged his shoulders.
He rolled up his sleeves displaying tattoos of Starchild, The Demon, Spaceman and Catman. Gesturing toward his upper arm he said, “I want to get more over Christmas.”
The gumbo could’ve used some of Mawmaw’s okra or a roux to thicken it, but I was in lagniappe mode where all I wanted to do was bounce in my chair and clap my hands.