Dealing with demons in the Bayou; nature and a shot of Jack Daniel's

I came across a passage today that I hadn't seen for a while but that still resonates with me. It's written by the American writer, James Lee Burke. I like it because of its descriptive quality and its Louisiana imagery; so real you can smell the scent in the air and feel the sun on your face. But I also like it for another reason: it aptly describes the appeal of alcohol to someone who needs it to basically function.

Burke, a former alcoholic himself, lets his protagonist, Dave Robicheaux, do the talking in the 1989 novel Black Cherry Blues. It's interesting how he blends nature and drinking in a short, powerful paragraph.

"When these moments occurred in my adult life, I drank. I did it full tilt, too, the way you stand back from a smoldering fire of wet leaves and fling a glass full of gasoline onto the flames. I did it with Beam and Jack Daniel's straight up, with a frosted Jax on the side; vodka in the morning to sweep the spiders into their nest; four inches of wild turkey at noon to lock Frankenstein in his closet until the afternoon world of sunlight on oak and palm trees and the salt wind blowing across Lake Pontchartrain reestablished itself in a predictable fashion."

A travelogue through the bottom of a glass.

In case you were wondering what Jax is, it was a popular brand of beer once brewed in the New Orleans area.

James Lee Burke
Black Cherry Blues
Lake Pontchartrain
Burke talks about his career and past struggles with alcoholism

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