Sidebar: I grew up on the Gulf Coast, so this is a topic near to my heart <3
Several years into their life together after the fall, Will takes Hannibal on vacation in New Orleans:
is completely enamored, of course, with seeing the place where Will
spent his formative years. One night, they get a little tipsy on milk
punch on the balcony of a hotel bar, and he begins drawing long and
increasingly absurd comparisons between his youth in Florence and Will’s
youth here, where all the cultures and ghosts of the Americas meld.
Will tunes him out after several minutes, but enjoys watching the
sensual glow of the streetlights on his lips as they form around the
Hannibal takes to Sazeracs, ordering one at the beginning
of every meal, and insisting that Will select the bourbon for him. He
loves encouraging his boy’s palate, experiencing what Will would choose
for himself, tasting Will through the bitter anise and tart lemon. Will
enjoys pulling him to the men’s room hallway between courses and getting his own taste.
They sit on the sidewalks of the French Quarter, listening to makeshift
jazz bands in the street, collectives of strangers who come together to create a unified melody. Will explains the
history of music in this part of the world, and Hannibal is rapt with
attention, studying their faces, their fingers, their mouths, his mind ticking away creating spaces for all this new knowledge.
drives them out of the city and into the bayous, where they buy a small
old motorboat with an envelope of cash. He takes Hannibal up the
winding waterways and into the Atchafalaya, skimming through the
towering bald cypress trees. They park for a while in the basin,
absorbing the ghostly silence, pierced by bird calls and the occasional
faraway splash. Will points out a floating alligator, its single open
eye the only thing distinguishing it from a log. This sets Hannibal off
on a tangent about predators and prey, at which point Will decides
they’ve had enough nature for one day and turns the boat back around.
the way back to the dock, they stop at a small shack at a makeshift
pier for lunch. The handpainted sign outside reads CATFISH - GULF SHRIMP
- GATOR. Will speaks to the woman behind the counter in fluent Cajun,
both of them laughing at the face Hannibal makes as he tries to
understand the broken French. When Will comes to the table, he has a
large mixed basket for them to share, full of freshly caught seafood
fried in cornmeal, with hush puppies and red beans on the side. It’s
greasy and wonderful, and Will decides he’s never seen anything better
than Hannibal eating with his hands and wiping them off with paper
In the mornings, Will takes Hannibal to the French
Quarter for chicory coffee and fresh, hot beignets. Hannibal never fails
to end up with powdered sugar all over his nose, and Will never fails
to laugh at him for it before kissing it off.
They go on long
walks through the above-ground cemeteries, reading the names and final
wishes of people long gone. Hannibal stops often to touch and admire the
statuaries, and to wonder aloud about the lives of the people who chose
them. Will jokes that he’d shudder to think what Hannibal would choose
for their joint gravesite, and Hannibal gets an odd, far-away look in
his eyes before dragging him close and kissing him in a way that’s much too obscene for a churchyard.
The tall Italian cypresses towering between the Haunted Mansion and Splash Mountain had previously lined the entrance of Tomorrowland.
They were moved to their present location in 1967 when the new Tommorrowland was unveiled. Bill Evans, Disneyland’s head landscape architect for many years, thought that they would suit the Mansion’s landscaping. His idea was perfect because cypresses often symbolize death.