Local bar baron Igor Margan has been in the booze industry in New Orleans since the 1970’s.
He has a handful of bars but the iconic one is Checkpoint Charlie, which, like the old dividing ground between the Germanys, splits the difference between the Marigny and the French Quarter in New Orleans.
Situated on the corner of Decatur and Esplanade, Checkpoint offers a multitude of pleasures for the weary traveler.
Hungry: Grab a big Cajun burger and a plate of fries.
Thirsty: How about a pint of Abita Restoration Ale?
Dirty: Shuck down to your skivvies and throw your clothes in the washing machine over in the corner.
Music: REO Speedwagon is on the jukebox. And it plays extremely loud.
A recent afternoon’s visit is a pleasant one. A gentleman on the next barstool is on the run from the law having just knocked over a bank in Cincinnati.
“It’s a mite warm up there for me right now so I figured I’d hide out in the Big Easy til things cool off a little”.
Seems like a good idea to me. The talk turns to country music and he tells me about babysitting Gram Parsons in Nashville in the late 60’s.
“He was a big baby. What a waste, just threw it all away cause he couldn’t handle his drugs”.
He pulls out a weathered chapbook and shows me a few of his poems. I’m normally tempted to wipe my ass with would be writer’s chapbooks but this guy’s work is actually decent. I’m already in my cups by the time he shows me his poetry or I would reprint a little here.
Another patron catches his attention so he wanders off as a big, hairy dog strolls in.
A couple housewives belly up to the bar for a pair of boilermakers.
Soul Rebels comes on the hi fi as a janitor begins mopping the already clean floor.
Some crusty punks arrive with a big cardboard box of dirty laundry.
The sun breaks across the threshold of the front door glinting off the ammoniated water.
Just another afternoon at Checkpoint Charlie I reckon.
501 Esplanade Ave
New Orleans, LA 70116