I never intended to visit a psychic while in New Orleans.
When you go to the city renowned for its Mardi Gras celebration, you expect certain things: debauchery, tourists, and yes, maybe some voodoo. I hadn’t really thought much on the voodoo part, but when I saw card readers and palmists out on Bourbon Street, I also didn’t blink.
My general thoughts on divination are it’s either fraudulent foolery—a scam—or it’s touching dark magic, and I don’t play with Ouija boards. To partake is to open a can of worms, which would require a full essay to dissect, and I won’t write it here. Simply put, on a religious front, I have objections. On the philosophical side, I have questions.
But such qualms tend to be forgotten after a Moscow Mule, vodka and Diet, Dark’n’Stormy, and then stumbling across an art gallery giving away free “purple potion.” (Yeah, we probably shouldn’t have imbibed that. Well, all’s well that ends well.)
My friend Kristina and I eventually found ourselves wandering down a lonely street in the French Quarter (to be honest, we were seeking out that art gallery again because we wanted more purple potion). I overheard music playing from some bar and stopped Kristina to dance along to it. Behind us was what I assumed was a homeless woman, but then she called out, “Do you all want a reading?”
Now, again, I had passed a multitude of seers in my two days exploring NOLA and not stopped for a single one, both because of those religious and philosophical doubts and because I’m a cheapskate and I wasn’t about to pay upwards of $30 to choose cards out of a deck and/or turn my hands over, palms up.But the alcohol had me singing a different tune:
“How much is a reading?”
Psychic: “$30 a person. I’ll do $20 a person if you both do it.”
Me: “What about $10?”
Psychic: “$10 for both of you.”
I looked at Kristina. She looked at me. I smelled a deal! $10 for a reading? That’s Dollar Tree price!
Psychic: “Sit here. Do you want a card reading or your palms? Oh, let me hook up the portable heater.”
Our seer had arranged herself outside a closed shop and was using their outdoor outlet. We soon blew the outlet, and the portable heater stopped working. We probably should’ve left then.
“What’s the difference in palms and cards?” I asked.
“I tend to think of a palm reading as more permanent, but a card reading can change,” our psychic explained. “You could have your cards read later and your future be different.”
Not one for commitment, I immediately opted for the cards. “Let’s do that one. What’s your name?”
“Louise,” she said. “Or people call me Mizz Louise.”
“Mizz Louise, nice to meet you. I’m Cazey.” I instantly regretted giving my name. She was a seer. Shouldn’t she know this? Or the cards would tell her? I wanted to tell her as few clues about myself as possible and see where my fortune took me.
“Do the readings often come true?” I asked as she prepared her deck of tarot cards.
“Yes,” Mizz Louise told me.
“Do people come back and tell you it came true?”
“Yes, I’ve had people come back.”
“Have you ever given someone a bad fortune and upset them?”
“Yes. One time I had a man, and the cards predicted a car accident for his kids. They even gave the exact date. He made me do it again, and the same thing came up.”
“That’s upsetting,” I remarked. “Hopefully that doesn’t happen tonight. How does it work?”
“Here. Take this deck. Now choose ten cards.”
“Don’t look at them, right?” I clarified.
I tried my best to be random. I wanted to challenge the reading. Nothing in me screamed, “Choose this card.” I just pulled them out. I also lost count and had to check I had chosen ten. Mizz Louise laid them out on her table.
“Okay, now,” she said. “Let’s see here. Are you in a medical job?”
“Mm…I’m a student.”
“Med student? Or pharmacy?”
“Close. I work in statistics in the medical field.”
“I see you being very successful,” Mizz Louise said.
“I like the sound of that.”
“This card here,” she tapped one, “indicates you’re going to be an executive. Are you in the military?”
“That’s strange. This card shows army or military. Possibly a job offering. And this card, are you close to done in school? It says you’re going to have a job offering in November.”
“Of this year?”
Mizz Louise, that’s not possible. You haven’t seen where I am in my dissertation. Instead, I said, “Interesting. Maybe I’ll apply for a job then?”
“Choose seven more cards,” Mizz Louise directed me.
I handed her seven.
“Ah, I see kids in your future,” she declared.
My smile froze. “I’m not sure I want those.”
“Two. Twins actually. Two girls it looks like.”
“Choose seven more cards.”
I tried to go against my urge to choose one card and choose the next card. I had to throw off the reading!
“Mm, it looks like actually a boy and a girl,” Mizz Louise divined. “Still twins. They’re going to be conceived in October 2018.”
“Excuse me?! That’s next year!”
“And this card…it’s interesting. I see you getting married, but not until 2021.”
“So I’m going to conceive twins before I marry? Not that that’s the end of the world, but…”
“It looks like the twin’s mother will be the same woman you marry, though.”
“Ah. Maybe I won’t know I’m the father for a while.”
“Choose seven more cards.”
I chose seven more and asked, “How do you know what question the cards correspond to? Is there like a formula? How do I learn?”
“Every reader does it a little differently,” Mizz Louise explained. “This is my way. It looks like your wife is going to be foreign-born.”
“I could see that. I like travel.”
“It doesn’t show you traveling.”
“But you’re going to have a long life,” Mizz Louise went on. “This card here shows you living to 94. At least 94. You could live longer.”
“My goal is to live to 102,” I replied.
“But you need to be careful. It shows you gaining weight and having heart disease.”
I blanched. “That’s not good.”
“But this could be a caution,” Mizz Louise counseled. “If you’re aware, you might be able to avoid it.”
“Can I avoid those twins?”
“Choose your last seven cards,” she asked. “Hmm. Do you and your friend,” she indicated Kristina, “have a close friend? It shows the dissolution of a marriage. And a friendship.”
“Is it a girl?” I panicked thinking of our recently married friend.
“No, it’s a guy.”
“Phew!” Kristina and I both exclaimed.
“We don’t really have a close guy friend in common,” I said. “We have some, but I’m not close to them.”
“It shows you won’t be friends anymore. Now let’s do your cards.” She smiled at Kristina. “I like you guys.”
“We like you,” Kristina replied.
“Choose ten cards,” Mizz Louise repeated the process. Now I don’t want to give away Kristina’s fortune because that would be to out her. But I heard it and will give some snippets. These are benchmarks to see if my fortune is likely to come true. Right? Apparently, she’s supposed to meet a guy this September who’s the one. So if that happens, then maybe I’ll get that job offer in November. Do we think?
“Ooh, that card is pretty!” Kristina pointed to one on the table.
Mizz Louise laughed. “That’s funny. That’s the card of death.”
Both of us: “What?”
“It looks like you’re both going to live a long time,” Mizz Louise softened the blow. “You’ll live to at least 94, too. Choose seven more cards. Are you a kinky girl?”
I blinked waiting for Kristina’s response. I would not have pegged Kristina for that.
“Ummm,” Kristina said. “I don’t think so?”
“I see you as the girl next door,” Mizz Louise said. “But this says you have an edgy side. Are you all going to Colette’s tonight?”
“What’s Colette’s?” we both said.
Mizz Louise laughed. “It’s a swinger’s club! Couples go and do things. I use to be an Uber driver, and I would drop off couples there all the time.”
“I’ve never heard of it,” Kristina said. “I’ve lived here two years.”
“Maybe you all should go tonight,” Mizz Louise replied.
“Is that what the cards say?” Kristina asked.
“It says you have an edgy side,” is all Mizz Louise answered.
We finished Kristina’s reading and thanked Miss Louize for our fortunes. Neither of us had tragedy or traumas predicted, so we felt happy (and drunk).
“Well, we’ll see you,” we said.
“Come back and visit me,” Mizz Louise waved at us. “I’m usually on Royal and St. Louis.”
“Maybe we will,” Kristina said, dead serious.
I added, “Maybe I’ll come back with my twins.”
We never went to the sex club. Maybe this means I won't have twins. Or so I hope.
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