Totally without ambition, Mutt gains unwanted public notoriety in the city’s Night Court when he successfully defends a Bourbon Street stripper, a good-hearted individual burdened with a somewhat unconventional sexual orientation, before the Court. Mutt’s blatantly naive honesty somehow leads to his -- and Fred’s -- successful entry into city government.
He is encouraged when he accidentally comes into possession of two Voter Registration Cards, found in an abandoned house’s mailbox. Since they have no other “official” identities, he and Fred take on the cards’ names, that of a Mr & Mrs Jeansonne, and both become avid voters.
An enlightened scavenger on the trashpile of civilization, Mutt values most those individuals considered by society to be worthless -- the misfits, the outcasts, the useless, the outlaws. To him, they are the true indicators of the health or deterioration of a culture. Mutt instinctively knows that these individuals are inevitably the most deeply “human”, and as an added side benefit, they are invariably the most fun.
Besides the otherworldly aura of the place, the actual neighborhoods of New Orleans also serve as a principal character in Unimportant People. Mutt’s story travels Fats Domino’s Lower Ninth Ward, slides into the lower depths of Bywater and Treme, trips through the French Quarter and Central Business District, lurks in the heavily WASP Uptown, and wades the swamps along the Gulf Coast.
With an energy and a dark slapstick humor that closely mirrors the reality, this novel vividly depicts the street-life of New Orleans and the extremes to which humans will go to communicate with one another.