This is the start…
October 12 2016
This is the start of a 2016 Trip to New Orleans…a trip from 2010 follows.
A few days of just walking around.
October 12 2016
This is the start of a 2016 Trip to New Orleans…a trip from 2010 follows.
I met Richard at the airport – we taxied in to town stopping off to pick up a case of wine(!) one of Richard’s friends had sent, which was a great treat to have bottles of good wine always at hand.
Arriving at the rented house we found Richard’s daughter Annalee, Richard’s brother Rob and Rob’s son Sean. It’s a house full of delightful Fannans and me.
And my first oyster po’boy of the trip from Verti Marte down the street.
And then we were off for the evening’s entertainments – Three Muses, for cocktails, and the ever-present meat and cheese plate, and…
…the swingin’ sounds of the Hot Club of New Orleans…
…followed by a stop at The Spotted Cat…
…where we got to hear Antoine Diel, a killer cutie for sure.
The Spotted Cat is a pretty down home-everybody stands, funky kind of place and Antoine and his fabulous band made me smile 100% of the time. We saw him again at an upscale hotel bar with a different set of players and I still loved every minute but its The Spotted Cat guy I’ll want to see again.
Richard leading his History of Music in America tour beginning at the original home of J&M Recording.
Wiki: “Louis Armstrong Park is .. located in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana, just across Rampart Street from the French Quarter.
“In the 1960s a controversial urban renewal project leveled a substantial portion of the Tremé neighborhood adjacent to Congo Square. After a decade of debate, the City created the present-day park from that land. This park was designed by New Orleans architect Robin Riley and was named after New Orleans-born Jazz legend Louis Armstrong.
“.. The portion of the park immediately in front of the New Orleans Municipal Auditorium is the site of Congo Square, formerly known as Beauregard Square, famous for its role in the history of African American music and spiritual practice.”
What the sign says: “Congo Park is in the vicinity of a spot which Houmas Indians used before the arrival of the French for celebrating their annual corn harvest and was considered sacred ground.
“The gathering of enslaved African vendors in Congo Square originated as early as the late 1740s .. By 1803 Congo Square had become famous for the gatherings of enslaved Africans who drummed, danced, sang, and traded on Sunday afternoons.
“..These African cultural expressions gradually developed into Mardi Gras Indian traditions, the Second line, and eventually New Orleans jazz and rhythm and blues.”
I do enjoy a good building. They’ve done a nice job with the electricity to run the streetcars – there is an example in the foreground.
There are plaques on so many historic buildings and these maps available around town, all in service of the tourist floods that some say are destroying the French Quarter with the force of daily hurricane.
Another building that has survived and is revealed enough to enjoy.
We took the ferry over to Algiers.
Enjoying the 10 minute ride…
…and the view.
We ate and drank, again, this time in Algiers, sitting outside in a shady breeze, before taking the ferry back.
The St Louis Cathedral.
From Lonely Planet: “One of the best examples of French architecture in the country, this triple-spired cathedral is dedicated to Louis IX, the French king sainted in 1297; it’s a most innocuous bit of Gallic heritage in the heart of an American city. In addition to hosting black, white and Creole Catholic congregants, St Louis has also attracted those who, in the best New Orleanian tradition, mix their influences, such as voodoo queen Marie Laveau.
“The present cathedral was dedicated on Christmas Eve, 1794, and awarded the rank of minor basilica by Pope Paul VI in 1964.”
The Pearl, opened in the 1920s and closed in 2015. Back when I was working and came here several times for conferences I always looked forward to a meal at The Pearl.
The sidewalk in front of The Pearl.
Luke’s, with some feel of The Pearl, where we ate four dozen happy hour oysters and drank many happy hour beers.
We stopped off at Hotel Monteleone, at the Carousel Bar, where this delightful wedding party invited us to join them so we could get a good view of Mr Cutie himself, Antoine Diel, who was playing here with an entirely different band.
We did all this on foot too. So much walking my step-meter couldn’t go that high.
Music on every corner and pouring out of every door.
I see I don’t have any pictures of the chaos that is the French Quarter at night. I would have had to go out by myself which I never got around to, since it is so so crowded I couldn’t stop and also keep track of the gang.
The back of the St Louis Cathedral.
We better get some food, and some drinks to wash it down…so we stopped here at Buffa’s where Tom McDermit was accompanying this very excellent clarinet player who also sang ala Janet Klein.
It was entirely dark and forbidding, these leaves being as big as a mastiff.
I got back from New Orleans a few days ago after an amazing glut-fest!
Here it is: New Orleans!
We were all very pleased with our meal and we all drank the full limit of 3 25 cent martinis.
It was the beginning of a great day!
The kitchen at Commander’s Palace.
We ate in one of the dining rooms which was lovely and cool, the downside being we never made it out to the gardens which is the signature Commander’s Palace venue.
I changed my shoes and we went for a wall, first through the well-known Lafayette Cemetery No 1 built in 1833 and filled to capacity a few decades later.
These guys called out Good Afternoon Y’all and we chatted a while before I asked them for a picture. I was holding up the walk so I took what I could get and was glad for it.
We stopped twice for food and drink during this walk as relief from the heat, and it wasn’t even that hot in comparison to the summer when it gets much hotter.
I forget the name of this place, the second venue for food and drink. You can be sure you’re not in the French Quarter by the clean, modern look.
Rob turned his coat inside out to reveal this magnificent purple raiment, here with the equally dapper Annalee.
Back home for a nightcap, and I in fact did not have one drink the following day.
Thankfully all this drinking was spread over so many hours and thankfully I didn’t feel sick, just stuffed to edge of my very being.
We started off the morning with a stroll down to the long row of souvenir and food stalls called The French Market, newly refreshed and plenty crowded.
Next stop, a record store where we went twice so Richard could acquire more obscure music to add to his endless collection.
On the street with the record store.
Up on the balcony of Dat Dog eating a Dog.
Looking up while eating Dat Dog.
One of the many opportunities to sample hot sauces and barbeque sauces from hot and sweet to hot and so hot you can’t breathe.
Looking back I see I don’t have any pictures of all the praline tasting opportunities I enjoyed fully as well.
One of the main activities, and the reason Richard chooses these particular dates, is the BBQ and Blues Festival held every year.
We ate BBQ and heard some Blues but I completely punked out on sitting around in the hot hot sun and very soon decided to take a slow stroll back to the house.
The fine old trees still dominate many of the streets and their shade is so very welcome.
Streetcars. We never did use them but they do go where you want to go so that’s good.
We hadn’t had any beignet so I stopped off here to buy a few for the house and to listen to this very cool trombone player who had all the leads.
Notice the Girls! Girls! Girls! glowing in the window on the far left. These are the kind of lines that form at windows where they sell alcoholic drinks to go. You are welcome to wander the streets beverage in hand.
Maybe the last club of the night…
…where we enjoyed yet again another great entertainment.
I’m including this not very good picture to give a feel for the combos on stage. This looks like many of them that we saw. The lead was the guy on the far right whose name I’ve forgotten.
From the spiral staircase to the second and third floors of our house looking into the living room, a not-yet-ready to leave lay-about. The perfectly comfortable dining area and kitchen would be behind me.
Annalee and I each had our own bedroom And our own bathroom while the boys slept dorm-style on the third floor and shared a bathroom. And air-conditioning! Returning from the outside into the inside was always a rush of welcome cool air. I was happy with this house.
Views out my window including our quaint patio that we could have enjoyed were it not too hot to even consider it.
One of the front windows.
We’re off! Note the sidewalk. Many of the sidewalks are worse and few are better. And I didn’t fall! Let’s hear it for not falling!
We arrived at Molly’s at 10:01am, the first minute of opening so that we could…
…have the Frozen Irish Coffee, the specialty of the house, and delicious.
Then we walked (and might I add again that we were walking Fast…or is it that I walk slow?) through the Warehouse District, through the Bywater, to a heritage breakfast place where the specialty was praline bacon and I had an entire order plus cheesy grits for my breakfast, a memorable meal for sure.
In the distance in the upper left is the Crescent City Connection, the bridge previously know as the Greater New Orleans Bridge, construction beginning in 1954 when I was already seven so how is it old? I think not.
We had to stop at Dr Bob Art dot Com for oddball art and a lot of slogans.
A quiet afternoon in the hood.
We had dinner at Meril, Emeril’s new restaurant. Richard had made the reservation well in advance, as well as setting us up at Commander’s Palace, and organizing all our outings.
Thank you Richard, what a great time I had!
Our final good bye to New Orleans. ‘Till we meet again!
October 19 and 20 2010
I tend to be disoriented when thinking about New Orleans. I’ve always got her sitting on the Gulf when actually that big body of water you see in all the tourist maps is to the north and it’s Lake Pontchartrain, a place we can all pronounce now since Katrina hit.
The commerce is mostly run on the Mississippi river which ends in the Gulf of Mexico many miles away.
On October 17th the power cord to my computer shorted out. oh NO, you Know I’m not going to be able to last very happily without my computer.
So when I arrived in New Orleans instead of going into town I took a taxi to the nearest Best Buy, paid a not-so-small fortune to get a power cord, and then took the bus…
…to the trolley that goes into the French Quarter where my Couch Surfing host lives.
I like to mess around with public transportation when the timing works out, which in this case was not too bad and the sightseeing along the way was interesting.
The trolley started at a huge cemetery part of town. All the graves are above ground and all the monuments are huge to go with the whole theme of huge.
It was hot though, with the sun overhead so I didn’t roam around inside the cemeteries. I did have to take this picture. Odd Fellow’s Rest. Sounds like a fine place to be.
My host lives behind that open door. What FUN! I’ll get a picture from the street as soon as I remember.
I went out for a neighborhood dinner just two blocks from the apartment. The meal was delicious, no surprise there. The restaurant was called Ports of Call, there was a big fish tank, they had fish on the wall, and on the menu – three burgers, three steaks, all with baked potato, and that’s it for choices. You could choose to get cheese or mushrooms on your meat or your potato.
Their most popular beverage was a Monsoon. Like a Hurricane they said, only better. People were coming through the whole time I was there ordering a Monsoon or two or three To Go. That’s right, in New Orleans you can order your booze To Go and drinking on the street is entirely legal.
I’m not a big night time wanderer especially in areas that aren’t busy. So I didn’t wander, I just walked to dinner. Here are some pictures from that short stroll.
It’s the next morning now. Meet my host Dennis and another guest who was there last night too. We all went together for breakfast. They both contributed very entertaining stories and ideas to a lively conversation and a grand time was had by all.
One of the one thousand shots around the French Quarter.
As noted by many: The Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis King of France is the oldest Catholic cathedral in continual use in the United States.
It was oddly bright inside for a cathedral and then I realized it’s all painted white and there are many clear glass windows surrounding the balcony.
See the statue of the horseman. It’s Andrew Jackson centered in its place in Jackson Square. The inscription reads “The Union Must And Shall Be Preserved”. Not what I expected to read!
I walked on through the tourist stops in this area including Jackson Square and the French Market. I also walked by the casino, the River Walk, the aquarium, and plenty more. Oh man did I enjoy my late lunch of a cup of gumbo, an oyster po’boy, and a perfect draft beer.
This is the last authentic steamboat that tours the Mississippi (they say). It’s a two hour ride so you don’t get far but maybe on a hot day it’s a good way to catch a breeze.
Public Art, not always to everyone’s taste.
The x-rated section of Bourbon Street, an historic and well-attended part of the French Quarter, and honestly, it’s just not so great.
OK! I’m (pretty much) caught up with pictures having fallen behind when I couldn’t use the computer. Because of my over-the-top phone I could still get email, check the weather, find things. Excellent!
Here’s another map so you can be reminded of the Katrina floods.
Today I walked from the French Quarter west, following the river through the Quarter, the Warehouse & Arts district, and through the Garden district heading into Uptown. All of these neighborhoods stayed dry. I’m going to try to make it to a flooded area in the morning before catching my late afternoon flight back to Florida.
This is the outside of the place where I’m staying in the 1300 block of Burgundy Street. The first time I said I was staying on BURgundy Street the person I was talking to looked confused and then said, oh yeah, BurGUNdy Street.
I was on a trolley today talking to the driver to see where I should get off and about one thing and another. ‘You’re not from around here, are you?’ asks the driver. ‘Right, I’m not from around here’ I reply. ‘But how do you know’ says he, ‘to say BurGUNdy?’. It’s like how you say Burgundy Street is a code, for being from ‘around here’ and being from ‘somewhere else’.
Here are more places in the neighborhood. These look newly refreshed and are all for sale. There are a Lot of places in the French Quarter for sale.
More. Check out the way they do those stoops.
There are tons of rainbow flags around the Quarter (and I didn’t see one anywhere else) not yet rivaling the Castro or West Hollywood but still there’s a very present gay community.
And as many rainbow flags and as many American flags, there are twice as many New Orleans Saints flags. This town LOOOVES them some Saints.
Aww, kitty in the window. Kitty kitty, aww.
I had Such a walk today.
An old classic near Lafayette Square with a new linoleum floor. I haven’t got any pictures yet of the great little hexagon tile floors I remember so fondly because I’m just not seeing them.
A snap from the Warehouse & Arts district.
I didn’t go into any of the Galleries and Museums, I was on a mission to Walk and see how far I could get.
Two symbolic icons of New Orleans. Ol’ Satchmo and the George Rodrigue Blue Dog images.
Traveling through the Garden district, and remembering that it was not flooded, still there are many buildings in such bad shape I can’t imagine any chance for their repair.
I’m sure there are some serious zoning rules for the historic areas – like the size of a phone book, when a phone book was the size of a phone book. Kids today, they don’t know about a real phone book.
This is a good example of a more typical home in the Garden district.
Lafayette Cemetery, a must visit on the tourist trail.
I just checked on the map – after walking more than 5 miles I took the trolley half way home and then I walked the rest of the way and then I put my feet up!
My last day in New Orleans when I spent the morning walking through a small section of the flood zone, the flood zone being basically everywhere north and north-east of the traditional tourist area by the river.
I’m so glad I did it but not because I have such happy news to report. I’m thinking it’s a story to tell with statistics. I’m leaving my opinions mostly out of this because I can’t think of how to express them cogently anyway, and I don’t even have statistics to share.
The picture on the left is from 2005, of the neighborhood I walked around. The pictures on the right are of the Ninth Ward where I did not walk, the bottom is from 2006 and the top is from 2010.
photos from the Sacrament Bee
There were no people on the streets except for the very occasional clutch of men hanging around, basically, and most of them were drinking beer.
I stayed primarily on the once commercial streets and just looked down into the residential blocks.
These are what some of the livable homes look like.
Many of these wonderful old trees survived.
Standing in the center of an intersection looking down the four streets.
A decorated underpass.
Looking out from under the freeway.
For a mile or two around it was all like this. Abandoned and ruined commercial and residential buildings, empty lots, the occasional home patched up and painted.
I can’t imagine what would be required, how it could happen, to bring this community back to life. And not that all of New Orleans was in such fabulous shape before the floods.
I can’t imagine I think because of my own lack of imagination but I hope someone else can! I will add my thought that rebuilding a city below sea level strikes me as obviously imprudent. So then what?
Then I walked back to the Quarter for a most scrumptious New Orleans late lunch of roast pork, cheesy grits, and cole slaw, before heading out to the airport.
Fare thee well New Orleans!