Friday, July 30, 2010

New Orleans in the Summer

I know it's quite a bit after the fact, but a lot has happened since the road trip, and it's taken me quite a while to gather up myself, my thoughts, my photos, and my sanity after that crazy whirlwind trip! 

After Texas, we left for Louisiana, as we had a room booked at the Inn on Bourbon Street, for two nights. We drove through an intense rain & lightning storm, when I had to actually get off the freeway because I was too scared to keep driving and because we had to go to the bathroom. At a McDonald's, I ran inside to use the bathroom, and the power went out! The inside of the restroom luckily had emergency lights, but it was pitch black in the stall! Worse, Keith had to go, too, and for some reason, my car locked him in while I was running for McD's! When I got back, he still had to go, and unfortunately for him, the men's room didn't have ANY lights or ANY toilet paper! Both of us got soaking wet just running from the car to the restaurant, which wasn't a long ways away. About 15 feet or so. Our wet clothes and the hot day made the inside of the car get all steamy! Ugh. It wasn't the most comfortable way to drive, with wet clingy clothes sticking to you, and it being still hot outside. But as we neared Louisiana, the sun set in the most gorgeous array of colors and light.... it was breath-taking!

When we arrived in Louisiana, it was still hot and humid, but had stopped raining for the time being, so we unloaded all of our things and went off to explore. The whole experience in the French Quarter was as interesting and colorful as you could ask for! We checked out the French Market, had some beignets at Cafe du Monde, along with their new frozen coffee drink. (I don't recommend it. It tastes good, but it gave us a crazy buzz that had us both feeling a bit weird and nauseated 20 minutes after we finished it.) One of our favorite places was a little antique store that had furniture, tons of old bottles, framed butterflies & insects, and a lot of weird original artwork. 

We bought two bottles here, and debated about the framed butterflies. Maybe next time... they were expensive, and we'd already spent a lot of money on this trip! One funny thing that happened to me in Nawlins was the Gulf breeze that kept lifting up the skirt of my dresses... it was too hot to wear pants and even shorts and shirts was too claustrophobic. I wore dresses, not knowing how breezy it was in the Big Easy. They should call it the Big Breezy. I flashed my underwear at least two times, when I had my hands full with an umbrella, purse and bags. It was embarrassing! I wasn't the only one, of course. But I learned to keep one hand free for grabbing onto the skirt of my dress, just in case a big gust blew past! Yikes!

The colors and textures of the French Quarter were so vivid and alive... even in the cemetery we visited. St. Louis Cemetery #1, which is right up from the Quarter. It was a very hot & sultry day... the kind of day that makes you think that even the dead are sweating under those brick ovens they're buried in. I loved all the wrought iron crosses that were set on so many of the tombs. I'd love to do a series of photos just of the crosses... they are whimsical and lovely, amid the heaviness of all that stone and brick. 

We even found the tomb for Madame Laveau, the voodoo priestess, and her lover, Monsieur LaFitte. There were all kinds of tokens and gifts left at their tombs. Everything from coins to dolls and other odds and ends. People also made wishes and then marked the tombs with three X's. It was pretty fascinating to see. We didn't mark the tombs, but we DID leave behind some gifts, so that the spirits would be pleased and not follow us home! 

One of the best things about the Quarter is the food! We were pretty lucky to eat at decent places while we were here. The places that I'd eaten at before were lost to me. I couldn't remember where they were! So we yelped a few places and took our chances, and ate some delicious creole seafood! Mmm.... the Oceana Grill was surprisingly good, and the service was great! A couple of little dive spots were good, too, actually! We just kept eating too much and not being able to breathe afterward. The walks around the Quarter helped a little, but the heat and the stickiness made it difficult to feel too comfortable outside. Next time I come here, I want to go in the springtime. I know it'll be a while, but I'm already looking forward to another visit to the Big Easy!


Orion Designs said...

That's one of the cities on my "must visit" list. It may be a long time in the future, but I know I will go there some time. Thanks for the tip on the breeze!

shari said...

You're welcome! I know you'll find this city interesting... it's different, that's for sure! I'm just sorry that we didn't get over to Frenchman's Road (or something like that) which two people recommended that we walk through. More music there. Next time!!

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