In New Orleans my dear

You can’t make up the awesomeness that is New Orleans. There is life screaming  from the streets, and an understanding of the temporal nature of that life. Its a zen place, activity all the time but the days seem to last forever.

The most amazing thing happened to me there. I fell in love. How can one city be so beguiling?

It started off at the Daiquiri hut. A bank of life giving frozen daiquiri machines humming softly and electronic poker machines in the corner. I got my pina colada and a couple others and they gave me a cardboard drink tray. Of course I took them to the car and we drove around and drank them.  Yes it is real.

Then there was Mechanic st so full of indie artsy rabble and counterculture goodness. Food Food Food and blistering heat. Open doors with AC on – you betcha.

But I was not prepared for the grandeur the mystical heights of the French Quarter. Since it was Louis Armstrong festival weekend there were bands playing around on the street, lots of white older gentlemen pretengding to be Louis and a mile long line for begneits at Cafe Du Monde. Artists crowded every shady spot even in the morning it was hot enough to melt oil.

Then down Bourbon street to the galleries. Figurative, antiques, contemporary, traditional art and more and I’m an art junkie  – so of course well it was hard to leave.  One of the gallery owners gave me an invite to a New Orleans street party called Dirty Linen. One week they have White Linen and the next week you come back in the same outfit – and it’s Dirty Linen. Love that Southern self deprecating humor. On the way back to the car I found an open bar to use the restroom and walked out with a beer in a to go cup.

We drove around to see the post Katrina after getting snowballs. There was the Superdome and then we went to the upper ninth ward. It was sad – so many homes are just abandoned. Grass is five feet tall and blocks and blocks  of buildings are empty.  Some folks live on blocks where there house is the only one fit for occupancy. There are no stores or community gathering places in Desire – I’m just not sure that it  can ever recover.

In fact the place I stayed was near UNO right across from Lake Pontchartrain. It is a huge impressive expanse of water that seems to go into the horizon.  That must have been a scary place during and after the storm.  But its just peaceful and impressive now.

Everything about New Orleans is better than most places. The people are friendly the food is awesome the art is great the sun is bright and they have to go cups. I’m sold – you should go and see it for yourself.

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