I've been there countless times since I was 16 years old. One of my very best friends is from the West Bank, the more laid back residential section. The area most folks hit is what we refer to as The Quarter....the French Quarter- Downtown, East Bank, Business District, Red light District. It's an amazing place full of history, magic, and mystery. There are Voodoo shops, strip clubs, 5 star hotels, Armani stops, and Walgreen's. Little restaurants tucked away in unexpected corners. It's rare that I get to go and play the part of the tour guide, but in the last year or so I've had that pleasure a couple of times. Once for some Austinites who accompanied another best friend of mine in for a weekend, and then this week with my sister in law who hadn't been there in a decade.
Marie Laveau's Voodoo shop. Not really for anything to purchase per se, but I go and put a coin or two on the altar there just for her. It may not be my preferred spiritual practice, but I try to stay in good graces with the local traditions. You never know. For one of my photography friends, it's the chance to stand by the river and take another perfect camera shot of St. Louis Cathedral. My personal favourite photo of it happened when I was leaving on the cruise ship and caught it just in time through the trees. For my sis in law, as with several other folks I'm sure, it's the Cafe'. Cafe' Du Monde on Decatur street. Known the world over for their beignets, they serve them piled high with powered sugar and dark roasted chicory coffee with cream. As long as you don't inhale or exhale as you bite, you're OK. Inhaling powdered sugar isn't fun...and the exhaling...well, it's OK as long as you aren't wearing black!
|St. Louis Cathedral with Jackson's statue|
|Tarot and art in Jackson Square|
There are times when I just need to go walk. Take it in. Let all of it- the good, bad, and ugly- wash over me. Humanity at it's finest is right there in that little 10 block radius. I've gone down for the afternoon or evening, stayed too late and watched the sun come up over the mighty Mississippi, stayed for days and walked the streets eating at little family run restaurants and corner hot dog stands. There are a lot of famous folk from here or simply own homes here: Brad Pitt, Anne Rice, Master P, Ellen DeGeneres, and Harry Connick Jr. to name a few. I could spend weeks and never see it all. What can I say....the city speaks to me......