Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Big Easy

The afternoon we got there, the skies opened. That didn't stop us. We set down our bags and headed out right away, strolling the wet streets of the French Quarter, catching raindrops with our bare heads and brushing shoulders with throngs of out-of-towners who had the same idea. We stopped for a meal at a restaurant called Desire, where I snapped pictures through frosted panes of glass of life going by on Bourbon Street.

The next day dawned sunny and hot, and what seemed to draw my camera most were the buildings in the Quarter, the colors and the old world architecture, the wrought iron balconies and the greenery spilling from the air. 

We did and saw a lot that I didn't think to photograph, jazz musicians on outdoor stages, in bluesy clubs, the two of us eating beignets in Legends Park because the line was too long at Cafe du Monde, streetcar rides into the Garden district, mysterious bookstores and trinket shops, food adventures, the art around Jackson Square, the painted performance artists on streetcorners, chatting with the ticket booth lady who told us the real deal, brunch at the Ritz with a very loved friend who just happened to be in town for a conference, and the other highlight, a performance of Hugging the Shoulder, a play directed by my new friend Glenn Meche, who kindly offered to drive us back to our hotel after. We stayed in the Quarter, right on Bourbon Street, which many people had warned us could be a little sketchy. But we had no complaints. As Glenn pointed out, New Orleans is a theater town, everything is theater, and it's at full tilt day and night on Bourbon Street. And just steps from the mayhem, the hotel had a secret courtyard with a romantic fountain that I had been gazing at in photographs for weeks. I finally got to take my own pictures of it.

Our room didn't look down on the courtyard, much as I had hoped it would. Instead we looked out toward the Mississippi, as the front desk clerk told us when we checked in. I didn't ask if we could actually see the river, since the hotel was full and so the point was moot. It turned out our view was of the back of antique stores on Royal Street, and a corner of the Courthouse, which has been undergoing renovations for years, and appears in every John Grisham movie ever made. My husband and I were fascinated by a little house that had been completely surrounded on all sides by buildings, orphaned.

The room itself was perfectly lovely. It had everything we needed, including air conditioning and a dreamy bed. There is my love of 25 years, getting himself organized. And the last picture is of me and my little red Canon, hiding in a gilded mirror.


  1. Oh how I love NOLA! Thanks for taking us all along ;)

  2. Beautiful, beautiful photos. I love the doors you've captured and the light surrounding your man is terrific, too.

  3. I love your pictures, I love the general feeling that you loved New Orleans, I love that you and your hot husband (what is it with bloggers and their hot husbands? Is it a requirement?) got to enjoy time away, just the two of you. And I love that little house.
    Fyi, I also love your pictures. People in NO probably took you as a local creole. They're quite beautiful!

  4. The colors in your photos are amazing. And I love to see you smile. I mean, I always assumed that you did but I don't think that I have ever seen it.
    Your Friend, m.

  5. I have never been, so thank you for the tour! The photos are great! Love the one of the house surrounded, now I am intrigued.

  6. You know, Lady, your photos are as amazing as your writing. Thank you for your generous spirit in sharing these, for sharing your words, your heart.

  7. Brilliant photos Angella! I love the one of your smiling face the best, it says it all.

  8. Oh how I love New Orleans! I haven't been for decades, but your pictures remind me of all the lovely things I want to see again. The little courtyard gardens were my favorite, and the graveyards. Oh my. And the food. I'm going to have to cook some cajun this weekend.
    Thanks for sharing your trip, and I love the picture of you peeping through the mirror!

  9. Love the photos. I have never been to NO but it lives vividly in my imagination, enhanced immensely by vicariously living thru you!

  10. Yay! I think you captured so much about New Orleans and your trip and your heart, with your photos and your words.

    I love the last picture!! :)

    So glad you went, so glad you had fun. Good job, Angella!

  11. I just drank this up like water!! Thank you so much for this beautiful post; it reads like the most elegant of travel memoirs.

    There is just something about New Orleans...it's like sex, red paint, art, rhythm, love. You've made me kinda need to go there soon!

  12. YOU look genuinely joyful in that picture and that makes my heart smile.

    Big hugs,

    PS-I am watching the movie Frida which made me think of you:)

  13. i am so happy that you had what sounds like a fantastic trip!

  14. T, thanks for coming along on the ride!

    Elizabeth, thank you! there are a lot of doors, aren't there? now that you mention it, there must be some symbolism there. hmm.

    Miss A, we did love it, and as for the husband, i confess, i do find him kind of hot!

    Mark, smiling right now, just for you. Actually I smile a lot!

    Denise, we looked down on that little house every night, counting the lights in the windows and trying to figure out who lived there and how they got to their front door. the porches facing blank brick walls were so curious to me.

    Ms. Moon, that is generous praise, and thank you for that. i try with the photos, i really do, but i hardly ever get what i see in my head. unless i am photographing my children's faces. those pictures please me most.

    Yolie, thank you! my husband was in the background making me laugh. it was a moment.

    Mel, those little courtyard gardens, especially with fountains, were my absolute favorite places, too.

    Kathleen, we had never been to NOLA either. It is all the way live, that is for sure.

    ellen, i'm glad you got something out of this, having been there yourself. there was so much i didn't capture, but next time.

    silverfin, you definitely evoked the place in your choice of nouns. yes, indeed.

    Debra, i was feeling quite joyful actually. hugs.

    susan t, we had a great time, even as we meandered. it was perfect.

  15. Beautiful. You look so happy! As Mary Moon says Ah La and I feel it too. Thank you.

  16. The little house looks so hemmed in. I wonder how they get in and out. the scenery would depress me although the house itself looks wonderful. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. My new olreans granddaughter spends the summer with us.

  17. There is nothing sketchy about that courtyard, what a corner of bliss. I loved the tour, thank you, and dream of the food. xo