An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Friday, March 8, 2013

New Orleans in 7 + 1 Quick Takes

~1~ On my own. Last week we left our boys in the care of i Nonni while Joe and I headed for New Orleans for four nights, five days. And each morning after Joe headed off to a Chemical Engineering class (shudders), I grabbed my Coach messenger bag, a water bottle, and a city map to head off on my own.

~2~ Follow the music. It's everywhere, on every square and street corner, outside store fronts, and inside restaurants. One day I had to make a late morning phone call (an interview with a priest which had been scheduled weeks earlier). I just figured I'd find a quiet park bench somewhere and make the call. Well. I couldn't find a quiet place anywhere, and when I finally made the call there was a jazz band playing in the background. When I apologized to the priest, he laughed and asked if I had been to Cafe` Du Monde yet.

~3~ Cafe` Du Monde. Beignets. Every morning I headed to this little piece of heaven and ordered a cafe` au lait and a beignet (and you don't just get one beignet, you get three). And I won't mention that on the last day I went back in the afternoon and ... well, I'm not telling.

~4~ Bourbon Street. Okay. It's only one street in all of New Orleans, and I just hope visitors/tourists don't judge the entire city on those few blocks.  When Joe and I got into New Orleans we decided to stroll  down this iconic street figuring that, since it was Sunday, things would be tame. Uhm, no. Good grief.
**No photo ... this is a family blog.**

~5~ Second Line. Not sure what this is? Well, we had no idea until we witnessed one. It was a wedding parade, complete with a dancing bride (holding a white parasol), a brass band, and the entire wedding party following behind. Very New Orleans.

~6~ Meeting people.  Maybe it was because I was by myself, but everyone I met (tourists, shop keepers, waiters) wanted to talk. And not just talk, but have an entire conversation. It was wonderful! One day I took a guided walking tour of the Garden District and met a young British woman who was vacationing on holiday (as the Brits would say) in the States for two weeks. We had a lovely conversation, and the next day I bumped into her again in Jackson Square. I'll probably never see her again, but I'll always think of her as my New Orleans friend.

In St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square, the day Pope Benedict retired.

~7~ Preservation Hall. This was by far the highlight of my week. For $15 and the willingness to stand in line for an hour just to be able to get in the door, Joe and I were treated to an hour of pure jazz. In a small, crowded room with brick walls and low ceilings, and without the aid of microphones and amplifiers, six jazz musicians showed us what jazz was meant to be: an experience. It was intimate, it was pure soul, and I totally got it.

~8~ P.S. And what about my resolve to pack light? See photo. Packed into that teeny duffle bag: outifts for four nights and five days, two pairs of shoes, workout clothes, laptop ... I did well, no?


*Now, go visit Jen over at Conversion Diary for some more Quick Takes fun.
She has a book coming out!


tiziana said...

Maria, sei bellissima!!!
Leggendo il tuo blog mi è venuto proprio il desiderio di vedere New Orleans, deve essere una città davvero speciale.
Luciano, invece, sarebbe curioso di vedere soprattutto Bourbon Street, non so perchè!!!

HereBeDragons said...

I'm going back and forth on the idea of going to Perservation Hall. You provide a strong case though!