Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Why Does New Orleans Exist?

You'll see things in New Orleans and you'll wonder why they are here.  It could be the houses or the old corner groceries that have become houses.  It could the the tiles in the sidewalk, or the asphalt patches in the middle of the street.  Why does New Orleans exist?  Why?

You'll see things left on the street when you walk around back-a-town New Orleans and wonder why these things are there.  Is it voodoo?



There is more voodoo in New Orleans than you think there is but there is also less.  Nobody is poking pins in dolls in New Orleans unless they are insane.  

Every New Orleans day is full of fanciful magic and good wishes come true, but there is nothing dark about New Orleans, even at night.

There is plenty of gris-gris and mojo in New Orleans but it has nothing to do with zombies.  Don't believe everything you see on TV, especially if it takes place in New Orleans.  Don't believe everything you read in vampire books, or see in cartoons, or read in that magazine tucked into the airplane backseat.

You can, however, believe everything you read on this blog.

Love is the law in New Orleans.  Everybody loves everybody.  We are all New Orleanians, in this together come Armageddon or high water.  Nobody is a stranger in New Orleans.  Everyone is a friend you are about to meet.  Hello.

Who cares what the weather will bring?  New Orleans will survive.  Founded in 1718, New Orleans is going to stick around forever.  I can't imagine a world without the great city of New Orleans in it.  Can you?

When you are ready to visit New Orleans like you mean it and make some good New Orleans memories here, remember why does New Orleans exist.  La Belle Esplanade is here for you.

Our five-suite personalized B&B hotel is here to share what it is like to live in this wonderful city we call home.  Staying at La Belle Esplanade is totally worth it.  

You have two New Orleans goodwill ambassadors standing by to chitchat over breakfast about all things New Orleans and make personalized recommendations.  You have two friends on Esplanade Avenue.

Strangers stay in chain hotels.  New Orleanians in-the-making stay at La Belle Esplanade.  We look forward to sharing our part of the authentic New Orleans with you.  

Why does New Orleans exist?  Make a reservation at La Belle Esplanade and find out for yourself.  The best New Orleans memories start every morning at La Belle Esplanade.  The link to their website is here.  Make a reservation today while you can.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

A Scrap of Paper Found On A New Orleans Sidewalk

You'll never guess what I found, but, you won't have to because I'm going to tell you.  I found a scrap of paper on a New Orleans sidewalk.  

You may not think this is interesting news, so far, but, be patient.  This story about the scrap of paper found on a New Orleans sidewalk contains the stuff from which lauded literature and cult classic movies are made.  A scrap of an idea is the seed of many a grand project and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  You never know what you'll find when you wander around New Orleans.

Where are the lay lines?  Where are the boundaries?  In a New Orleans state of mind, the stories that are born on any given day are well worth the good memories that will last you the rest of your life.  If New Orleans didn't exist, someone would have to invent it.

As I was crossing the street, a balled up scrap of paper blew in front of me.  It had writing on it so I picked it up and unballed it.  This is what that scrap of paper found on a New Orleans sidewalk said:

"There was me, Citizen B, and my three pals, Dizzy, Daffy, and the guy we all call The Genius because he's really smart.  Two us four used to be baseball players, and we sat in a sports bar on Poydras Street, us all watching football on the big TVs, socially distanced.

"Three of us have the last name Dean, though only two of us are related, the brothers.  One of us has the last name Bean, that's me.

"When the waitress returned with our credit card receipts, she's the one who noticed the unusual coincidence.  We hadn't noticed this before.  Three deans and a bean, all of us pals.

"We didn't talk about it after she left to take a new table's order.  Who cares?"

The paper was torn off after that.  Too bad.  I was really getting interested.  It must have been a page from somebody's diary.  Why he or she (Citizen B may be a lady) tore half a page out of his or diary, who knows?  I know a lot of people reading this are thinking: who cares?

I'll never know what happened next so it won't do me much good to care about it.  Like many things in New Orleans, this will probably be another forever unanswered question.  There are millions of them.

In New Orleans, people shrug their shoulders, whether it's a scrap of paper found on a New Orleans sidewalk or a diamond ring found on a New Orleans sidewalk.  I always look in the weeds for doubloons.  Fate deals our cards and all we can do is play the game.  

All we can do is roll dem bones to wherever they land.  I hope to be buried in St. Louis Cemetery No. 3.


When you are ready to visit New Orleans like you mean it, close to the tourist attractions your friends have told you about, but, off the typical tourist radar----in a real New Orleans neighborhood.  This top-rated five-suite B&B hotel is here to share the real New Orleans with you.  Staying at La Belle Esplanade is totally worth it.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

New Orleans Onion Mound

Remember when I was with Rick the other day at Kennedy Place, that park that is bounded by Ursulines Avenue, North Rendon Street, and Bell Street?  I didn't mention it then but that is when I discovered the New Orleans onion mound that everyone's been talking about.  It isn't as big as you'd think from the smell but it's real.  People aren't lying.

When I was with Rick the other day, I walked the boundaries of Kennedy Place from the lakeside tip down Bell Street, and then, after crossing the triangle's base, up Ursulines Avenue.  The whole stroll smelled like baby powder but, at one point, on the Ursulines Avenue side, I smelled onions----a lot of raw onions.

It lasted for a second, but it was overpowering during that second.  

It wasn't all the CheeWees Rick is always eating.  Nowadays, all Rick eats is the new taco-flavored CheeWees.  This was the smell of raw onions, a big yellow creole onions----like ten pounds of them.

I didn't mention anything to Rick but, in my head, I decided to investigate later, which is was I exactly did last night, around midnight, long after Rick had gone home until tomorrow.

I took my bicycle in the interest of speed and silence.

I parked my bike under the streetlight and I followed my nose to where the onion smell was coming from.  Here was the New Orleans onion mound I was looking for.  It was a pile of fresh dirt, about the size of a shoebox, in the otherwise manicured park lawn.  That spot smelled like a whole pile of chopped yellow onions.

I had planned ahead and brought a trowel with me.

As I bent down to dig at the source of this overpowering onion smell, I felt a hand my shoulder.  I stood up.  It was Agent 11.

I will explain all about Agent 11 another day.  He is not NOPD.  He is a special agent.  That is all you need to know for the moment.  That's really all you need to know about him ever.  The less you know, the better, but, he is a good man to have on your side in a scuffle.

Agent 11 and I had a conversation.  Back and forth, this and that, give and take.  Nothing special.  We were both cagey.  Agent 11 isn't a cop but he tried to pull a Kojak on me.  I played all Columbo the whole conversation.  

In the end, Agent 11 didn't learn anything from me that he didn't already know.  I didn't learn anything from Agent 11 that I wanted to know.  We both agreed to part company none the wiser.

Agent 11 did tell me to keep away from this sector in Kennedy Place that smells of onions.  "I can't tell you anything more than this," he said, "This spot is not to be disturbed for any reason under direct order of Governor John Bel Edwards.  Got it?"

I tipped my cap to Agent 11.  "Got it," I said.  Who am I do argue with the duly elected governor of the great State of Louisiana?

So, what's the skinny?  Darned if I know.  I am officially persona non grata at the park unless I have business there.  Luckily, I often do have business on Ursulines Avenue.  I'll keep my eyes open.

When we parted company last night, Agent 11 did say one last thing to me.  These were his last words: "Watch yourself, pal.  There are things in New Orleans that will break a man if he isn't strong enough.  I don't need to tell you that.  I'm gonna tell you this, though----this is one of those things that makes New Orleans a Man-Breaker."

Here is another thing Agent 11 said:  "Don't talk about this.  I know you hear a lot around town about this New Orleans onion mound but don't add to the rumors.  No matter what you hear, this one is not related to the New Orleans onion mound Uptown."

"Got it," I said.

I bicycled my way back home alone in the dark.  I've vowed to myself that this won't be my last visit to Kennedy Place after dark.

Stay tuned for more......


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Money Can't Buy You Love in New Orleans

Money can buy a lot of things in New Orleans, things you haven't even thought of, but money can't buy you love in New Orleans.  It can't buy you love anywhere, why should it here?

Some people learn this when they are growing up, because they are loved and their family doesn't have a lot of money.  It is impossible to put a price on love.  It is the only thing a person can't buy.  A kid can't put a quarter into a machine and get love the way he or she can get a gum ball or a handful of chiclets.

From what I've seen, a lot of people learn this the hard way.  Most of the men I know have learned it the hard way, as young men.  Money can't buy you love in New Orleans.  I hear somebody say that in conversation at least once a month.  I hang out with a lot of older men. They should know.

Young men don't know the difference between love and happiness.  To tell the truth, I don't think that many young women know the difference either but I've never heard an older woman say that money can't buy you love in New Orleans.  I think women innately know better.  That's what Jimmy has told me.

I was talking to Jimmy today at Frey Smoked Meat Co., a barbecue restaurant in Mid-City that has a scenic view of the back of Office Depot and of Panera's loading dock from Frey's front patio.  Smoked chicken, pulled pork, ribs, sausage, brisket, and PORK BELLY.  What's not to like?   Jimmy and I both agree that Frey's has the best coleslaw in the city.  It's much better, even, than Stein's.

Jimmy pulled up an old photo on his phone of the Ali vs. Spinks fight in New Orleans 42 years ago.

"I was only thirty then," Jimmy said.  "Five guys I knew from all over the country, they came down for this fight and I showed them around the city.  They wanted to spend all their time in the French Quarter.  I couldn't blame them."

Jimmy was feeling a little under the weather today so he only ordered an iced tea.  He didn't feel like sitting, either, it made him feel stiff, so he stood and talked to me while taking nips at his iced tea while he told me this story.  He doesn't have much of a waist so he hikes up his pants when it occurs to him.

"Bourbon Street and those blocks off Bourbon, on Iberville and Bienville, especially the riverside ones, they were places where a group of 30-year old guys could get into trouble.  Much more than today.  Today they may as well hand out pacifiers at the door.  Back then you if you wanted to suck on a nipple, you'd ----------"  I'm going to censor this last part.  You get the idea.

Use your imagination to imagine what Bourbon Street used to be like in 1978.  Those were different times.  That's what people still think Bourbon Street is like.  It's not even close.  Ask Jimmy.

"We didn't think anything could hurt us.  We didn't think we'd get sick.  We were wild.  We were bulletproof.  I'll tell you, you could get in a lot of trouble back then, and, we did.  They all got the clap.  They're all dead now.  I'm the only one left."  Jimmy didn't say this with any remorse.  It's just a statement of fact that ends most of his stories.  

"Money can't buy you love in New Orleans.  I told them that but they wouldn't listen.  They sure had a good time, though.  They weren't here for love.  They were here to watch the Ali-Spinks fight and have a good time around that.  The had a good time.  They had a good time and they got the clap." Jimmy chuckled.  "When you're young, you don't know any better.  When you get older you have to remind yourself.  Even then you don't always listen."

I asked Jimmy if he had bet money on the fight.

"Even back then I always bet the long shot for the best payoff," Jimmy said.  "I bet Spinks.  Everyone else bet Ali.  I lost money that night but I'm the only one still breathing."


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Good memories are made in New Orleans every day.  The best memories are made at La Belle Esplanade.  You'll see for yourself.  No one is a stranger in New Orleans.  Everyone is a friend they haven't yet met.

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