Sunday, December 29, 2019

When You Turn a Corner In New Orleans

You never know what patterns you will find when you wander about New Orleans.  This city is a maze of folkways and traditions, most of them unexplained to tourists.  New Orleans is a welcoming city but it is a city that is always overflowing with surprises.  You never know what you'll see when you turn a corner in New Orleans.

Keep your eyes open in New Orleans and you'll discover all sorts of good surprises.

New Orleans is a glory, glory, alleluia kind of of a place.  Which way do you want to go?  Towards the river or towards the lake?  Uptown or Downtown?  Follow your nose in New Orleans.  When you turn a corner in New Orleans, you never know what you'll find but you can be sure it will be the stuff from which good memories are woven.

We live in a densely woven and richly textured city.  There are no strangers in New Orleans.  Everyone is a friend you are about to meet.  Welcome to the New Orleans state of mind.  Be a New Orleanian in your heart and everything else will fall into place.  Good memories are made in New Orleans every day.

Everyone if friendly in New Orleans.  Everyone says hello.  Everyone is happy to chitchat.  A good city is full of good neighborhoods and good neighborhoods are full of good neighbors.  New Orleans is a good city.  You never know who you'll bump into when you turn a corner in New Orleans.  It will all be good.  

How do you count up your cherished memories?  I live in New Orleans so all I need to do is go out my front door to be reminded of all the good things that have happened to me since I moved here.  You should be able to do the same, even if you only call New Orleans your home for only a few days.  

No one ever says their visit is too long.  It is always too short.  The longer you are here, the more you'll discover to explore when you turn a corner in New Orleans.  You will never run out of things that will make you.  I know.  I live here.  

Your humble narrator.
New Orleans is full of interesting characters and fascinating details.    In a New Orleans state of mind, whatever is possible is probably true.  It is almost impossible to wrap your head around everything that New Orleans contains.  It is very easy for New Orleans to wrap its arms around you.

New Orleans loves you.

A Word from our sponsor:  Visit New Orleans like you live here.  When you are ready to visit this wonderful city we call home, La Belle Esplanade is the #1 place to stay in the city.  We don't say that.  TripAdvisor has been saying it every month since April 2014.  Check our website.  See what we have to offer.  You belong in the real New Orleans.  The best New Orleans memories begin at La Belle Esplanade.  

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The Man At the New Orleans Airport

Who is the Man-at the-New Orleans-airport?  No one knows his name.  He is a cypher wrapped in a trench coat.  Like The Shadow, he sports a wide brimmed black fedora hat.
The Man-at-the-New Orleans-airport on Tuesday.
The Shadow.

No one knows the Man-at-the-New Orleans-airport's name.  Like the Spider, though, he lives a life of mayhem and havoc as he saves the day against the forces of evil.  Well, actually, there isn't that much havoc at the airport.  It a pretty smoothly-run operation over there.

The Spider.

When Jimmie Benoit dropped his lollipop in the air conditioning vent, the Man-at-the-New Orleans-airport gave him a new one from out of his pocket.  Then he gave him another lollipop: it was a orange Tootsie Pop.

When Lyla Pham couldn't find any straws, the Man-at-the-New Orleans-airport canvassed the food court to fetch her not one, but, two---one for the airport and one for the air.

When Lionel Edwards was shy twenty-four cents for bus fare, the Man-at-the-New Orleans-airport gave him not only a mint-condition Louisiana commemorative quarter but also a shiny new Sacagawea dollar.

Before Lady Gaga's plane had landed, the Man-at-the-New Orleans-airport made himself known.  The paparazzi chased him instead of Ms. Gaga.  She arrived at her hotel unmolested for a relaxing vacation in the real New Orleans off the usual tourist radar.  She didn't spend all her time on Bourbon Street.  

A photo of a random New Orleans hotel.
When one of the baggage handlers was stung by a bee on the tarmac, the Man-at-the-New Orleans-airport was there in a flash to administer an epi-pen.  He slipped a prophylactic spare epi-pen in the poor fellow's pocket.

That time the bomb-sniffing dog couldn't decide which way to go, the Man-at-the-New Orleans-airport tugged on his leash to Terminal Foxtrot, the secret terminal that is underground.  The bomb was never detonated, thanks be to the mysterious Man-at-the-New Orleans-airport.

When the bonfires had burned out on the levee on Christmas Eve, the Man-at-the-New Orleans-airport commandeered one of the klieg lights on top of the control tower.  He signaled to Santa the way to New Orleans and a happy Christmas was had by all.

When a stork landed, exhausted, at the edge of the Park-n-Ride lot, it was the Man-at-the-New Orleans-airport who took a speeding cab to deliver the baby at Touro Hospital.  The mother asked how she could thank him.  The Man-at-the-New Orleans-airport said that his mother's name was Felicity and he thought that would make a nice middle name for the baby.

The Man-at-the-New Orleans-airport is not a celebrity.  Most people don't believe he exists.  If you go to the same spot every day, though, at 3:00PM (New Orleans time) you'll find the Man-at-the-New Orleans-airport in the same exact place, in the same exact position.

The Man-at-the-New Orleans-airport on Wednesday.

When the clock strikes 3:01, the Man-at-the-New Orleans-airport springs into action.  He has touched the lives of thousands, yet no one knows his name.  Don't worry if you run into trouble at the New Orleans airport.  The Man-at-the-New Orleans-airport, like the spirit of Christmas, will be there.

AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR:

If you are looking at a small hotel off the usual tourist radar, we can only recommend to you, La Belle Esplanade.  With only five suites, your New Orleans goodwill ambassadors are standing by to assist to offer personalized hospitality and a chance to visit New Orleans like you live here.  There is more to New Orleans than Bourbon Street.  The best New Orleans memories are made on our street.  LaBelleEsplanade.com.  We only have five suites so plan ahead.  We fill up early during busy seasons.  Go to our website and make a reservation.  We're here for you.

Monday, December 9, 2019

The Walls Have Eyes in New Orleans.

Your guardian angel is watching.  The walls have eyes in New Orleans.  Let your conscience be your guide.

Houses are drafty in New Orleans.  Everything was built to be cool, with air moving from room to room even when the doors are closed.  Every seam is crookedly joined in New Orleans.  There are cracks that let the light of day in everywhere.  Nothing is airtight in New Orleans.  The whole city is wide open.  Dirty laundry gets exposed to sunshine.

New Orleans gives you something to think about.  The walls have eyes in New Orleans.

Peek-a-boo.
There used to be a whole district of glass eye workshops along the New Basin Canal, near where the Independent Caveau Wine Bar is now.

What a part of town that is!  After it rains the dirt in that neighborhood is all sparkly from all the broken glass eyes that have been ground into the mud.  Back in the day, the glass eyes were packed in straw and piled onto mule carts.  The roads were just as bumpy then as they are now.  A lot of glass eyes were lost en route to the port.

Word gets around in New Orleans.

In New Orleans, we don't do anything we wouldn't be proud to tell our mother about.  I know you know the reputation New Orleans has as a city of debauchery.  Unless they're working, the people you see on Bourbon Street don't live in New Orleans.  Those are your neighbors, from where you're from.  Go ahead, ask them where they're from.  100% will tell somewhere outside New Orleans.  It's the same in a whorehouse, too.

The walls have eyes in New Orleans,  You'll meet the nicest people when you are here.  Turn a blind eye in New Orleans during Mardi Gras season and you'll be blindsided by a wallop of Mardi Gras beads.  New Orleans packs a punch.  Be on your best behavior in New Orleans and New Orleans will love you back.  Home is where the heart is.  Good memories are made every day in a New Orleans state of mind.

A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR:  La Belle Esplanade is a small hotel off the usual tourist radar that practices craft hospitality on a personalized level.  Nothing is off-the-rack, out of a jar, or squeezed from a tube at La Belle Esplanade.  You have two New Orleans goodwill ambassadors standing by to share our part of this wonderful city we call home.  You should read La Belle Esplanade's blog (we recommend it) and you can follow La Belle Esplanade on Facebook to keep yourself in a New Orleans state of mind.  When you are ready to visit New Orleans like you belong here, you belong at La Belle Esplanade.

Friday, November 29, 2019

The Blue House on Lafreniere Street in New Orleans.

For most of its length where you would visit, London Avenue has been renamed A.P. Tureaud Avenue.  There are broken splinters of London Avenue remaining, however, lakeside of North Broad Avenue, what everyone calls Broad Street.

London Avenue still exists, on both sides of the London Avenue Canal, in bits and pieces, here and there.  There is a famous blue house on Lafreniere Street where it dead-ends against the London Avenue Canal, along one these leftover scraps of London Avenue.

New Orleans can be a confusing city, especially if you go to the places that most people don't go to unless they live in those neighborhoods.  The best parts of New Orleans are the parts where people live.  Ask them.

It takes a long time to get familiar with New Orleans.  There is more to New Orleans than the French Quarter and the hotels around the Convention Center.  There are the New Orleans Saints who play in the National Football League, and, then, there are your everyday New Orleans saints who live out their lives on the streets of New Orleans, in the neighborhoods.  They are our neighbors.


The blue house on LaFreniere Street, New Orleans, Louisiana.
There is a blue house on the corner of Lafreniere Street and London Avenue.  I don't know the name of the neighborhood.  I'm sure the people who live there can tell me, and, when they do, I'll never have heard this neighborhood name before.  Why?  Because we live in a sweet onion of a city.  There are more layers than any geographer can ever uncover.  

I could tell you the story of Nicolas Chauvin de la Frenière, Jr., after whom Freniere Street is named, but, it's a long and complicated story that will just take up too much time to make sense and, when I'm finally done, you'll be wondering why I spent so much time telling a story that doesn't make any difference, anyway.  I'll spare you.

Let me tell you why London Avenue was named London Avenue:  It's because they needed a catchy name French speakers could remember.

Let me tell you why the London Avenue Canal is named the London Avenue Canal.  It's because it was originally planned to run the length of London Avenue.  It still does, but the canal is cut off at the North Broad Avenue Pumping Station #3.  After Broad Street, the canal ends and the street that used to bear its name is called A.P. Tureaud Avenue, named after Alexander Pierre Tureaud.  There is a statue of A.P. Tureaud on A.P. Tureaud Avenue.  It is one of the first things I discovered my first day in New Orleans.  It is where A.P. Tureaud Avenue intersects with St. Bernard Avenue, riverside of the abandoned Liberty Bank building, lakeside of the Autocrat Club.

You'll never see the London Avenue Canal.  It's behind a levee topped by unscalable concrete walls.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains the canal.  The Corps has beefed up the infrastructure since the federal levee failure during Hurricane Katrina.  It won't happen again.



The bright blue house on Lafreniere Street remains, rebuilt, a symbol of tenaciousness, of being comfortable in the shadow of danger.  The bright blue house on Lafreniere Street is a symbol of determination, resilience, good cheer, Mardi Gras spirit.  This is New Orleans spirit.

You never know what you'll find when you turn any corner in New Orleans.

A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR:  La Belle Esplanade is a five-suite personalized hotel off the usual tourist radar where you can explore and experience New Orleans like you live here.  Check out website and read out blog, there, too.  Keep yourself in a New Orleans state of mind.  When you are ready to visit this wonderful city we call home, you know where to stay:  LaBelleEsplanade.com.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

New Orleans State of Mind (Part II)

Be yourself.  That's the New Orleans way.  If you can't be yourself in New Orleans, who can you be?  In a city of kooks, cranks, crackpots, eccentrics, larger-than-life characters, caricatures, legends, chefs, debutantes, royalty, captains, big shots, big chiefs, and big dreams, everyone has a place in New Orleans.  Ask anyone who lives here.  Welcome to the New Orleans state of mind.

Be yourself in New Orleans.  That is all anyone expects.  Be the best self you can be.  Everyone will root you on.  

Seraphim, cherubim, thrones, dominions, virtues, powers, principalities, archangels, and angels find New Orleans a pretty sweet spot.  One of the Buddha's fingernails is in a stupa in New Orleans.  Ponce de Leon was off by 600 miles.

Why do people choose to live in New Orleans?  Some psychologists will tell you that it's because they have a death wish,  ICD-10 code F43.25.  As the DSM-V defines it: "Adjustment disorder with mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct."  There is nowhere else like New Orleans.  New Orleans brings out the best in people.

Maybe, one night, you'll find yourself wandering down a lamplit street in back-a-town New Orleans.  The air will be heavily pregnant with possibilities while you whistle past the graveyard.  Do I smell ginger?  Look at the sidewalk:

The streetlight flickered off when I took this photo.
And, then it flickered on, again.
Who would paint a graffiti picture on the street of a whale chasing a paint brush?  And, who would take the time to paint it so that it looked like the sidewalk was the ocean?  This artist was a real artist.

What is the meaning of this strange sign?  Why would a whale chase a giant paint brush over the seven seas to get to New Orleans?  Ask yourself that question in a New Orleans state of mind.  The answer will be obvious.  There are many mysteries in New Orleans.  This is one of them.

Nothing is censored in New Orleans.  This is a city where Rex is King.  Misrule is the order of the day.  

When you enter the New Orleans state of mind, you enter an epic.  History unfolds in New Orleans through every one of us in a New Orleans state of mind.  There is no such thing as loving New Orleans too much.  We are all in this story forever.  When New Orleans calls, you've got to answer.

A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR:  When you Visit New Orleans, you should visit like you belong here.  You do belong here.  La Belle Esplanade is a five-suite craft hotel on a beautiful and historic street close to the things tourists want to see, but in a real New Orleans neighborhood where you can get a quiet night's sleep and explore the authentic New Orleans off the tourist radar.  


Famous for run-on sentences and good conversation over breakfast, your New Orleans goodwill ambassadors at La Belle Esplanade will help you learn what it means to really fall in love with our part of New Orleans.

La Belle Esplanade only has five suites so plan ahead.  We tend to fill up early during busy times of the year.  Here is our availability calendar.  

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

A Typical New Orleans Day

The breeze blew by a moment ago and I smelled the sweet, sweet waft of New Orleans oleander.  It isn't the time of year when oleander is in bloom.  It's almost December.  It's 72 degrees at the end of November.  Cajuns are getting ready to fry their turkeys for Thanksgiving Day.  Hooooo-ee, there is nothing so nice as a typical New Orleans day and today is pretty typical.

The past is always present in New Orleans.  Even autumn contains hints of spring.  Nothing is dead forever in New Orleans.  Our city is a city with tenacious grit.  Come hell or high water, New Orleans forever.  Living in a bowl below sea level in the sub-tropics, whatever happens is a typical day in New Orleans.  We never know what any day will bring.

Open up your nose in New Orleans and you'll have to open your heart.  

New Orleans smells like April freshness every time of year.  Something is always in bloom.  In November, when New England is fiery golden brown, the breeze in New Orleans carries traces of faraway pollen along the city's convoluted street grids, and the breeze picks up all sorts of other beguiling floral scents along its way.  New Orleans smells ineffable.  Somebody should figure out how to bottle New Orleans air and sell it.  

A light breeze on a November afternoon in New Orleans is a thing to take for granted only if you live here. We live in a city of small epiphanies and magical moments.  Sanctus, sanctus, NOLA.  Revelations are around every corner.   

Walk past a kitchen in New Orleans and you'll be hungry for more. Pass up the chance to win big at the race track?  No way.  Listen!  Can you hear that tuba player, that way?  Listen.  There are trumpets, too.  It's a parade.  Let's join in. 

There are horses in this parade, too.
---
I bumped into Jimmy at the parade.  He was using a cane but he's looking well.  He danced like he was 50 years younger than he is.  We rolled together for about three blocks but then I had to peel off because I had to write this story.

You never know what will happen on any day in New Orleans.  This is just a typical New Orleans day.  Nobody ever says their visit to New Orleans is too long.  It is always too short.  The longer you are here, the more you'll enjoy unpredictable days like today.

A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR:

La Belle Esplanade is a small hotel in New Orleans that sponsors this blog.  If you are thinking of visiting New Orleans, we hope you will consider staying at La Belle Esplanade.  You belong here.  Check out our website and see what you think.  When you're ready, we're here for you.


Thursday, November 21, 2019

New Orleans Flowers

When New Orleans dreams, the city dreams in technicolor and surround sound.  New Orleans' streetscape is a dreamscape.  You never know what you'll find when you turn a corner in this kaleidoscope of a city.  When New Orleans is good, it is very good.  When New Orleans is bad, it's even better.  New Orleans flowers bloom in all sorts of colors.


Make a wish.

You don't have to tell me what it is.  I don't need to know.  Carry that silent wish in your heart.  In a New Orleans state of mind, what you need is what you'll get.  You belong in New Orleans.  Even the worst day in New Orleans is better than the best days in Paris.  New Orleans flowers smell sweet.  Open your nostrils.



Inhale.  Exhale.  Soak up authentic New Orleans.  Live here.  Love here.  Laugh here.  Look around.  You have friends in New Orleans. 

Nobody is a stranger in New Orleans.  Everybody is a friend you are about to meet.

Something is always in bloom in New Orleans.  The very air is perfumed.  You have your boutique New Orleans and you have your down-and-out New Orleans.  Everyone is lucky in New Orleans.  New Orleans is a city of parti-colored flowers.  

Mantle in the sitting room in La Belle Esplanade, the #1-rated place to stay in New Orleans since April 2014.

Make a wish in New Orleans.  It is sure to come true.

A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR:  When you visit New Orleans you should stay at La Belle Esplanade.  La Belle Esplanade is the small New Orleans hotel that will respect your intelligence.  Visit New Orleans like you belong here, because you do.

Monday, November 18, 2019

New Orleans Makes You Good Crazy

When monkeys get the jitters, they've got New Orleans on their backs.  There is only so much Heaven and so much Hell that this wonderful world or ours can contain.  New Orleans has got you covered.  Sleep the sleep of the contented in New Orleans and dream sweet New Orleans dreams.  In an authentic New Orleans state of mind, you are the pearl in the middle of an oyster.  New Orleans makes you good crazy.


My favorite painting in the New Orleans Museum of Art at the end of our street.

New Orleans memories are the best memories.  The luckiest people alive are the people who call this wonderful city home.  We get to make good New Orleans memories every day and in every way.  When we go home, we're still in New Orleans.  We are New Orleans.  We soak up the stuff from which good memories are made and we live it out.  New Orleans is us.  Sanctus, Sanctus, NOLA.  Who Dat!  

Everyone who lives in New Orleans lives here by choice.  New Orleans makes you good crazy.  Everyone who lives here had to make a conscious decision to move back after Hurricane Katrina, or, to move here for their first time to be a part of this giant sociology experiment of rebuilding what has justifiably been forever called, "America's Most Interesting City."  Defend New Orleans.  Vive la Nouvelle Orléans!

NEW ORLEANS MAKES YOU GOOD CRAZY.

Everyone who lives in New Orleans is in love with New Orleans.  If we didn't love it we wouldn't be a part of it.  If we didn't love New Orleans, we would live where you do.  No offense intended.  I'm sure you live in a nice neighborhood with good schools.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Don't be ashamed.  Good on you.  I mean that sincerely.

Welcome to New Orleans.  New Orleans is very different from anywhere else you've ever been.  It can be confusing but, in a New Orleans state of mind, good memories are made when the city unfolds serendipitously at its own pace, in its own way.  Be prepared for pleasant surprises every time you turn a corner in New Orleans.  Don't overplan.  If you are bored in New Orleans, you must have a hole in your soul.

Every day takes care of itself in New Orleans. Come Hell or high water, New Orleans will endure forever.  New Orleans has more pluck than a turkey or a duck.  If you want to sample a slice of Heaven on Earth, you'll spend a week in New Orleans.  Nobody ever says their visit is too long.  The longer you are here, the more you'll realize how much more there is to discover and explore.  New Orleans is an onion, one layer under another, under another, under another....


New Orleans makes you good crazy in all the best ways.

La belle de l'Avenue d'Esplanade en la cité de La Nouvêlle Orléans, Louisianne en les Etâts-Unis.


A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR:  Once upon a time, two lovers who were young at heart visited New Orleans. They stayed at La Belle Esplanade and every year forever after they come back to this small hotel where one proposed and the other accepted.  They live happily ever after, spending every anniversary in New Orleans.  Every anniversary at La Belle Esplanade.  There are worse ways to spend your time.  I know.  I live here.  


La Belle Esplanade is the small New Orleans hotel that respects your intelligence.  If you want to find out what it means to fall in love with the real New Orleans, La Belle Esplanade has been the #1-ranked place to stay in New Orleans since April 2014, and #2 in the U.S., and #16 in the world.  Visit New Orleans like you mean it.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Angels in the Details in New Orleans

Gloria in excelsis NOLA.  There are angels in the details in New Orleans.  Everywhere you look, you'll find sanctifying grace.  If your heart goes where the wild goose goes---and who knows where the wild goose goes?---you'll find yourself in good company in New Orleans.  There are no strangers in New Orleans.  There are only friends you haven't yet met.  


The Hosts of Angels in New Orleans, Louisiana.

At the intersection of Humanity and New Orleans Streets, there are two water meter covers, side by side, with faces chalked onto their faces.  None of the faces match up.  New Orleans is like that.  Nobody has a perfect match in New Orleans.  We love the city that we're with.  Love makes this Crescent City spin round and round like a jazz record, baby, right around.

There are angels in the details in New Orleans.

Everybody is happy in New Orleans, even upside down.  Everything is relevant.  There are angels in the details in New Orleans.  Every single one of us is relevant in New Orleans.  We are all in this together.  Glory, glory, glory be New Orleans.  Once you catch New Orleans fever, it's hard to shake that bug.  There are angels in the details in New Orleans----that is why our football team is named The Saints.  Who dat!!!

New Orleans is calling you.

Listen to New Orleans whisper in your ear.  Really listen.  Listen.  Close your eyes and listen closely, and you will hear an ode to joy.  New Orleans loves you.  New Orleans has the spirit that will inspire you to learn what it means to fall in love with this wonderful city we call home.

AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR:  La Belle Esplanade is the #1 small hotel in New Orleans that is interested in sharing authentic New Orleans with our guests.  Larger chain hotels want to keep you on their property to buy drinks and eat there, use their wi-fi, anything they can charge you for.  They aren't so much interested in sharing the city with you.  At La Belle Esplanade, our luxury suites are beautiful and our curated breakfast is complimentary, as are the conversations and advice, and the wi-fi, but, if you want to hang out in your room, there is a whole wide wonderful city out there.  Go out and explore it.  Have adventures.

The reason we don't have "Inn" or "Suites" or "B&B" in our name is because La Belle Esplanade is not in the business of selling beds or in selling breakfasts, no matter how good our beds and complimentary breakfasts are.  We are small artisanal hotel that makes personalized recommendations.  Your visit to New Orleans shouldn't be about where you stay, it should be about what you do.  Welcome to the authentic New Orleans state of mind.  

If you come to New Orleans and just sit around your hotel, that's, really, kind of sad.  Go out and have adventures.  Our neighborhood is very interesting and full of pleasant surprises.  You never know what you'll find when you turn a corner in New Orleans but you know that it will be good.

La Belle Esplanade is in the business of helping people make good New Orleans memories that will last them the rest of their lives.  Not too many people lie on their deathbed smiling about that time they got drunk on Bourbon Street.  

Our website is LaBelleEsplanade.com.  Check it out.  There are a lot of things to read and videos to watch over there.  






Thursday, November 14, 2019

Time Stands Still in New Orleans

God put time in a bottle and then he poured it out over New Orleans.  It's a wonderful world.  Blessed are the poor in spirit because their's is the Kingdom of Heaven.  In the meantime, we have got New Orleans.  Sanctus, sanctus, NOLA.


Statue of St. Peter Claver on the corner of N. Prieur and St. Philip Streets.


TIME STANDS STILL IN NEW ORLEANS

New Orleans is a city that is both universal and predominantly Roman Catholic.  That said, the oldest Greek Orthodox Church in the Western Hemisphere is in New Orleans


Patron Saint of France and, by adoption, New Orleans Louisiana

New Orleans has a particular fondness for St. Joan of Arc.  Whether people are particularly religious or not, or Catholic or not, they reserve a special place in their hearts for the Maid of Orléans.   People I know do, at least.  I can't speak for everyone.

The Krewe of Joan of Arc rolls one of the parades that opens the Mardi Gras season every year.  Your humble narrator is a member of La Krewe de Jean d'Arc.  Time stands still in New Orleans while traditions, once started, march into a better future.

Organizations abound in New Orleans, religious and otherwise, respected and nefarious.  New Orleans culture is densely woven and richly textured.  Everybody know everybody, and, if they don't know them then they know somebody who does.  Everyone has a reputation in New Orleans.  We have our sinners and we have our saints.  Which would you rather be?  In a New Orleans state of mind, there is room for everybody.

No matter your denomination, even if you're an atheist, you'll find a spire within sight that will inspire you in New Orleans.  The city is chockablock with churches.  There is even a church of yoga.


Somebody else's motor scooter parked on the side of The Church of Yoga in the 7th Ward, New Orleans, Louisiana
The various churches' parishioners find their church's robust community a good thing.  



TIME STANDS STILL IN NEW ORLEANS


The City of New Orleans is full of slack power lines, leaky pipes,  clogged storm drains, potholed streets, treacherous sidewalks, social vices, and rampant voodoo.  It's no wonder people in New Orleans like to take refuge from the world around them in a church.

I don't mean to make New Orleans sound awful.  It's not.  Sanctus, sanctus, NOLA.  Angels consciously choose to reside in New Orleans.  When New Orleans was founded, the name Philadelphia was already taken.

Time moves differently in New Orleans.  It often seems like time stands still in New Orleans.  Values are different.  This is not the most efficient city in America.  New Orleans is, however, the most unique city in America.  It is better to stay a week in New Orleans than a week in, well, I don't want to offend anyone----you now what I'm getting at.  There is nowhere else like New Orleans.


Follow people's eyes as they look to the skies in New Orleans.

New Orleans is a city in which past, present, and future mix it all up in front of your own eyes, and you're a part of it in the heat of the moment.  You have to be in it to believe it.  In a New Orleans state of mind, everything is possible.

And, now a word from our sponsor:  La Belle Esplanade is a small artisanal hotel, you can call it a B&B if you want to, that specializes in making personalized recommendations about authentic New Orleans.  Two New Orleans goodwill ambassadors will share a curated breakfast with you and share what it is like in this wonderful city we call home.  La Belle Esplanade only has five suites so we fill up early during busy seasons.  Plan ahead!  Here is the link to La Belle's calendar.  La Belle Esplanade is the small New Orleans hotel that respects your intelligence.  You belong here.

Monday, November 11, 2019

New Orleans Days Are Sweet

New Orleans is eye candy.  You never know what you'll find when you turn a corner in this wonderful city we call home.  New Orleans days are sweet and New Orleans nights are sweeter.  A week in New Orleans is insulin for your soul.  


No one goes hungry in New Orleans.  New Orleans satisfies every appetite.

In a city ladled and layered with both sinners and saints, the leaven is in the dough and all the stains will come out in the wash.  You will either love New Orleans or you'll hate it.  One way or the other, you'll come out on the right side of history.  Most people love New Orleans.  What's not to love?

Welcome to the authentic New Orleans state of mind.  A good life is what you make of it.  Pity the poor fool who has never visited New Orleans.  To know New Orleans is more than almost like being in love.  New Orleans is the real deal.  New Orleans days are sweet.

In a New Orleans state of mind, devils hitchhike out of town and no one gives them a ride.  They hoof it all the way up the road to Baton Rouge.  

In a New Orleans state of mind, some stray thought will lodge in your brain and you'll keep thinking about it and thinking about it until it turns into a fully fledged poem.  It is easy to become a bard in New Orleans.  New Orleans days are sweet.  Ours is a city full of inspiration and flights of fancy.  In a New Orleans state of mind, you'll have wings.


Every day is sweet in New Orleans.

Would you like to learn how pralines are made?  Would you like to know how to cook with a roux?  Do you know how many variations of gumbo there are?  How many variations of étouffée?  New Orleans is a kaleidoscope for the the senses, all of the them: touch, taste, sight, scent, sound.  There are other senses and appetites that New Orleans satisfies.  Come see for yourself.  Sweet New Orleans days are the stuff from which good memories are made.

There are worse things than being lost in a New Orleans state of mind.  If you are lost in New Orleans, you will find yourself here.  Listen to your heart.  Let your conscience be your guide.  Every minute in New Orleans, every moment, is sweet.


Love has no speed limit in New Orleans.

A word from our sponsor:   La Belle Esplanade is small craft hotel on a beautiful and historic street in New Orleans.  We only have five suites so we offer personalized service and recommendations about whatever interests you in this wonderful city we call home.  Price is what you pay and value is what you get.  If you want to experience authentic New Orleans, La Belle Esplanade is the small hotel that respects your intelligence.  Come as you are and discover what it means to fall in love with the real New Orleans.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

New Orleans Triangles

Believe it or not, there are AA meetings in New Orleans.  The symbol of AA is a triangle in a circle.  There are love triangles in New Orleans, too, too many to list here.  Geographically speaking, there are plenty of New Orleans triangles worth mentioning but we're only going to talk about one of them today.  It is one of New Orleans' hottest neighborhoods.  It is the Fairgrounds Triangle.  

A beautiful New Orleans morning in the Fairgrounds Triangle.

Of all the many New Orleans triangles, the one I love best is the Fairgrounds Triangle.  I love it more than even the Marigny Triangle.  A lot of people do.

I walked our dog today in the Fairgrounds Triangle, probably the least known of New Orleans' triangles.  We walked between Onzaga Street and Castiligone Street.


New Orleans is a city of triangles.

You'll never guess what the dog and I saw.


We saw a parade of plastic pink flamingos:


We saw a cat taking a nap in the sun:



We found peace of mind.  New Orleans triangles are like that.  They have equilibrium.  It is always a centering pleasure to stroll along New Orleans streets.  Everyone is friendly.

A Word From Our Sponsor:  La Belle Esplanade is a small, five-suite hotel located in a colorful mansion on a beautiful and historic New Orleans street.  We are a ten-minute walk from the Fairgrounds Triangle.  During Jazz Fest, we're a ten-minute walk from Jazz Fest.  If you are looking for a place to stay where you can experience the real New Orleans off the usual tourist radar, you should consider La Belle Esplanade.  


Saturday, November 2, 2019

Who Writes About New Orleans?

New Orleans brings out the best in playwrights while it brings out the worst in novelists, except for the young Ann Rice, perhaps.  New Orleans produces a mixed bag when it comes to poets.  New Orleans encourages the worst of self-dramatizing tendencies, purple prose, and lots and lots of gratuitous adjectives and adverbs.  New Orleans will encourage a novice writer to feel like a master while scribbling twaddle.  When you run with the dogs in New Orleans, you'll often end up with a pile of doggerel.  Who writes in New Orleans?  Anybody with a laptop.  It's always been that way, even when the laptop was a crow quill pen.

Every day blossoms in front of every house, every morning, in New Orleans.

YOU CAN'T SWING A BROOM WITHOUT HITTING UNE ARTISTE IN NEW ORLEANS.

Who writes this blog about New Orleans?  I'm not going to reveal the identity of your humble narrator.  It won't take much effort to figure it out.  A quick delve into this blog's archives will soon make our author clear.  It's obvious.

Matthew King dislikes writing about himself in the third person.  He much prefers first person, first-hand, accounts of his adventures in this wonderful city he calls home.  He will sometimes write in second person to address you, dear reader.  Thank you for stopping by the blog today.  It's nice to see you.

New Orleans has a secret.  It's hidden in plain sight.

New Orleans is not a finished opera.  Nor, is New Orleans a failed project.  New Orleans has been an ongoing sociology experiment for 300 years, even more so since Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans history is a story of growth and decay, of repairs and more repairs, of rebirth and renaissance.  The New Orleans story is as old as human nature and it is just as inspiring.  

In a New Orleans state of mind, even angels make mistakes, thinking they are still in Heaven.  In a New Orleans state of mind, there is nowhere to go but up.  New Orlean is The City That Care Forgot.

When you love New Orleans, the world loves you.  We are all God's children.  Saint Augustine had New Orleans in mind, though he didn't put it in those terms.  New Orleans was founded in 1718.  That's 300 wonderful years.

Color is all around in New Orleans.  No one is afraid of color here.

Who writes about New Orleans?  People who love this city.  They can't get it out of their minds.  You should visit and get New Orleans into your mind.

A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR:  If you want to learn more about the real New Orleans that inspires people to write about it, there is only one place to stay to get an authentic New Orleans experience.  Visit like you belong here.  La Belle Esplanade is a small, five-suite, artisanal hotel that has been ranked the #1 place to stay in New Orleans since April 2014---and, the #2 small hotel in the United States---AND the #2 small inn in the whole world.  You can choose a lot worse.  Check out La Belle Esplanade's website and blog.  It's "The Best-Written Blog in New Orleans."

When you are ready to visit New Orleans like you mean it, you now know where to stay.  La Belle Esplanade is the small New Orleans hotel that respects your intelligence.

Monday, October 28, 2019

New Orleans Witch Houses

It would be rash to say that there are a lot of witch houses in New Orleans.  Despite the neighborhoods' reputations, there are far fewer witch houses in Tremé or the 7th Ward than anyone thinks are there.  Everyone knows a couple of New Orleans witch houses but the way to take a census isn't to ask everyone you know how many witch houses they know and then add up the answers.  


A New Orleans witch house.

A lot of people know the most popular witch houses.  Just because 20 different people know the witch house on Perdido Street, that doesn't mean there are twenty different witch houses.  There are, however, more than one, even it the number isn't as high as the guide books lead you believe.  

People who live in New Orleans know how many witch houses there are.  It doesn't take a genius to figure it out.  Spend enough time in this wonderful city we call home and you'll figure out a lot of things and ways to get by.

The New Orleans witch houses in Tremé and the 7th Ward aren't tourist attractions.  They are so far off the usual tourist radar that when tourists do find them, they are lost.  Your typical New Orleans tourist wants to get his or her voodoo from a French Quarter voodoo shop.  About all the supernatural your typical New Orleans tourist can take is a drunken ghost tour through the French Quarter and having his or her cards read in Jackson Square.  

The rest of New Orleans is not the French Quarter.  It's better.  It's more magical.  


A New Orleans witch house?  It's still under construction.

The real New Orleans is where people live out their lives by working, loving, laughing, raising families, burying parents, forging friendships, celebrating Mardi Gras, making ends meet, making good memories, nurturing traditions, being a part of this giant post-Katrina social project of rebuilding a great city better than it was before, improving the best parts and making the worst parts much, much better.  New Orleans is very, very good.  The best is yet to come.  We're going to have the best Mardi Gras ever next year.


This is not one of New Orleans witch houses.

From the outside, New Orleans witch houses are pretty quiet places.  Some nights, when I'm walking my dog at 1:00AM, we'll run into people standing outside a witch house.  Apparently, no vaping is allowed inside.  I do the talking while the dog sniffs about.  The dog never barks at a New Orleans witch house, his guard is down.  Everyone I talk to seems like a solidly okay Jane or Joe, solid citizens.  They are as angry about AirBnB taking over New Orleans' neighborhoods, the Sewerage and Water Board dysfunction, and the collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel as much as anyone.  


The Secret of New Orleans Witch Houses


I've been in my share of New Orleans witch houses.  It has most times been a dull affair.  One of the owners of one particular witch house, Josephine, who I knew from Liuzza's-by-the-Track, wanted to talk to me about the meaning of life.  "Uh-oh!" my conscience said.  My conscience was right.  Josephine and I had Barq's root beer and deviled eggs for an hour while she cayenned me with questions that I did my best to answer vaguely.

That's the way it's gone most times I've been in a witch house, except for the times when it wasn't like that at all.  I've got some good New Orleans memories about those good times.

There is nothing ominous about New Orleans witch houses.  Most of the people who run them are harmless kooks.  I'll take a kindly eccentric over a malevolent one, any day.

A Word From Our Sponsor:  

Speaking of kindly eccentrics, today's blog is sponsored by La Belle Esplanade, a small, five-suite artisanal hotel located on a beautiful street on the boundary between New Orleans' Tremé and 7th Ward neighborhoods.  

There is nothing wrong with visiting like a tourist on your first trip to New Orleans.  When you've gotten the French Quarter out of your system, though, we hope you'll consider La Belle Esplanade, the small hotel that respects your intelligence.  La Belle also is home to "The Best-Written Blog in New Orleans."  Check it out and keep yourself in a New Orleans state of mind. 

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Barracks Street Jawbreaker

Hoo, boy.  Where Bayou Road intersects with Barracks Street there's a triangular lot.  The building on the Johnson Street side of the triangle used to be a grocery store, a greengrocer with general store sundries and a butcher counter with a bar in the back.  Your typical New Orleans corner grocery back in the day.

Barracks Street may be the most undeservedly unlauded street in New Orleans.

For years after Katrina, the building was a fence installation office.  Times change.  You'll know the building when you see it.  Barracks Street, like Bayou Road, is a very interesting street.  Barracks Street, like Bayou Road, has a lot of history most professional historians overlook.  

Professional historians, especially the ones who teach in schools, but, also, the kind who write best selling books and have podcasts, or, who show up to offer opinions on TV shows about ancient aliens, or ,who did nothing more but get themselves some accredited sheepskin, they got their smarts from burying their noses in books.  A real historian, an agent in the field, he or she is out and about like Indiana Jones, discovering history and putting all its pieces together.  Academia isn't always academic.  There is history all around us in New Orleans.

The Barracks Street Jawbreaker was a particular kind of hard, round candy made by a certain Juliette Mirabeaux.  She lived on Barracks Street and that how this candy got its name.  References to it appear in the local newspapers, the New Orleans Bee, the City Item, the Picayune, the Mascot, the Times-Democrat, etcetera.

There was a popular song at one time called "The Barracks Street Jawbreaker Rag."  Hoochie-coochie girls used to dance to it.  

In Creole society, it has never been polite to chew gum in public.  People could smoke cigars or pipes, even cigarettes, eventually, even women, and no one will bat an eye.  It's like a cocktail at lunch.  To chew gum, though!  Someone seen chewing gum in public can be ostracized from all the good couvillons and Mardi Gras balls.  Who would want to associate with a common, sloppy gum-chewer?  Nobody.

Instead of chewing gum, polite Creoles from good families started to suck on jawbreakers.  Sucking a jawbreaker was the vaping of its day.  Nowadays, they just vape instead of chewing gum.  When it comes to chewing gum in certain echelons of New Orleans high society, New Orleans may as well be the city-state of Singapore.  The two have almost nothing else in common besides their weather.

Juliette Mirabeaux was toasted all over New Orleans as "Queen of the Barracks Street Jawbreakers."  She had a secret recipe.  She went to her grave with it.  She is buried in St. Louis Cemetery #3, in Restaurant Row.  

All sorts of house-industry jawbreaker confectioners set up shop on Ursulines Street and on Bayou Road.  They tended to cluster on either side of Claiborne Avenue.  Juliette Mirabeaux was the only one on Barracks Street.  Her central location as well as her secret recipe cemented her reputation.  Give the people what they want.

You can still find a Barracks Street jawbreaker today, but not in any store.  Sometimes, you'll find them for sale in a jar at a snowball stand but the only really reliable source is a huck-a-buck lady.  They aren't cheap but they aren't expensive, either, considering the product.  A Barracks Street jawbreaker is fossilized New Orleans ambrosia.  Someone has replicated Juliette Mirabeaux's recipe.  It's addictive.

Sometimes, someone really will break their jaw while consuming a Barracks Street jawbreaker.  It is an interrupted consummation.  Even with a broken jaw, while waiting for an ambulance to arrive, the jawbreaker addict will wrap what's left of his Barracks Street jawbreaker in a handkerchief to save it for when he gets out of the hospital.

There are hundreds of stories like this in New Orleans.


New Orleans is full of intriguing things.

A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR:

Today's installment of the New Orleans State of mind is brought to you, as usual, by La Belle Esplanade.  If you are thinking about visiting New Orleans, we hope you'll consider staying at La Belle Esplanade.  

Thursday, October 24, 2019

New Orleans Hoodoo Signs

Call them signs, call them sigils, call them chicken scratchings or illiterate art, but, for the purpose of this article, we're going to call them New Orleans Hoodoo Signs.  They're everywhere.  Here is Exhibit A:


New Orleans Hoodoo signs seen in Mid-City, New Orelans.


You can find chalk drawings and finger-scribbles in the dirt all over New Orleans.  When you look down while you are walking in New Orleans you'll discover a multitude of details most people overlook.  Keep your eyes open.  New Orleans is full of overlapping charms.  The city is like an onion.  The deeper you get into New Orleans the more dense it gets.

There is voodoo in New Orleans.  Like love, voodoo is in the air here.  

Keep your eyes open in New Orleans.  Keep your eyes open for colors and voodoo.  Keep your eyes open for New Orleans hoodoo signs.  It could be something so innocent-seeming as a hopscotch court scratched onto the asphalt, or it could be something so diabolical as your full name as it appears on your birth certificate written in pig blood on the inside of every window of your house.  That last one is the worst.

Sometimes it's a joke, a lark, a prank.  Sometimes its a scam, a hoax, an advertising gimmick.  Most of the time it's a gang of kids between the ages of 11 through 14 having a good time at someone else's superstitious expense, except when it's not.  When it's not, it's a real curse.  Real like your name is written in the Devil's address book to take you to where you deserve to go.  It is so real there's no mercy.  

It's no walk in the park when someone curses you with some real New Orleans hoodoo signs.  Brrrrr.  Even only the thought of it will give anyone with any sense the shivers.  

New Orleans hoodoo signs come in many variations:


Some people say the Chariots of the Gods landed in New Orleans.

Sometimes you can tell what they mean.  Most of the time you can't.  Who knows?  Somebody does.  If you tallied up all the unexplained accidents that bloom like skunkweed every day in New Orleans, and you compared that to the number of New Orleans hoodoo signs around the city, I expect you would come up with a 2:1 ratio.  Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.


A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR:

La Belle Esplanade is a small hotel located on a beautiful and historic street close to all the tourist action but far enough away to be immersed in the real New Orleans where people live.  Visit New Orleans like you belong.  You do belong here. 

They run an excellent blog over there, too, in case you're interested.  The focus is a little different but it's all pure New Orleans state of mind.  Be a New Orleanian when you're in New Orleans.
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