We’ve moved to Louisiana. It’s taking some getting used to. This is a city that still is recovering from Katerina and, like a lot of big cities; there is a lot of work to be done. Here is a picture of a house at the end of our street that is awaiting rehab:
As out of towners we don’t know our way around. We rely on maps, street signs and navigation. We find that we can’t turn on streets that are one way, or there are missing street signs, or faded street signs, or no left turns, or roads that are in such bad repair that our car could be swallowed up. Sidewalks are heaved, cracked, and missing.
We are staying in mid town. There are few tourists here. When you get down toward the French Quarter or the Garden District or Magazine Street, getting around improves. However, in those areas it is impossible to find a place to park. In many older cities such as this, there is only street parking and we must compete with residents.
Nevertheless, when you do get there, you get it. New Orleans, like Savannah last year has irresistible charm. Those houses with the balconies, live oaks, and magnolia blossoms are oozing with history. They beckon. There are shops with beignets and Turkish coffee. You can get oysters at every corner. Music pours out of open doors and the purple, green and gold of Crescent City shows a lot of civic pride.
The first three days we were here were consumed with Mardi Gras. A parade shut down our neighborhood on March 1 so we arrived a day late. Beads, beer cans, and other evidence of a good time were everywhere. It was cold and rainy but we decided to take the streetcar down Canal Street to see an evening parade on Monday. We arrived at 5pm. The parade started about a half mile away. At 8pm nothing was happening except it was colder, wetter, and my legs were cramping. We went home.
Unfortunately, Mardi Gras was even wetter and colder so we stayed home and watched the Rex Krewe (Rex is the king of Mardi Gras) on TV. We not only stayed dry but learned a lot about the history and tradition of this carnival. I don’t miss the beads.
Ash Wednesday around here is nicknamed Trash Wednesday because that is when the big cleanup begins. Of course, this celebration brings in a lot of revenue to the city and they sure need it to bulldoze all the litter and find a place to put it.
Now the tourists have cleared out a bit. Dave and I can take the streetcar all the way down to the Riverfront and walk about the French Quarter. We’ve been here before so there isn’t the urgency that you’d have if you were a first time visitor here for only 5 days. As in most of our winter retreats, we spend most of our time doing what all residents do: grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, and finding a Wal Mart to pick up Dave’s Humera prescription. Then we walk a block to our local coffee house, sit out on the deck and read. You know the drill.