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Guy's Blog

Just one Guy's personal blog of thoughts & sense--common, non, and otherwise--of the world in which we live.

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Location: Nipomo, Central Coast, California, United States

I also blog over at Nipomo News, Messenger and Advocate and Bloggernacle Times

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

My Heart Breaks For New Orleans

I've only been to the the Big Easy, three times--but it was love at first sight. It's a city of life, food, music, and fun. I will always remember it as it was the last time I was there in September 2003. The photos in this post are a small sampling of this last trip, which will now hold even more precious memories. My hope and prayers are that it can recover and will be rebuilt. It is heart wrenching to see the disaster that has fallen on that great city, and its fine people.

When I last visited, I stayed right in the French Quarter, at this lovely hotel, the Palace d' Armes. It was walking distance from all the sights in the French Quarter--most important, in my book was the world famous Cafe du Monde, where they served the world famous

beignets--the world's tastiest pastries. If you don't know what a beignet is, check here. You used to be able to buy the mix online from the Cafe Du Monde website, and try to make them at home. We tried once, but they weren't the same as we bought in New Orleans.

Now, the only place I know, other than New Orleans that makes anything close is Downtown Disney in Anaheim, where the have a Ralph Brennan's Cafe, that also serves beignets.

In Jackson Square, the fortune tellers and other street folk line up early to get a start on the tourist trade that walks the French Quarter nightly. On Decatur street along the river front in the French Market section of the French Quarter you can hire a carriage driver to take you throughout the French Quarter.

Another shot along Decatur Street of one of the many colorful street folk that line the French Quarter on any given night (or day it seems). Above right, is a shot along the water front adjacent to the French Quarter where it meets the Mississippi River. Interestingly it was Lake Ponchartrain that swept into the city from the levee breach, rather than the river.

Above left is the old Jax Brewery also on the waterfront, and off Decatur Street. Above right another shot of the long line of Tarrot card readers and fortune tellers ever present each evening in Jackson Square, just off the French Quarter.

Above left is the waterfront trolley, which you can take all along the water front. Above right, one of the many mimes, who entertain throughout the French Quarter. Some are quite talented.

Above left is The Cat's Meow, one of the dozens of bars along Bourbon Street. It is located at the corner of Bourbon and St. Peter's Streets. If you look closely in the upper right window pane as you face the door, there is a live internet cam, which prior to Katrina would broadcast live shots of people at the corner just outside the bar. One day, it will broadcast again, and the party will resume. Above right, Bourbon Street in the early afternoon, is just beginning to come to life.

Above left is a shot of Pat O'Brien's, likely the French Quarter's most famous bar. Above left is one of the myriad of the voodoo houses in the French Quarter. Everything seems to make some money in the French Quarter.

These two shots above are from world famous Pat O'Brien's Bar in the French Quarter. The left shot is inside their Piano Bar, where dual pianos entertain the patrons nightly. I don't drink; however, I have sat for hours in this bar just listening to the tunes from the dual and dueling piano players, and watching the people. In the left shot you can also see Mr. Eddie Gabriel, aka Mr. Eddie, playing his aluminum tray with thimbled fingers. Mr. Eddie invented that act in 1945 during world war two. He has been a regular at Pat O'Brien's since 1937. You can read a bit of his history with Pat O'Brien's here and here. CNN reported on 9/4/05 that Mr. Eddie was missing, and had not been heard from since Katrina struck. He was 95 when Katrina struck.

Bourbon Street comes to life at night. The left shot above is early in the evening, on Friday, 9/26/03, and things are just getting warmed up on Bourbon Street. You can imagine what it looks like on Mardi Gras. Above right is one of the famous Bourbon Street balconies where many nights you can see more than just beads. You can even rent one of them for your own balcony party.

Above left, another balcony. And above right is early morning on Decatur Street, looking at Jax Brewery. It will be a long journey back for New Orleans and her residents; however, from what little I know about the city and those who live there, they have the love of life and their great city and will compel them to the task. God Bless to all victims of this horrible tragedy, and may they rebuild their unique way of life.


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