Thursday, October 15, 2009

OCT 15 - FRENCH QUARTER, NEW ORLEANS

It was very humid and warm this morning, so when we returned to the French Quarter we took advantage of the golf cart ride to the edge of the complex. President Obama was also arriving in New Orleans to do a "Town Meeting" at noon today which was telecast live. We were fortunate we did not want to leave today, as we were told traffic was going to be a problem.
The tiled street signs on corner buildings have the original names from when New Orleans was the Capital of the Spanish Province of Luisiana. Of course, Bourbon Street is the most well-known street in New Orleans. It is where most of the excitement happens at night - loud music coming from a multitude of bars. People are allowed to carry their alcoholic drinks in the street as long as you use plastic cups.
This is Pirates Lane where duels were once held.
The Rodrigue art gallery on Royal Street showcases this pop icon's work. A Louisiana native, George Rodrigue, originally painted Cajun people and traditions. One of the Cajun myths, the "loup-garour", inspired Rodrigue's most famous series of paintings, the Blue Dog.
His original paintings were on sale for $35,000 and we really enjoyed the gallery and the numerous "Blue Dog" paintings.
This 1817 building has served many uses: an old Orleans ballroom, an orphanage and also school of the Sisters of the Holy Family which was a religious community of Negro nuns who ministered to blacks from 1881 to 1964. It is now a hotel.
There are many of these horse hitching posts throughout the city. There are also gas lights throughout the French Quarter that must provide a dim mysterious look at night in the less lit areas.
Another jazz group performing on the street. Fun to listen to and the banjo player was really good. Click below to get a sample.
video
Madame Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo was fun to check out. When I asked if voodoo was still practised, I was told it was and is a grey religion which can be used for good or evil purposes.
Some of the homes are decorated for Hallowe'en. It must be quite something here on Oct 31st!

Visited Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop on Bourbon Street. This building was built between 1722 and 1732 an is reputed to be the oldest structure used as a bar in the US. The property is believed to have been used by Jean Lafitte, who was a privateer and hero of the battle of New Orleans.
He supposedly used this place as a city base to negotiate prices of the goods he had pirated. Like most New Orleans legends, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop is a gumbo of truth and French, Spanish, African, Cajun and American embellishments. It is this mix of cultures that makes New Orleans so interesting.
The person who put this sign on their door definitely has a sense of humour.
Another interesting tourist/voodoo shop.
This bar's ceiling is hung with bras that are signed by their owners and were left behind.
This tourist shop had a very large 'gator hung from the ceiling and were selling the preserved heads of small alligators as souvenirs. Barry told the one I held up to show him that "I ate your mother yesterday", funny guy. Came back for a swim in the resort's salt water pool and it was lovely to cool down while the palm trees were swaying in the breeze next to us. We enjoyed the hot tub, too.
Mike, Lana and I went back to see Bourbon Street at night when it is closed to traffic. It looks very "mardi gras" with the neon lights, loud music and people walking about with $3 "big bad ass beers". The girls in the adult shops were out displaying their assets in skimpy outfits and very friendly. One place advertised "1000's of beautiful girls and 3 ugly ones". We walked the whole street, then settled in at the Music Legends courtyard where "Steamboat Willie" was performing at the Cafe Beignet and played excellent sets of traditional Dixeyland Jazz. It was a lot of fun, there's definitely no other city quite like New Orleans.
videoWe also saw group of break dancers who requested that people pay for their performance so that they would not have to go back to their other job of visiting our homes when we were not there. The dancer in this video said they had been on "America's Got Talent". You can check out the video.

No comments:

Post a Comment