What can you say about New Orleans that hasn’t already been said? It’s loose, lively and lovely, and we arrived in mid-morning on a beautiful cool-ish day for this town.
We spent it in the French Quarter, looking at the wonderful Spanish architecture. Did you know that the reason the Quarter actually looks Spanish is that it was rebuilt after a fire during a time that the Spanish actually ruled this Creole city? I always wondered about that. Did you also know about Romeo hooks? They were lethal things put on the ground floor posts of porches so that young lotharios wouldn’t shimmy up to their lady loves. The standing joke, of course, is that if one went up a Romeo, he would be in danger of coming down a Juliet. Get it?
We had our obligatory Muffuletta sandwich from Central Grocery (where it was invented) sitting on a bench on the river, and also squeezed in the museum in the building known as the Cabildo, where the Louisiana Purchase was signed. We were fortunate enough to see a lock of Andrew Jackson’s hair (The hero of the Battle of New Orleans) and Napoleon’s death mask. All for a fairly nominal entrance fee!
We also were able to stroll through Antoine’s, and see the displays from the Carnival crews celebrating their kings and queens, most notably Rex, the king of them all. We’ve never been to Carnival or Mardi Gras, and even avoided being here for Halloween, so that tells you how wimpy we are around people going all out to have fun. And it sounds like they really do that here. Even the locals cringe when they describe the crowds, so we are not alone.
It’s quite a place. Supposedly Tennessee Williams said that there are three great cities in this country: New York, San Francisco and New Orleans, and that every place else is Cleveland. He had a point, but I guess he somehow missed Jonesborough, Tennessee during the Storytelling Festival.