Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Trip To New Orleans

"New" Style Shotgun House
New Orleans Skyline
Well I can tell you this.  I am no longer "of New Orleans".  Both of my parents were born there, raised there, met there and lived the majority of their married life raising kids there.  The culture was deep in their veins and we were a part of New Orleans.  My grandmother lived on Frenchman Street in the downtown area just off Elysian Fields and Esplanade.  She and her sister Aunt Annie raised the three kids who would be come my Aunt Edith and Uncle Angelo and my father in a double shotgun house that would become part of their source of income to put all three kids into college in a day when that was rare even in the elite of the city.  The boys went to Tulane and my Aunt Edith went to a Normal School in Nachitoches.

But as I ride through the city, looking at the changes in the landscape and the buildings and the people, I realize I am no longer "of New Orleans".  It is no longer a city I recognize.  The buildings my be still there, but the meaning in them has changed.

For those of you who have gone to New Orleans as a tourist, you think of the French Quarter as the Voodoo Shops on Bourbon Street, the bawdy bars and strong red Hurricane drinks.  Or you may think of only the Superdome, which is now the Mercedes Benz Superbowl, ack!

But you still can look down Chartres Street and see the rows of old dilapidated buildings and catch a glimpse of the St. Louis Cathedral.  And see General Andrew Jackson presiding over Jackson Square.  And Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans a couple of blocks over.

When my cousin Karen and I were25 and trying to get some additional spending money, we went down to the French Quarter to sell our macrame hangings and wine racks to tourists and locals, the market was fruits and vegetables off the ships from the Mississippi River and the local truck farmers from out of the parish, as we said.  You could find the most incredible display of exotic and local fish, meats, and vegetables to fill your family's stomach for the week.  Now there was not a single edible thing to be found in any of the three open air buildings, that are mostly not open air any more either.

Tujagues (pronounced Two Jacks) was my dad's favorite restaurant in the day.

On the interstate we passed the St John's Church that set the community ablaze when the parishioners decided to guild the steeple.  If you want to read the history of this centuries old  St John's Church with the gilded steeple click on the link.

A French Quarter balcony remains like it was in my childhood.  They are now fancy apartments.  I would imagine the roach problem is incredible in these places.  They were built in the 1700's.

Horse and buggy rides abound around Jackson Square.

This is the original Cafe Du Monde just across from the St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square.

For those of you looking for old antique plants, look at the Angel's Trumpet I found growing in the rich new Orleans soil on Esplanade Avenue.  It may well be 150 years old.

And we ate at Landry's on the River in front of the French Market.

Shrimp Poboy on real New Orleans bread you can't get anywhere else in the world.  And Frank had Shrimp Creole, that is not sold even as close as Baton Rouge.

But yes, it was no longer the city i grew up in.  I guess time and Katrina changed all that.



  1. Oh, so sweet, and sad. Shame Katrina did not drown the cockroaches.

  2. It's been a VERY very long time since I was in New Orleans. I loved it back then, and could have just stayed there. I guess it has changed a lot over the years, I'd still love to visit again before I'm too old to appreciate it. :) Thanks for posting all those beautiful pictures.


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