Friday, 9 August 2013

New Orleans

Goodbye Cayman, hello New Orleans! I love having a window seat when flying into a new place. Looking down and getting the lay of the land as we descend. New Orleans airport was a pleasant surprise, I could get used to flying domestic here. So little hassle. The new look Miami airport was also great, not too much of a wait at immigration and a small wander round and we were on our next flight.

Later from JFK Terminal 5 I write. Let the adventures begin, I really enjoyed New Orleans. Initially Jane and I were a bit disappointed with the French Quarter, quite sleazy and grubby with lots of homeless folks hanging around on the streets. We got to buy a homeless man breakfast, his story is a whole post on it's own. For now, the sightseeing and music.

Talking to the locals is always the best option to find out where to go. They were polite about Bourbon Street until we shared that we didn't like it that much, weren't impressed by the underlying desperation of those peddling sex and clubs and cheap drinks and ordinary music. It didn't have a good feel to it.
The locals sighed and agreed then pointed us to Frenchman Street.

They were right, the first night we didn't quite walk far enough, the next night we enjoyed fantastic food and music at The Mohito. The best crab cakes I've ever had and the scallops, yum. The poor waiter got us kiwis on his first night on the job, we were kind once we learnt that. The jazz was great, with guests from the audience joining the band at times. We decided to wander off after a few drinks and made it down to the Maison. It was rocking with some amazing music.

Again, folks from the audience joining for sets while the regular band members had a break. There was a man in a loud Hawaiian shirt who we had seen at the first bar waiting in the wings. He was amazing on his battered trumpet, the young man on his EWI (yes that's what it's called) was also fantastic on the drums, the guitarists changed regularly. The thing that we both noted was the passion with which all these musicians played, obviously enjoying jamming with their friends and making music together. Definitely places to revisit.

Wandering home, Bourbon Street had come alive a bit more, still sleazy but at least there were folks having fun. We got a ride on a bike taxi and of course got chatting with the lass peddling us to Frenchman. She was really interesting, enjoying her outside job picking up tourists and taking them places. Much better than waiting tables it seems.

The French Quarter is similar to any city that has a French or Spanish influence in it's past. The streets were not cobbled but the architecture was familiar. On our last day we learnt much more about why this was during a visit to Laura, a Creole plantation. A very interesting history that is much older and richer than I had imagined. More about that and our encounters with gators and air boats in another post, we certainly got a lot done in just a few days.

French Quarter street, complete with American flag

In the pantry of a restaurant we dined at. The photo the waitress took of Jane and I eating gumbo
was awful, an instant delete!

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