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Posts tagged ‘Louisiana’

Color Your World:120 Days of Crayola; Red

 

Red Trolley of New Orleans

Red Trolley of New Orleans

Well as would be expected there is much ado about Red with Crayola! Red has been part of the Crayola Collection since the beginning, 1903. There are several interesting names for Red in other Crayola Collections too such as: Candy Apple Red in the “So Big” set, Lobster Red and Mercury Red in the “Discovery” series, Scarlet Red, found only in the “Scarlet Pimpernel” set, and Crabby Red in the “Colors of Baltimore” series. Lobster Red is the color for Maine in the “State Crayon Collection” and it is known as Ladybug Red in the “110th Anniversary” Collection. But, my all time favorite, for Red, is Alice’s Lipstick in the special “Colors of Binney & Smith” set.

So I’m thinking Alice, who was dead tired, after her night of singing the blues in a Jazz Club in New Orleans, slowly painted on her bright red lipstick before leaving the club and boarding this bright red trolley, to trudge back to her family, who needed every nickel and dime just to eat.

This post is just one of many in the Color Your World: 120 Days of Crayola Challenge

Check out some of the other 150+ challenge participants, it’s amazing what we have done with the Crayola colors!

 

Absinthe, Pirates, History and the NOLA Charm

St Louis Cathedral

St Louis Cathedral

There are two ways to get to the center of  The French Quarter from our spot in Marigny; stroll the seven blocks on Chartres St to St Louis Cathedral or take the Loyola-UPT Streetcar that ends near us at the French Market.

The French Market Streetcar

The French Market Streetcar

During our stay we do both. From the French Market  we get off the streetcar at Dumaine St and walk a couple of blocks to our first stop, the Cafe Du Monde, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week!

Cafe Du Monde

Cafe Du Monde

A large area of indoor/outdoor seating, the cafe is packed. The menus are imprinted on the napkin holders. The choices are coffee, soft drinks, orange juice and two sizes of beignets, either 3 or 6, smothered in powdered sugar. That’s it! I really can’t see what the hub-bub about the place is, but every time we passed by the cafe it was full. It’s been a landmark in New Orleans since 1862. 

Jackson Square

Jackson Square

 

Jackson Square, NOLA

Jackson Square, NOLA

Continuing on we come to Jackson Square and behind that the beautiful St Louis Cathedral, the oldest continuously operating church in the US, built in 1720, rebuilt in 1789, becoming a cathedral in 1794.

St Louis Cathedral, NOLA

St Louis Cathedral, NOLA

St Louis Cathedral, NOLA

St Louis Cathedral, NOLA

In front of the church on a wide band of street there are small booths of fortune tellers, ice cream vendors and musicians. Stepping inside the church we get relief from the heat and humidity which is quickly rising.  Leaving the church and turning right  and then right again we are on a small cobblestoned alley with St Anthony’s Garden behind the church. This alley is known to the locals as Pirates Alley. 600 feet long and 16 feet wide it is not listed on many of the maps of the French Quarter. The smell of New Orleans is more intense here, a smell of damp vegetation and a faint woodiness lingering with the latin rhythms, salsa music and blues coming from the corner.  This corner was infamous for settling duels and debts of honor.  Jean Lafitte, the famous pirate, who provided services to any country at war against another by attacking their ships, brought the booty to town and the goods were sold in the alley. Eventually the Spanish Colonial Prison called the Calabozo was built on this corner in 1769. Lafitte and his men were jailed here by Governor Claiborne of New Orleans.  The prison was demolished in 1837, and the land was sold to make a long creole house which was the home of William Faulkner, where he wrote his first novel ”Soldiers Pay.”  The creole house is now home to the Faulkner House Books. Now at the intersection of Pirates Alley and Cabildo Alley, where the prison was, is the Pirates Alley Cafe, known for caribbean drinks and absinthe.

Pirates Alley Cafe

Pirates Alley Cafe

Traditional absinthe was made of anise, fennel and wormwood (a plant) with added herbs and flowers making it green in color. The herbs and spices were soaked in alcohol and then distilled. The drink called la fée verte, (Green fairy) in French, was thought to be highly hallucinative also. Yes, drinking a couple of those today one might see fairies and pirates! 

One afternoon, not far from Pirates Alley, we made our way to the Grape Vine Wine Bar and Bistro. We spent a lovely afternoon wine tasting and choosing cheeses from the cheese board. Then we were served large portions of appetizers. I had the crab cakes and they were fabulous. The ambience and service in this bistro is outstanding.  With seating indoors or out this was our favorite spot in the old French Quarter.

 

Grapevine Wine Bar and Bistro

Grapevine Wine Bar and Bistro

Grapevine Wine Bar and Bistro

Grapevine Wine Bar and Bistro

Another highlight of New Orleans is the WWII National War Museum. Traveling by way of the Canal Streetcar, switching to the St Charles Streetcar, we got off at Lee Circle and walked the rest of the way to the museum. The large museum is separated into different buildings and exhibits. Upon entering the ticket building in the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion we were greeted by veterans who are here every day and volunteer their services at all of the different venues. It was truly inspiring to see so many retired serviceman still giving of their time.  Our first stop was the “Train Car Experience” where we boarded a train re-creating the tearful farewells and bittersweet returns of the men and women who went to war. Then we went upstairs to see the “America Goes to War,” “D-Day Invasion of Normandy,” “The Landing Beaches,” and the “D-Day Invasions of the Pacific.” All the exhibits were interactive and very interesting. One of the highlights of the museum was the short movie, “Beyond All Boundaries” produced and narrated by Tom Hanks. The movie is a journey of words and stories of actual WWII participants. The Solomon Victory Theater, where the movie is shown, has a screen 120 feet wide, with 9 digital cinema DPL Projectors. (a regular theater has only one) There are 27 surround sound custom speakers and 250 special effects theater seats that shake when the tanks are rolling by! Many of the props used to make the movie come alive are authentic pieces of equipment. There are 305 archival photographs and 517 film clips of actual footage shot during the war. You will not want to miss this special attraction.

Going outside the exhibits we looked at a WWII Victory Garden complete with posters! 

The other feature that I enjoyed was the “USS Tang” experience. Upon entering the submarine we are given actual sailors’ ID cards.  Using the ID of the sailor, we were assigned to his station and duty in the sub.

Submarine Sailor ID's

Submarine Sailor ID’s

We had an interactive encounter recreating the last war patrol of America’s most decorated submarine in WWII! What a great time we had visiting the museum! There is the Stage Door Canteen and the American Sector Restaurant to eat in and then to wrap up our day we were entertained by the Marine Corps Band of New Orleans, part of the Memorial Day Concert Series. New Orleans has so much to offer; great food and drink, stunning architecture, history and perseverance. I think you will enjoy including NOLA to your list of  “Not to Miss.” Enjoy!

 

To B or Not to B: That was the Question

 

Marginy BnoB

Marginy BnoB

Fleur-de-Lis

Fleur-de-Lis

In the past week I returned from a 5 day stay in New Orleans. I have never been before. When I first mentioned going there, SB’s remarks were, “I went there in college, you won’t like it.” My daughter went this winter for a conference and texted me, “Mom, you won’t like it.” Really? “What’s there not to like, I asked?”  

“The drinking, that’s all anyone does there.” 

“You mean like during Mardi Gras?”

“Yep.”

Then I started to check out the hotels. Hmmmm…….. They were very expensive with more than the average reviews by unhappy campers. After spending many hours pouring over reviews I decided to look at a different venue. Hmmmm…..  What was the AIRB&B website?   Now this was interesting!  People rent out rooms in their house?   Hmmmmm… I felt uncomfortable about showing up in a strange town AND at somebody’s house, who I didn’t even know!  “Knock, knock, I’m here, glad to meet you, show me my room!” So I typed in “private apartments.”  One looked very promising, the  Marginy BnoB in the Frenchman Area.

The listing stated, “I am and have been a “New Orleans Public School Teacher” for 27 years. I have 3 children and 1 grandchild. I own a double shotgun house in New Orleans. I converted part of it as a bedroom for my daughter. When she moved out I converted to a Bed no Breakfast. I look forward to meeting new people ”

I liked her sense of humor and I liked the reviews I read about her place, so I booked it. The owner, Ginger, sounded responsible, the location in a residential neighborhood looked good, and the price was VERY REASONABLE. I looked forward to the trip!  

Marginy BnoB was perfect! It was a Double Shotgun House, a long narrow house with a door at each side of the rectangle, revealing twin houses, divided by a center wall, one of the very popular style homes here. Our side consisted of a private entrance,  large living area, with TV, microwave, coffee pot with tea/coffee and bottled water,  and  large bedroom area with a bathroom. Everything was spotless.

Marginy BnoB

Marginy BnoB

The Living Room

The Living Room

Marginy BnoB

Marginy BnoB

Showing us around and making sure we had everything we needed, we asked her if her house had been affected by Hurricane Katrina. She told us how the Marigny Neighborhood was the highest point of land in New Orleans, but she knew that so many others had not fared as well. She was very proud of her Cajun heritage and the recovery process of so many people, especially the children she taught. Then she showed us her fleur-de-lis tattoo on her arm and told me we would see many people with the tattoo.  The tattoo represented perseverance and solidarity after Katrina.  Talking with Ginger was like going to an old friend’s house, and after giving us the layout of the land she returned to her home next door. She was there if we needed anything. Perfect! For an interesting background on the Marigny Neighborhood read my photo narrative HERE!

Artwork in Marigny

Artwork in Marigny

I was excited about exploring my new digs. I loved all the different styles of homes jumbled into long skinny lots. AND the color! It was a spilled paintbox of brightness!  It was like a box of chocolates, you never knew what to expect.

One of My Favorite Houses in NOLA

One of My Favorite Houses in NOLA

My Other favorite House

My Other favorite House

 We were close to some of the best rated restaurants in New Orleans.  One of our favorites, The Praline Connection, was one block from the apartment. Soul Food/Cajun at its finest! BBQ ribs, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, catfish and one of the side dishes was my favorite, crowder peas and okra with rice, rice, rice! The restaurants were frequented by locals, standing room only, and the crowds (drink in hand) did not mind waiting in line to get in. New Orleans,  allows the possession and consumption on the street of any alcoholic beverage in an open plastic container. I want to think this started due in part to the intense heat and humidity.

 Another of our favorites was the Port of Call Restaurant.  Here they served their famous Monsoon Drinks (tropical juices, with or without booze) with their specialties of steaks, hamburgers and scrumptious huge baked potatoes with all the trimmings! It was very dark and cool in this restaurant, especially in the heat of the day. You will notice closed shutters on all the windows in New Orleans, even on the doors, which I though a bit odd at first. The shutters are kept closed to keep the cool air in because the heat and humidity are fierce here. We walked the neighborhood at night to get a peek at the chandelier ceilings and the tiny romantic interiors of these homes. It was the only time of day you could actually see inside. Many of the homes had outdoor gas lamps which also added to the charm.

Our favorite morning spot was the Cake Cafe and Bakery. Further up the street we walked through the charming neighborhood to reach this icon on the corner for breakfast. Clearly a local favorite, I could have sat here all day (well until 3pm when they close) just to watch the people. One gentleman and his friend was here every time I was.  He walked with the assistance of a walker and his friend would park the car near the entrance whether there was room or not. When the servers saw them coming they went out of there way to open doors and help him into the restaurant and would quickly find him a seat.  He clearly was a favorite and well known. I was struck by his features, his style of dress, his jewelry, his soft spoken demeanor and the reverence the locals had for him. As I was snapping shots of the cafe, he watched me.  He knew I wanted to take his picture and was hesitant. Then he nodded and I clicked twice. I just love his picture and I bet he has a fleur-di-lis somewhere too! I can’t begin to tell you how many people would pass us on the street and start up a conversation. The people are clearly proud of New Orleans and wanted to make us welcome. 

Cake Cafe and Bakery

Cake Cafe and Bakery

Interspersed among the restaurants were the jazz clubs, crayfish boils, and a small neighborhood grocery that would have given the small Italian markets I love so much, a run for their money. 

So, I was very impressed with our first venture with AIRB&B. But, I was greatly moved by the people of New Orleans and their motivation to keep their lifestyle alive and well. Next…… What else did I do and see in New Orleans?   Yes, I reluctantly left Marigny to see other neighborhoods in the city. Part 3 NOLA is next to come! Enjoy!

 

A Word a Week Photo Challenge: Orange

I’ve just returned from NOLA!  What a great time we had there! So here is my post for “A Word a Week Photo Challenge”: Orange! Check out the post I did on Exposure with more pictures of New Orleans! It’s Part 1 of a series!  Enjoy! I certainly had a fab time!

 

"Shotgun House" in Marigny District, NOLA

“Shotgun House” in Marigny District, NOLA

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