Tuesday, February 08, 2005

A love affair with New Orleans

I really love New Orleans, but not at Marti Gras time. One year we were there in May, and had a great time except that it was 93 degrees with a dew point of 77 degrees. It was really oppressively hot. We still had a great time, but I spent a lot of time ducking into the air conditioned gift shops for a breath of cool air. I tripped on a street car rail near the river and took a very bad header right into the cement. I was afraid I had broken a rib I fell so hard. Luckily, the riverboat was nearby and was just leaving for a 2 1/2 hour cruise, so we got on, asked for a towel with some ice in it for my knee and my wrist. It was good just to sit there with my ice and Advil and try to recover a bit. It is the only time in my life I remember falling right on my chest! It was not pretty! It was a horrific fall and I'm very lucky I didn't do a tour of a New Orleans hospital.

Anyway, despite some bruises and aches and pains, we continued on our tour of New Orleans and ate a lot of oysters at the Acme Oyster House in the French Quarter. We took long walks dispite the heat and toured the market and lots of restaurants and bookstores. From there we went to Lafayette and hunted down the Cajun musicians from that part of the world.

The next time we were in New Orleans was Christmas of 2003. Mike and Michelle and George and I had a fine time, and New Orleans is very pretty at that time of year. The Southern charm just oozes through the sparkly lights. One night we ate at Armauds, an very old New Orleans restaurant and we found a little place that was open on Christmas Day and had Jambalaya and Etouffe for Christmas Dinner. We went to the casino and gambled on Christmas Eve, but don't tell anyone. It was fun. I loved the New Orleans Christmas decorations.

Marti Gras is a monthlong celebration in New Orleans, and natives host parties in each other homes and eat King Cake and enjoy in the revelry and parade preparations. Only the tourists head for Bourbon Street.

Tonight, exactly at midnight, the revelers will be ridden out of Bourbon Street by a cadre of police on horseback, and then come the street sweepers and the garbage trucks. All the clutter and debris from a week of drunkeness and debauchery will be swept and washed away, and Lent begins.

I want to go to New Orleans on another trip soon, and see the sights and sit by the river and watch the river barges and shake the powdered sugar out of my hair after eating beignets at Cafe du Mond. Oh, what a great city. It is all it's own!

Happy Marti Gras night, and I'll see you on Ash Wednesday morning.