Hey, you know what I didn't yet blog about, besides almost everything these days? My brief trip to New Orleans over Memorial Day weekend.
Part one of the Louisiana trip consisted of this project in Baton Rouge. But part two was that I needed a break. I really needed the kind of good time New Orleans allows to roll and roll again.
First, though, I have to show off my most nutrageous thrift store find in many moons.
I shall call this marvelous (Baton Rouge) thrift store find "LAxidermy."
I think it cost either $4 or $7. Usually I remember all my bargain prices because it adds to the enjoyment, but in this case I kind of blacked out in my haste to exchange money for this treasure. All I remember is the guys working at the store chiding me on the way to the counter: "Girrrrl, what you gonna do with them little bitty horns? That's Bambi. We got a 8-point over here!" They showed me that up front there was a mounted full-grown deer head plus a mountain goat head for sale. I explained that I was going home on a plane so it might pose a bit of a problem to bring a full-size animal head.
Incidentally, I had a moment of terror going through airport security to fly home when I remembered I had the antlers packed in my carry-on. They're going to take away my LAxidermy! It would be a tragedy worthy of my own Lifetime Original Movie. But then it breezed through the scanner and I was like, "Oh yeah, it's Louisiana." Knitting needles on the plane? Forget it. Bonelike body part that animals use to fight and stab each other? All aboard!
Anyway, totally worth it. Whenever I need cheering up, I should just remember that I OWN THIS THING NOW.
Despite that treasure, and despite being in one of my favorite cities, many factors conspired against my relaxation. My Budget rental car was not very budget-friendly (but rental agency options were limited with my temporary license at the time). My standby flights might not have come through and if they didn't, I was going to have to alter plans. Cash flow troubles happened and extra charges were levied that didn't have to happen. All this on top of the everyday stress back home.
Still, it was New Orleans, so I came away, as always, wanting more. I got in some times that felt like real living. I sensed that if only I slowed down, so easy to do in the Big Easy, I would start feeling right about the world. It's not an attitude that works very well back in New York, and I think it's also part of what makes this place so hard to leave.
Self-portrait with Ignatius J. Reilly
I stayed in an airbnb rental apartment in a house off of Canal in Mid-City. On my first full day in town, Friday, I walked as much as possible, noticing old architectural details, flowering plants, everything. So many houses looked so pretty I didn't know where to aim my camera. So I only took a picture of this one.
Because of this dangling sign:
This isn't a common sentiment in this city, in my experience.
I sauntered with a big grin not noticing I was heading the wrong way until I was surrounded by graveyards.
Great! I gazed in at the statues and broken tombstones and crypts thinking, "We should name a child choosing from only names found in a cemetery here." Wait a minute--what a morbid thought. And yet perfectly natural.
Fun fact/rumor about the making of the film Easy Rider, which the hubbs' landscape architecture class learned when studying the Treme: during the scene when they're tripping in St. Louis Cemetery, the sound you hear repeating in the background is the pilings being driven in for I-10 (or as my NJ brain insists on phrasing it, Route 10), when they were bringing 10 in through the Treme, destroying what was once an avenue lined by tall trees.
That's just what this construction here on Canal sounded like as I approached the business district.
Food was a maximum priority throughout the trip. I was very grateful that Kevin spent a few hours on Yelp and compiled a list of places we had to try (they came down from Baton Rouge Friday night and stayed for the weekend). The oft-referenced Kev's List™ became the roadmap of the trip.
This Instagram shows the back garden at Sylvain, with its separate kitchen. (I love how painterly it came out.)
I also ate at Blue Dot Donuts, Ruby Slipper (an amazing brunch of shrimp and grits in an Abita-thyme reduction sauce), another brunch at Dante's, insane fried chicken at Fiorella's Cafe, and enjoyed some pints at Boondock Saint and at the gorgeous ancient Tujaugue's bar.
On Saturday we made a quick stop to check out an abandoned Art Deco building, which I posted about on Abandoned Baton Rouge, we tried visiting Dithyrambalina but they were closed (Kevin and Alicia spied Thurston Moore there), and we accidentally drove by Fats Domino's house.
You can tell because it says his name three different ways, including a neon sign.
Speaking of local music, we saw Treme Brass at d.b.a., though it was a "playing for the tourists" show and we were so stuffed with scandalous fried chicken that it was very hard to do anything.
There was even a bachelorette party there. Alas, Frenchmen street has changed.
We went to another cool joint but we ran out of steam. The next day I had to leave, and we lingered on the porch as long as possible until it was time to reluctantly leave once again. With this city, there's always the sense that I've only scratched the surface, and it isn't helping matters that I'm always leaving. I never want to leave.
Here is one example of what I love about this place:
Just flowers growing without anyone trying. Accidental jasmine. Slutty floral tendencies.
Nobody planted that jasmine there; it just grew. There are some fabulous garden designs on the next street over from me in Brooklyn, but they only remind me of how much they must have cost to install and maintain, and how they are not New Orleans.
Also, a postcard-worthy photo like this can happen.
I love New Orleans.