Hedonism Heaven

no_stl.jpgDay 2 in N’awlins. Spent a wonderful (but hot) afternoon watching the artists and the tourists watching the artists around Jackson Square, next to the gourgeous Saint Louis Cathedral. Then spent another hour or so at a sidewalk cafe in the French Market area eating cajun popcorn shrimp, drinking the local’s Abita Amber Ale (terrific micro brew), and listening to a jazz quartet workin’ the notes despite the heat.

no_02.jpgTook a walk this evening after dinner hoping to find a nice, quiet place to have a cup of coffee. Being Sunday night, all the coffee shops were closed. So we ended up buying milk at the tiny A&P on Royal Street and were heading back to the hotel to make our own coffee. I thought, “Let’s loop a couple blocks through Bourbon Street and then head back.” Bourbon Street. If you’ve been there, hearing those words will either take you back to a memory you’re trying to forget, or one that you recall with fondness but vow never to repeat that foolishness again! The saying “anything goes” comes immediately to mind when you see Bourbon Street…and we aren’t anywhere near Mardi Gras time. While the music is hot and seems to be coming out of everyfourth establishment, with a true potpourri of rock one place, blues the next, jazz the next, and zydeco on the corner (THAT was by far the best), the real “show” is the drunken tourists and the seedier establishments who try to lure you into to see their shows (and no doubt buy their watered down drinks). They say that during Mardi Gras Bourbon Street literally becomes a lawless strip of hedonistic “fun” where the cops couldn’t control things if they wanted to…a mob mentality fueled by alcohol and an off-world desire to be weirder than the person next to you. More tomorrow night.

Vieux Carre in N’awlins

no_01.jpgGreetings from the Vieux Carre in N’awlins, or in English, The French Quarter in New Orleans. Four-day business pleasure trip with some overindulgence on the side (actually, continually). You cannot stay in the French Quarter and not eat well…unless you never leave your hotel room, and even then, room service is killer. We ate at the Royal Cafe on Royal Street, and dined on the second level balcony overlooking the crazies roaming the street below. The French Quarter is at it’s most fascinating around dusk when it truly comes alive as people seem to appear out of nowhere in all shapes, sizes, fantasies, and intent. A true melting pot of lost souls. The tourists are thick as mosquitoes (in quantity…I don’t know any of them well enough to comment on their mental abilities…) and the locals seem to ignore them for the most part (the locals that live, not work, here). Since today was a travel day, we only wandered around a little bit, and tomorrow we’ll hit the cobblestones and see what kind of mischief we can get into, although one shouldn’t think that out loud here in The Big Easy (a name I’m told the locals hate, but Hollywood loved), who’s history is replete with the worst that can happen in dense urban settings. For all it’s aged, European-like charm, New Orleans has a varied past that belies its touristy image. More tomorrow!