New Orleans Day 2

Andrew, our waiter at the Red Grill Fish, used to be an English teacher.  He came down to New Orleans, signed a lease,and was told New Orleans City Schools no longer needed English teachers.  “Its okay,” he told us, waiters have more fun and make more money.

Maybe- but with great alacrity, he served us a delicious meal.

Myra told me she had a brought an umbrella.  We wouldn’t need it- the forecast was for fair weather.

Wrong-  we woke up to pouring rain, and a note from the women across the way that we should stop taking her personal balcony chairs.  Myra smoked standing up and I went for a walk.  I brought my winter jacket which had a hood.

The French quarter had its charm in the rain.  Few people to block the view in the narrow streets.  I walked to ye olde Walgreens, bought Myra a birthday card and took a different route back.  A truck with a loud speaker blasting Iko Iko (which I expected to hear continously but heard for the first time) passed, then cops on motorcycles.  I asked the cop what was going on- “a foot race,” he replied.

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Running in the rain

And then a very wet runner flew past us.  “He’s running his ass off,”the lady cop told the one standing next to me.

“You would be too if you were running in the pouring rain,” he replied.   I watched a few more soaking wet runners go by, and decided it was time to find a hot cup of coffee.

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Jackson Square

Myra awake, we walked over to Jackson Square (guide book- cell phone debate continued- even though it would be really hard to miss Jackson Square with neither)> Myra felt in mandatory to have chicory coffee and beignot at Le Monde, so we sat for a cold, damp half hour and ate fried dough drowned in confectioner’s sugar and drank coffee.

The weather reports promised the rain would abate by the end of the morning. It didn’t. We bought a combination ticket to the two museums on Jackson Square, the Presbytere and and the Cabildo. Both well worth seeing even if the sun was shining. In the Presbytere, so named becasue it was once part of the rectory of the Cathedral, we saw an exhibit about Katrina. The horror felt even more real having just been Sandy and watching the hi tech exhibits explain how our current policy’s make the situation even worse, didn’t make me feel any better. On the second floor we cruised through an exhibit on Mardi Gras. Its the little things like the souvenir tossed coconut shells, and the collections of over a hundred years of commemorative pins that made the exhibit especially charming. The concierge in the hotel, told me there was a much more elaborate Mardi Gras museum (and read expensive as well) but this one he like better because you could get up close to the things that made Mardi Gras, Mardi Gras.

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Mardi Gras Crown and Scepter

Myra got hungry. We had lunch in Stella’s. Later I read that Tennessee Williams wrote a Street Car Named Desire on the very next block, so I am assuming that is where the name came from. I could be wrong. I didn’t ask. The siblings at the next table complained that they were always interrupting each other stories. I pointed out that we had been doing that for over fifty years.

The second museum provided a short tour of four hundred years of Louisiana’s History. On the other side of the cathedral from the Presbytere it is located in the building where the Louisiana Purchase was signed. There were signs about a cell phone audio tour put together by an eighth grade class. Some of the stations worked, some didn’t. None the less I was impressed by the ambition of some local eighth grade teacher. It was a very nice museum and the third floor window afforded me my first non-airplane view of the Mississippi. I was busy snapping pictures of the Carnival Ship sailing of to the Caribbean, when the museum closed and I got kicked out.

Myra had ditched the museum somewhat before closing, so I attempted to follow the walking tour backwards. Not so easy, but I did managed to see US Mint, Preservation Hall, the blacksmith shop (now a bar) where the pirate Lafete fenced his stolen goods, and a less raunchy section of the French Quarter shiny after a day of rain in twilight. At a street corner a few utility trucks worked on something or another. I noticed one of the workers was wearing a FDNY cap. So I commented on it. He got it, he told me, when he went up to New York after Sandy to help out.

The French Quarter at Twilight

The French Quarter at Twilight

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