Monday, January 2, 2012

Only in New Orleans!


If you lived "only in Louisiana", you might end the year as we did....with a beautiful girl in a white gown presented in a ball ~ an integral part of New Orlean's
culture for the past century...... 

Such an old traditional part of our southern heritage.





Lots of friends along for the fun!


The next morning.....New Orleans beckons ~ come take a walking tour of Jackson square with me!  


I hope you are in shape as there are no elevators here....only winding staircases that have hosted visitors for the past 160 years.


Only the discerning eye would notice the letters in iron scrollwork are P A which stand for Pontalba Apartments....the oldest apartments in the United States...founded by the
Baroness Pontalba 160 years ago!


St Louis Cathedral is a sight to behold ~  personally, I can never stop photographing it. 
If you didn't know better, you would think you were in Europe when looking at this photograph.


Today Jackson Square is bustling!!! I stopped to ask a street vendor what was going on as we are usually in the quarter at this time every year and it is not nearly as active....and here is a piece of good news....THE ECONOMY IS BACK...that is if you are listening to the words of a man who sells drinks off the streets of New Orleans.  He says business is booming and people are out and spending more then ever! It was around 10:30 AM here and he was almost sold out of drinks! 


One of the greatest sights in Jackson Square is the artwork...all styles, types and genres.  The city allows our artists come and sell their wares by just propping them up around the the square...most of the artists actually work on new pieces while selling their current ones.  Watching them create their masterpieces is always interesting.


I was snapping away until I saw the big PLEASE NO PHOTOS through the lens here! Whoops!  I would have gotten closer and taken some better shots if not for that!


I did get a close up of the iron fence and all the paints flecks left from years of artists
displaying thier wares.


As captivating as the artwork is, you can't keep your eyes on it very long when bands like these are playing....besides the artwork and the FOOD....New Orleans has the BEST music and this band in particular was amazing.  It is rare to be in Jackson square and not have any music.  We have seen it all; from one man bands, to lone saxaphone players. vagrant guitar players and the most unique and amazing of all was a man who could play any tune on wine glasses with various levels of water in them.  He would run his fingers around the rims at lightning speed
and play beautiful, haunting melodys.

This guy was amazing  ~ how great is it that you can hear a full ten piece band while you walk around and browse through stores, look at art, and just enjoy the day?


This is what a tuba player should look like....


I love this photo - you can see all the dents and dings in his tuba but it doesn't stop him from playing awesome music.


The band was so good that everyone had to dance...even this cute, old man.  He barely shuffled, but he would shuffle and turn in a small circle....just enjoying himself immensley.


 Isn't he the cutest thing?


During the middle of all the fun, this band member arrived with his drum atop his bike! I guess he just biked right though the quarter like that.....


And this "Saints fan with a cane"....it doesn't take him long to join the fun.


He was another very cute man


He started to dance a jig 


The cane came up and the feet started moving...it almost seemed as if he surprised himself and 
his feet took on a life of their own


I am thinking that he can throw away that cane!


This man needs no explanation!


This photo needs an explanation...I just thought it was a neat compostion and I also thought all the stickers on the tuba were interesting! 

These two men were also entertaining the crowd with lots of dancing antics.


They were swing dancing and just having a ball!


OK ~ lets pull ourselves away from this fun and move on....


Another favorite in the quarter is fortune telling...here is a gentleman having his fortune told.


It looks like she is really giving him something to think about!




Dining on balcony is a favorite...here are some folks enjoying the sights and sounds of the quarter while they partake of a good meal. 


Something that never fails to amuse are the street performers....you will find this 
one particularly enchanting.  

They stand perfectly still until someone deposits some money in their "hat"...




Then they will perform...


and quickly go back to their statutory pose until the next tourist makes a contribution.  



This little boy just made a donation and was facinated by the response.


One of the many artists at work


Now we are moving around the square and what have we here?  Santa!!! Even Santa loves the French Quarter...now we know where he goes once he delivers all those toys! Actually, I was just snapping a photo of the square and saw him through the view finder...I was so surprised that I took the camera down and had to stop and stare for a minute! He just looks like the real deal!



Moving on....the famous Cafe du Monde - OK ~ here is the deal on Cafe Du Monde....first of all, if you come to New Orleans, it is a must - you have to come here for Cafe au lait (coffe and hot frothed milk) and beignets (a special type of doughnut with powdered sugar); second - do not stand in this line...locals know to go to the back, slip in and grab a table; third - do not wear black ...beignets have lots of powdered sugar and only experienced beignet eating pros like us can eat them without getting it all over yourself!  Wear a light colored outfit! 
 And those are the the cardinal rules of Cafe du Monde! 


Another artist at work


Moving around the square you will see the touristy, mule drawn buggys that will give you a tour of the quarter along with lots of history.  A good thing to do if you are a first time visitor to New Orleans.  


We have now walked half way around the square and are looking straight on at St Louis Cathedral and the statue of Andrew Jackson


The gas lanterns are still decorated for Christmas


Andrew Jackson  - the reason we are standing in Jackson square today!


The Pontalba Apartments


Moving on  - in addition to the street performers, artists, musicians, fortune tellers and restaurants there is SHOPPING!  And lots of it....all sorts of eclectic shops are nestled throughout these doors.



No - sorry, you can't  go in ...keep walking!


 Don't stop here either....


Or here...well, it is two for one! Lets go!


That was fun.....Oh look - another street performer!  It's a car....


No, it's a person!


Look how cute this little boy is watching the transformer...even cuter is the expression on the father's face watching his son's delight....


It quickly changed when the transformer came over to the little boy...he was terrified!
Moving on....


Look how adorable  - a street vendor making flower wreaths!


She is actually making them on site - today she is making lots of wreaths for the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 3rd - this one is in the Virginia Tech colors.  This photo really does depict this senairio...a lady who loves her craft, out in the quarter, happy and making others happy....she radiated.


Take that China!


Maybe I am crazy, but I think this is really a beautiful sight...and guess what? If you look closely in the background, you will our fun band - we are back to where we started and since this post is awful long, I think we are going to have to part ways now....I hope you enjoyed the walking tour of Jackson Square and if you haven't been to New Orleans yet  - COME!!!!!!
And if you have...COME BACK!!!!

2 comments:

  1. How fun! I haven't been to New Orleans in years, my uncle lived there for many years.
    Happy New Years to you and I hope 2012 brings you much joy and happiness.

    ReplyDelete
  2. wow, your images are enchanting...my goodness!!

    ReplyDelete

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