Thursday, October 19, 2006

New Orleans

I made it!This city is one of a list of places I want to visit (even before the devastation of Katrina and the national awareness). I love Jazz and this is the heartland and birthplace of Jazz!

I couldn't fit it all in. The conference I came for took up most of my time but I did get to wander around a few places. Guess that means I'll just have to go back!

Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter. This where the Mentoring Conference I went to was held and where I stayed whilst I was in New Orleans. This hotel is incredible. I stayed on the 12th floor and there was this amazing gym on the 16th floor(the roof). There was also an outdoor lap pool on the roof. I loved the gym and worked out every day while I was there at least an hour and more sometimes. The hotel was clean, people were organized and kind, and the conference was marvelous.

This was my hotel room. It was nice and cozy. I got to order room service, watch T.V. (haven't done that in a loooong time), and sleep in that amazing bed. Also I got to meet the maid that cleaned my room a few times and gave her a pass along card...who knows.

The famous Bourbon Street. Now I, like most of you, have heard about this street. The Mardi Gras parties, the beads, the balconies, the drinking, the fun, and so forth. This street isn't so bad by day but by night it turns into a modern day Sodem & Gamorah. I'm telling you The Strip (Vegas) doesn't hold a candle to this place.

One night I was walking down the street minding my own buisness checking out the night life (keep in mind it was barely 7:00pm at night) when these three guys surrounded me and were all talking sweet to me and trying to get me to come into this seedly place called "Darling Girls"---YUCKY! I declined, pushed the guy in front of me away and quickly got lost in the crowd. Let me tell you that the place they wanted me to go into had pictures of porn all over the entrance of little 12-15 yr old girls. Just thinking about it now makes me sick to my stomach.

So Bourbon Street with all it's infamy was not my scene...although I did check it out a few times and enjoyed the free jazz music.

This place is famous--or infamous for the jazz musicians that have played in this hall.Originally built as a private residence in 1750, the hall has evolved into a tavern, inn, photo studio and an art gallery. The inside of the hall contains portraits of the musicians who first filled it with the beautiful sounds of New Orleans Jazz.

Preservation Hall opened its doors in 1961. The hall was created as a sanctuary, to protect and honor New Orleans Jazz which had lost much of its popularity to modern jazz and rock n roll. Allan and Sandra Jaffe, the hall’s founders, wanted a place where New Orleans musicians could play New Orleans Jazz, a style, they believed, should not disappear.

Today, over 40 years later, the hall is still going strong. On any given night, the hall is filled to capacity with people eager to hear New Orleans jazz played by veteran musicians in their 70’s and 80’s and younger musicians learning and embracing music that is both sweet and very beautiful.

This is what New Orleans is all about for me! The minute I saw that this conference was being held in New Orleans I knew I had to go. I am a lover of Jazz and have always dreamed of listening to jazz in New Orleans. It loved it! In order to listen to the music you have to order a drink. I asked for something non-alcoholic and the girl said that they didn't have anything. A few minutes and two other waitresses (I guess they don't get the non-alcoholic request much) later they made me some orange juice, strawberry mix drink thingy. I only drank it although it was SICK but well worth the $6.75 it cost just to hear that sax and trumpet melt my heart.

So this is what is looks like without the gazillions of people that will come swarming around this place in a just a few minutes.

This is a very typical pizza/drinking stop you will see all over on Bourbon Street. The margaritas and daquaries are ready-made to go (including the alcohol).

This place had incredible Italian Food. I had their Chicken Caprice and it was such a beautiful night so I ate outside (where the pic was taken). Now before you go screaming at me for eating Italian in New worries. Here's a list of the authentic foods I ate in this festive place:
Gumbo, Jumbalia, Cajun, Po'boys, Seafood, Creole, some stuff I don't even know what they call it, and more.

The restraunt mentioned above was the only place I could find a non-alcoholic drink(and belive me I asked). After being in the city for a few days and seeing all the fantastic drinks all the restraunts make I just wanted to have a fun drink...but I guess they don't make them for people who don't "drink". So I was really happy that they were willing to make me a virgin strawberry margarita.


Curtains and fountains of boas...

I think after being on Bourbon Street after the Saints first football game since Katrina on Monday night (the city never went to was crazy) that this is as close to Mardi Gras as I want to be.

Yes this is me in Pink...and lots of it. This is a one time only deal and so I lived it up.

Some of you may know of my obsession with the name Eliot...well I find it wherever I go!

Royal Street was the street my hotel was on. This street is famous for its antiques and artists.

This me standing in Jackson Square. More about this historic place here. The finger that you seen in the corner of this picture is of the kindest man I randomly met while on my walk to Cafe Du Monde. I was a little lost and asked him where to go--instead of just giving me directions he walked me there and told me a lot of history about the French Quarter. He was very kind and it was great to learn a little about this amazing historic place.

This is a THE PLACE for beignets and coffee. I had some fantastic beignets (didn't so much try the coffee). Beignets are like little scones covered in power sugar...and I mean covered! Check out Cafe Du Monde and all its historic yumminess.

The muddy Mississippi!

Everything is better with Pirates. The street name was orginally called Orleans Alley but was changed to Pirates Alley in the mid 1960's because it was such a popular tourist site (this made it easier for tourists to find...I just wandered upon it). more here

This alley has a lot of folk lore about it. Some say it was a pirate haven but others say it was a place where slaves were sold. Yes, Preston...I did think of you!

These flags were hanging everywhere--and a reminder that hope isn't lost.

And truly I felt the hope in this city!

On Wednesday morning I ditched the closing stuff at the conference and enjoyed the beautiful (and hot) last morning in NO. I decided to go to the Historic Museum of New Orleans. Inside I was given and emotion tour of the befor and after affects of this beautiful city. I wasn't able to actually get out to the destroyed areas becuase of the conference and the rain on Sunday but the pictures in this exhibit were stark, naked, real, and painful to view. What tragedy and sorrow, but what courage, hope, and faith exists in the the hear of Louisiana!

I absolutely loved New Orleans and hope that I make it back here someday. My only regret was that I didn't have anyone to share it with. This place is magical (well some parts of it are anyway). What a trip, what a great conference, and what fun!

1 comment:

Jason Graham said...

Yeah, if you thought pornography was a problem in Vegas... its pretty much worse in Nawlens. I'm glad you got to go... did you meet with the Voodoo lady?