Last week, I arrived in NOLA. Luckily because of the time change I arrived on time, instead of an hour late. I wandered up and down Frenchman Street, while waiting to catch up with my host. I read in a guide somewhere that the locals have their own style. For what I’ve seen it varies from hipster to turn of the century Carny. A friendly Tarot card reader let me know ahead of time about a fire show in the parking lot behind his table. Until the show I hung around Frenchmen Art Market, which had plenty of interesting wares. I spent most of my time at the booth of an independent filmmaker listening to stories about train hopping and the hobo life-style in the documentary Cure for the Crash. The fire show ended up being pretty amazing too.
Afterwards I walked to the Hi Ho Lounge, where my Couchsurfing host, Brody was planning to attend a XXYYXX concert. The show was sold out and packed out! Luckily, with a mix of buying a ticket off a bystander and knowing the right people we were able to get in.
That night we crashed at a nearby friend’s place. In the morning we left with his dog. Then we grabbed some coffee, visited two parks and played tennis. In the evening we returned the dog and caught a yoga class. I spent some time window shopping on Magazine Street, while my host, Brody attended another yoga class (one is good enough for me!).
By this time it started to rain. Flooding is one of the things I hear New Orleans does best. When we reached our next destination, I jumped puddles in an oversized men’s raincoat. On a quiet residential brick street stood a glowing house covered in lights. This is where they serve free Indian food on Sunday evenings. Families in traditional Indian garb walk out of the side entrance and I enter into a room filled with tables of scruffy artist/student types and Indian immigrants. The air smells of curry and petruli. I was told that you’re suppose to say “Hare Krishna” when they serve you. Brody says it means “Thank You”. I just said “Thank you”.
My family was very concerned about my safety in New Orleans. What ended up being the most frightening thing about New Orleans was driving that night over 23 miles in the pouring rain across the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.
The entire next day it rained, so I worked all day long without any distractions. By dark, it finally stopped raining. An out-of-town friend was playing at the Always Lounge, so we went out to support. The Anonymous Choir, North America and XXXPressionXXX performed. I talked for a while with the twins from North America. Really sweet sensitive guys. The girls from the choir all had their own cute style and livened up the place with their dancing and enthusiasm for the other artists.
Later on in NOLA, I visited the art museum, River Walk and the French Quarter. The French Quarter is pretty tame on a Tuesday night when most everyone out is in town for a therapist convention. The bartender had to remind the patron beside me that at the bar she’s the “therapist”. The two therapists on the other side of my stool giggled over their Oysters Rockefeller about how every good therapist has a therapist, “don’t let them tell you otherwise!” That was a night full of laughter. A random procession of tourists paraded down the street. They passed so fast, I didn’t even have time to catch them on camera. I cracked up so much that I practically spit in the face of a promoter when he asked if I would like to see some male strippers.
I spent plenty of time eating as well. The most memorable meals included a shrimp po-boy and ettouffee at Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar and Cafe au Lait and beignets at Cafe du Monde. On my last day I ran into friendliest homeless people at the River Walk. They asked me to ask them out for dinner. There were plenty of places within walking distance and it would’ve been very safe, but I was concerned about the money. Now, I kinda wish I had taken them out to dinner. LOL. We would’ve had a great time!