Thursday - March 17 ,2011 Filed in: Journal
Today we left the camp and beautiful New Orleans. It is certainly a city and area like no other, steeped in rich traditions and colorful history. So much of the area is defined by the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, but you rarely see either of them unless you are driving over them or boating.
As you are driving down the highway you can see the mounds of the levy holding back the water and an occasional large shipping vessel. These things are the only indications of the water and its size. You cannot actually see it, but you know it is there. The people are all extremely friendly and polite and the communities are mixed (in every way). Large fancy homes sit next to old run down trailer homes. Beautifully renovated and restored homes are situated on the same block with dilapidated vacant homes, some still bear the red spray paint markings from Katrina.
Sunday - March 06 ,2011 Filed in: Journal
James H. Cohen is one of David’s favorite shops. They have the most ancient coins, guns, knives and memorobelia. David saw an old coin with a man riding a dolphin that he would have loved to make into a ring. The rain continued to deluge the streets outside. The shop keepers were commenting and calling loved ones. Nearly everyone was crowded around the doors looking and commenting. The rain was washing down culverts in the park across the street, shooting sheets of rain into the streets and downspouts from the roof lines that weren’t properly aligned with their drain pipes. Water was pouring onto the sidewalks like a faucet.
I joined the merchants and customers at the store front and took more video. The rain was continuing but we had seen everything in the coin shop twice so we trudged back out into the street, umbrella drawn, looking for the next port of call.
We walked on the sidewalk closest to the buildings until it was clear we were headed into a dip where a huge lake had formed. David would tell me to hold on as we stepped off the curb at each intersection, and he would carry me over the water filled gutter at the curb. We continued to duck in and out of shops all day long. The rain eventually did stop.
This was the most memorable day. One everyone who was there will remember and by which future trips to New Orleans during Mardi Gras will be measured. Even the merchants will recall this day and recount it to future customers.
What a delicious memory! One I will cherish.
Sunday - March 06 ,2011 Filed in: Journal
Yesterday in the French Quarter we experienced the most amazing rain storm. We had lunch at The Napoleon House and had the most delicious spinach salad and shared a roast beef sandwich with gravy. We each had a couple of beers. David helped me finish my first one so I could drink the nice cold one they brought. The restaurant had a wonderfully eclectic feel. It felt a little French and a little Italian with lovely, lively music in the background. The waiters all wore white shirts and bow ties and many of them were older gentlemen, which gave it the feel of an old established place with tradition and reverence. All three sets of double doors were open to the street and every table felt a connection to the street and the activity on it. The space was dimly lit with lights hanging from the ceiling with warm soft light like you would get from an oil lamp. The tables were set close to one another which made it feel warm and casual. People were lining up to get inside. The Napoleon House is more well known by the locals so during Mardi Gras it is easier to get into than some of the other restaurants, even though the food is equally as good.
After our meal we decided to head back into the Quarter just as the rain started to come down. We crowded our way around the tables toward the street where a number of customers were standing taking pictures of the downpour. I took some video also. David raised the umbrella and without a second thought we trotted on down the street, my arm around his waist walking as one, beneath our “wind proof” umbrella. We walked past many tourists trapped in their yellow Mardi Gras rain coats down streets, long thought out in David’s mind, until we reached James H. Cohen on Royal Street.
More on James H. Cohen and Royal Street on my next Journal entry
Saturday - March 05 ,2011 Filed in: Journal
Today is my third day in New Orleans and I’ve fallen in love. The feeling of the air on your skin is slightly sticky and warm and the smell is sweet like some kind of flower, maybe magnolia. David thinks it is the pine trees.
We are staying at the camp which is DB’s fishing home. It is a lovely tropical like home on a canal. The ceilings are high and the walls are painted a tropical green. I’ve seen pictures before, but they don’t capture the feel.
Last night was my first parade. We spent most of the day in the French Quarter, which I will write about later, and we decided to stop by a Japanese restaurant for dinner. We heard a parade would be starting in another hour.
The parade was so much fun. The street was separated by a median strip of grass and the parade went down one side. It was the “Hermes Parade”.
We stood near the road on the grassy median and watched the bands and floats and torch bearers. The torch bearers had a tall metal or iron stick and on the tip of the stick was a coffee can filled with kerosene came down both ends of a cross looking arms with flame. Between the arms with the flame was a metal shield. It looked dangerous. The torch bearers were all black men in this parade. They wore bandana masks as protection from the fumes and danced and twirled and accepted tips from the crowd. For me these men made the parade unique and added that dimension of the all important scent that permeates our memories.
The parade continued one after another. We only stayed for Hermes as the one that followed it was not as much fun and they weren’t throwing as many beads. One parade was still enough to provide enough beads around my neck up to reach my ears.
Monday - February 28 ,2011 Filed in: Journal
When Emily was young she dreamed of what her gown would look like, who would be her maid of honor, what colors they would wear and how she would wear her hair. Then she imagined her home and the beauty and joy it would hold at Christmas time and how happy her family would be and what fond memories they would make. She thought of the children she would have and how they would love her and honor all the traditions she would have made special for them. And what wonderful grandchildren she would have and how they would run to her and give her hugs and warm wishes when she left.
Life isn’t a fairy tale; it takes twists and turns and people don’t always behave the way you wish they would. And so it was with Emily’s life. Dreams change, people come and people go; and despite it all life continues to march on. But, she never stopped connecting with people and loving and searching and reaching for the stars.
Where there is life, there is hope and where there is love there is light and where there is light there is laughter and singing and joy. So, never stop reaching and connecting and loving. For only when we can give our souls away without expectation can we find true happiness and peace.