In these cooler days of fall I think about the warm days in NOLA. New Orleans, and the French Quarter in particular, have always offered warm experiences. From the French and Spanish architectural influence to the food and the people-geared environment with magnolia trees, music, and walkability. It has a flavor that reminds me of home.
The days in the French Quarter are slow. Tourists ramble and vendors go about their business. The aroma of food is a pleasant surprise here and there. And it seems that as a legacy to Jean Lafitte, everyone must have at least one tattoo.
The nights are jovial, fun and entertaining for all the senses. Time is suspended and the party continues on end. Daiquiris, other large and colorful drinks and shots are available at every turn. The mood is of light leisure and decadence.
The early mornings are cleanup time. The sweepers wash and scrub the streets and few people step out at that hour. That is when I’d step out packed with my easel and paint box traversing on freshly washed streets to find the colors of the French Quarter.
After an early jog, I stopped at St. Louis Cathedral for a moment of cooling meditation, pick up my gear and hit the streets, inviting at every turn. The warm palette captured the flavor and for me, the moment and soon to be memories of Royal Street, St. Louis Cathedral, Pirate’s Alley, Decatur, St. Peter Street, Balcony I, and Courtyard Bananas. While I enjoyed the humor of the early birds posing for the canvas on their way to work or the shade of the banana trees in the interior courtyard of an old home, I relished on the flavor of the Quarter. The flavor of ages in an ageless area of New Orleans.
With a stash of canvas mementos carefully packed, I boarded my plane and watched from the window. The city between the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River grew smaller and I bid it good-bye, until my next visit. Laissez les bon temps rouler!