NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Most of my blog posts are about travel abroad. But every once in awhile, I travel within the United States and fall in love with a city. One such city is New Orleans. I visited with a girlfriend recently for Jazz Fest and was completely enlivened by the music, food, and culture. Staying in the French Quarter, I was right in the middle of beautiful architecture and storied history. There was such a dynamic energy surrounding me on Bourbon Street every night, but what pulled me in most was the incredible jazz around every corner. Between the famous Preservation Hall venue, Jazz Fest, and Frenchman Street, there was always something going on. I was unable to walk a few blocks without encountering some new performer. Naturally, Anita Baker blew me away at Jazz Fest, as she always does. I even saw live jazz at an old record store!
One always needs a cocktail or a glass of wine to go with a jazz performance, and the fresh peach daiquiris and frozen Irish coffees around town were perfection. After a few daiquiris and some jazz, I had to explore the famous NOLA food! I had Beignets at Cafe du Monde of course, then branched out. My first fried green tomato was a revelation. I will never admit how many I ate during my stay, but I’ll just say I found myself going through severe withdrawal upon my return home.
The fried chicken pot pie at Turkey & The Wolf IS as good as they say. As I sit here writing this blog post and eating a sad desk salad, I find myself dreaming of New Orleans Po Boys and fried green tomatoes. Also can someone please explain what an alligator pie is?
Other than food and jazz, Voodoo is a huge part of New Orleans history and culture. I went to the fascinating voodoo museum to learn about it’s roots (but not before my mother’s essential warning not to let the bad voodoo energy in). I even went to a local psychic to have my tarot cards read for fun! Without knowing anything about me, my business, or my love of travel, the psychic made a point to emphasize my strong creative energy. She mentioned the influence of international travel in my life; supposedly a foreign person will also show up or be introduced to me in the near future. One of the last cards I picked was the Ace of Coins, which is apparently the greatest indicator of financial success in the deck (great news)! While it was meant in the spirit of fun, the tarot card reading was more meaningful to me than I had anticipated; as I remembered that my friend Chris read my tarot cards right before he passed away. And this “silly reading” actually inspired a hopeful twinkle of magic, one that is hard to miss in New Orleans.
That magic is reflected in this blog’s design. The dazzling light and vibrant hues of the 1st Dibs neon art pieces are inspired by ever-illuminated neon signs of Bourbon Street. The iridescent lunar rug represents the infinite nightlife. The records and art pieces call to mind the historical jazz of NOLA, while the Edelman skeleton pillow and antique sculpture conjures up images of voodoo. Finally the curves and angles of the furniture and lighting are a play on the French Quarter architecture.
AFTERWORD: Through an arbitrary recommendation from a local, I just happened to find myself at Cafe Reconcile on this trip. This is also where I got adventurous and tried delicious fried turkey necks, among other things. I was recently watching the late and beloved Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” New Orleans episode and he happened to mention this restaurant, where they teach at risk students, often from difficult situations, to cook; an extremely admirable endeavor. As Anthony mentioned in this episode, “I am a sentimental fool”. In that spirit, I want to thank him for being a constant reminder that taking risks in travels enriches life. He instructed viewers to never be afraid of the people and places we are not familiar with; something I think is so important to remember in our current political climate. Exploring other cultures should always be done with respect, empathy, and compassion. Here’s to you Anthony, and what you taught us.
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