Saturday, May 7, 2011

Evening One in NawO'lins

Laced up and prepared to walk, the car is docked in a parking garage and we won't be seeing it until later this evening. We walked from Bienville to Conti and on toward Jackson Square. Our first stop was a tavern with a blues band playing. A few beers later and we were back out on the street and walking. 

 THE OLD AND THE NEW...skyscrapers in the background in this pic.
The fortune tellers were sitting at their tables, candles lit and cards spread upon the table cloths which were usually a covering made up of symbols of stars and moons on a deep blue sky background. As we walked by they smiled and offered to tell our fortune. We moved along. It wasn't long before a panhandler strolled along with us telling us about how hungry he was and how his home was the homeless shelter just down the street. I moved back from him as the strong odor of alcohol wafted. The husband dug in his pockets and offered him some money and we moved along.

The benches in Jackson Square were a mixture of homeless, junkies, the inebriated and the tourists.This makes for a wonderful place to people watch.  We moved to a metal bench and decided to sit and observe the flow around us. To the right a fellow sat leaned back on the bench, his legs crossed. His hair was past the need of a shampoo by weeks, his clothes rumpled and worn. His face was reddened by too many years of alcohol abuse. His blue eyes, when he opened them to peer through half slit lids were faded and myopically he tried to focus before they lids slid back down and he continued his nap.

To the left a group of less fortunates were sharing a styrofoam container of food. Six of them gathered around and food was passed from one to the other. One of the females wore a bright yellow skin hugging short dress. Her figure was past the date that she was ever going to do anything good for that outfit. A plastic flower was tucked into the V neck of the dress, her hair hung in strings to her shoulders. When she smiled, the one large tooth in the front of her mouth gleamed.
We moved on.

Continuing around Jackson Square, we eventually ended up on Decatur across from Cafe du Monde. The carriages stood empty and the horses had locked in their knees and were napping on the hoof. Artists displayed their projects. I'm not a big fan of art that looks as though a kindergarten child had outlined and painted crudely the faces and places. We moved on.

A man pushing a bicycle was trying to hawk it to a lady. The woman was evidently NOT a tourist and she was loudly berating him as he gave his sales pitch "Thirty five dollar....only thirty five dollar." As she hurried up to and then by him she turned and screamed at him "Get outta my way. You probably just stole dat bike!" She pushed through the crowd and was gone. The proprietor of the camera shop where the man stood with the bike showed interest and the bartering began. We moved along to the next spectacle that was sure to be just up ahead.

The car had been left in a lot on Decatur and our goal at the end of this walk was to recover it. In New Orleans as in most big cities, parking does not come with the room. For 35.00 a night we can valet park it across from the hotel. The tickets for the Jazz Festival are now at 69.00 per ticket per person per day. The last Jazz Fest we attended, the tickets were 15.00 and the parking was 5.00. That might indicate to you the span of time that has passed since we have been back here for this festival. 

We will take a cab to the racetrack where it is being held and call a cab to get back. Parking at the racetrack is 50.00 while cab fare is 5.00. Go figure..After getting the car out of hock we headed for a Walmart to buy some canvas chairs since we had neglected to bring the ones we have back at the house. Beer, snacks, soft drinks and sun tan lotion had to be picked up and we were back to the hotel to leave the car after emptying our shopping items to the room.

Dinner was to be at Tony's on Canal Street. Tony Mandina's is a favorite place to get a home cooked meal. The line wound down the street and around the corner. We moved on. Pascal's next on the list had a longer line, Dinny's was the same and finally we ended up in the long line at Acme Oyster House. After a 45 minutes wait, my feet ached and I was ready to either walk or sit down. We eventually got seated and the crowd was loud and rowdy. Large tables of family and friends laughing, eating and taking candid shots with their cameras elicted  loud laughter. More people watching as we munched on shrimp and oysters.

And then the walk back to the hotel. We walked down Bourbon and watched the crowd. At the cross street where we left Bourbon, four police officers were mounted on four very large horses. The saddle blankets had emblazoned on the edges NOPD. The officers sat astride these animals while a wait staff from one of the restaurants fed the horse maraschino cherries. When she had emptied the cup she carried, she moved back to her restaurant while the tourists extended their hands to pet the muzzles of these beautiful animals. From where I stood they looked huge. I don't get up close and personal with anything bigger then me. One officer cautioned an admirer to not pet the muzzle of the beast he commanded. His horse doesn't care for it. 

I've usually seen the mounted police only on Mardi Gras. Tonight was a bit unusual seeing them guarding the streets.

I'm finally back to the room and ready to take a nice long soak in the tub. My feet hurt. I'm done for tonight.
I'm sooooooooooo done!

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