Coming into New Orleans is like slipping into a hot bath. The city’s arms engulf you in a heat that is just enough to comfort you until the breath of it makes its presence known on your skin. The streets have an energy all their own, sprinkled with bars and shops, doors open wide, cool air whisking through the openings. It’s as though they are trying to suck you into their establishments, luring you with what you perceive to be a reprieve. Air conditioners run full speed, the cool air spilling onto the street, licking you every few steps as you pass by, teasing you, tickling your skin, making the heat all the more intense. It almost makes it worse as you alternate between the warm and coolness of the French Quarter. Even the trees seem to be blistering with the heat, peeling back the layers of their clothing in an effort to cool themselves.
The buildings bulge with tropical plants, thriving in the humidity, their leaves intensely green as they outgrow their surrounding. With little to no yards people pack their balconies with greenery, giving the impression of a green space, high above the streets. Each individual home a luscious tropical garden.
For others it’s the beads that adorn the balconies, dripping from the wrought iron trellis, too entangled for anyone to bother to remove them. Or perhaps its a way for the people here to constantly be reminded of the festivals and parades that NOLA is so well known for, whatever the reason, there is no escaping Mardi Gras and the culture that is so synonymous with New Orleans.
Downstairs the shutters are drawn closed, insulating people from the heat and the hurricanes and plague this area. The stoops providing a way in and a place to sit and watch the people go by as they walk to and from the parts of the city that are crawling with tourists and locals alike.
Trolleys crawl along the streets, pushing the heat back and forth from person to person as bodies fill them up, wide open windows not enough to allure us. We chose to walk, not wanting to feel the heat from another person emanating close to our skin.
Just a couple of blocks from Bourbon Street and Esplanade… that’s where we will begin our daily adventures… for the next two weeks! Some of you are looking for the food that is so intrinsic to our days here…. I would have shared it but we were so eager today… hungry today… and it smelled so good… a cajun crab and shrimp boiled with potatoes and corn on the cob with a little andouille sausage… you’ll have to just trust me when I say it was really good! 😉 Next time I’ll refrain from digging in until I snap a shot or two….