April 24, 2011

New Orleans: The French Quarter and Street Bands

Today, I'll be posting more photos of our trip last week to New Orleans. (My first, Mark's third. He had been there once before Hurricane Katrina and once directly afterward, in 2006.)

Here are the various posts on our trip:

1) Wonderful Food and Restaurants
2) The French Quarter and Street Bands
3) The Garden District
4) Shopping, Books, and Miscellaneous
5) People and Animals


We arrived in New Orleans on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. CT. After eating dinner at K. Paul's Louisiana Restaurant (see previous post for photos of the great food we consumed with joy), we walked a bit and encountered the street band pictured at the top of this post. I loved the sound, the energy, and the way this photo came out with the evening lights. The next day we stopped in at Peaches Record store and, happy to encounter three employees eager to help us find the perfect brass band CD, we left with a copy of Rebirth Brass Band's CD.

At left is a photo of three women taking photos of the musicians. This struck me as interesting. Perhaps I've ended up in someone else's photo as well...

Music was everywhere and at all times of the afternoon and evening. We encountered a young man playing the violin in the middle of a street, another playing a guitar, a woman playing a violin, and another brass band in front of the St. Louis Cathedral (on Wednesday evening). The sound was wonderful and I could listen to this music all day or on long drives...it is so rich and multi-layered. I wish I knew more about music so I could describe it as it deserves.

The oddest thing happened when we were watching this band. An elderly couple walked across the plaza in front of the band and the gentleman was a dead ringer for Mark's father, Clyde. His facial features, hair, posture, walk... It was a bit disconcerting as Dad was back home in Cleveland and not traveling now as he has done so often throughout his life.

Music and food are woven throughout the French Quarter, but so are the beautiful buildings, interesting shops, and lovely plants and trees. (Note: The French Quarter fared well during Hurricane Katrina and the flood. It is situated on the bank of the Mississippi River, the highest point ironically, and was safe from significant water damage, so I was told. As we saw the large amount of shops, restaurants, and hotels in the French Quarter, as well as the Louisiana State Museum, the St. Louis Cathedral and other landmarks, I realized how many employees it must take to keep these places running smoothly and what a struggle it must have been for these workers and business owners to get to or return to work, to keep the French Quarter alive and well and functioning when their own homes and neighborhoods and families were facing devastation.

A few years ago, I read Douglas Brinkley's The Great Deluge and I recommend it if you want a thorough understanding of the events, and also the history of the construction of the city/levees/politics, etc., as well as the local, state and federal governments' response to Hurricane Katrina.)

Above, is the Louisiana State Museum. They were showing an exhibit related to Hurricane Katrina. I opened the door and went in the entry on Wednesday, looked up and saw this display of glass bottles and hands. We returned on Friday to see the exhibit, but it was closed for Good Friday.

Below, is a reproduction of a Mardi Gras ball invitation from the 1800s.

When one stands on stairs in Jackson Square, you can see the Mississippi River to one side and the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis, King of France, to the other. The oldest Catholic Cathedral in the United States, the church was established in 1718, the cathedral on the present site built in 1727 but destroyed by fire in 1788. The current church was completed in 1794. I haven't traveled that much and believe this is likely the oldest structure I have ever been in. It was beautiful.

Within the Cathedral was "The Bible of St. Louis."

The Bible of St. Louis belonged to St. Louis IX, King of France, who gave it to Alfonso X the Wise. It was copied and illustrated between 1226 and 1234 in Paris. Life in the Middle Ages is revealed through the images presented in this codex. ... It is a unique monument of book illumination that constitutes both unlimited information for historians and a boundless source of pleasure to the senses.

The original bible is in the Cathedral of Toledo in Spain. Because of its uniqueness, the Chapter of Toledo Cathedral allowed it to be copied in the year 2000. This copy was presented in 2007 to the St. Louis Cathedral.

Below, is the view of the Mississippi River from our hotel room at the New Orleans Marriott (we were very happy with the hotel and the price of our trip, which we booked--hotel and airfare--via Orbitz. In fact, the hotel had a wonderful breakfast, the best hotel breakfast buffet we've had while traveling.)

Homes in the French Quarter, and some restaurants too, are built with inner courtyards that are at times only glimpsed a bit from the street, looking down the carriage driveways and into the courtyard and garden beyond. Sharp-pointed metal work or shards of glass top the walls to keep strangers out of private property.

Also shown here is an example of the beautiful metal work that adorns the buildings in the French Quarter, as well as a glimpse inside a shop window. There are many beautiful antique shops and galleries in the French Quarter.

One such shop we visited was M.S. Rau Antiques on Royal Street. Mr. Lasiter welcomed us into their museum/gallery/showroom and we saw everything from beautiful paintings to exquisite silver pieces to the skeleton of a Russian bear (150,000 years old) to a large-scale model of a ship, the United States. Beautiful furniture sat in their showroom waiting for the perfect spot in a historic home...seeing these beautiful things made me wish that my mother had been with us as my parents enjoyed several years as antique dealers, traveling to the best shows and instilling in their youngest daughter a love of all things beautiful.

The photo above of a view through a shop window, gives a glimpse into another antiques store/curiousity shop. And below is of the window of another store and shows a beautiful partner's desk.

This painting of a girl listening to a Victrola while small birds sat on her back caught my eye in a shop window. I absolutely love this print!

Near Jackson Square, one can see this statue of Joan of Arc.

Another thing I noticed in the French Quarter was the interesting use of font design on many of the businesses and buildings. I could have taken dozens of photos of signage alone!

Please bookmark www.appalachianmorning.blogspot.com or subscribe to this feed so that you can read and see all the photos from our trip to New Orleans. Next up, the beautiful homes of the Garden District. You'll be stunned when you see these beautiful homes and gardens.


February Grace said...

More gorgeous images- thank you Janice. Those pictures of the cathedral should be postcards.

Amazing work. You truly see the world through the eyes of an artist, whatever medium you're using to tell a story.

Love it. Looking forward to the rest of the installments.


Melissa Kline said...

Wow! I can really feel the essence of this city through your photos and words. I would love to visit this beautiful part of our country someday. The history is so intriguing. Thanks for sharing! :)


Dina said...

I'll echo what Bru said above.

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