We are home, but I seem to have left my heart in New Orleans. I've been struggling with how to sum up my trip because, like this incredible city, there are simply too many layers to my journey to fit neatly in one post. The weather was rainy and cool on Friday night, perfect for a stroll through the French Quarter since it kept the drunk kids inside the bars. Heads up to my frat boy readers: y'all are a foolish mess.
Contrary to popular belief, I do not melt when rained on, and enjoyed the walking, sipping, and ducking into this place and that to chat with the servers. I did not meet one stranger. I also did not meet an entree or snack I could pass up and consequently do not fit into my pants now. Normally, while walking through busy cities, I put on my " I may be half your size, but I dare you to cross me" scowl, but here, I started smiling at some point and just couldn't stop.
When in the Quarter, park yourself in front of these people, toss all the bills in your pocket in their crate, and enjoy every note they play for you. Tired of the Quarter? Wander up to Poydras and go into Mother's, across from the W hotel. Order a cup of gumbo and an oyster po-boy. Heaven. Add three dashes of Tabasco and you will actually hear angels singing on high.
Searching for live jazz on Saturday night, I braved walking up stream on Bourbon Street, dodging the inebriated hordes like Dante struggling through the tormented souls to find Beatrice. I found her. She was, for me, a table against the stage at Preservation Hall. The music was incredible; the experience was unforgettable. I also find it fitting that the gentleman dressed in white, who waved me over and led me through the door, happened to be standing under the St. Peter street sign just when I thought my mission was hopeless. New Orleans is brimming with hospitality and hope. And strong coffee. Trust me, you'll need it.