As promised, more about New Orleans and my love for this city that I was lucky enough to finally visit! I was beginning to wonder if I would ever make it since the weather stopped me from travelling to the Big Easy. Good thing that my luck held and barring stress getting to me at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, I made it in one piece. Back to the problem I thought I would have at the airport; I had a short layover and thought I would miss my flight because of it. I had nothing to worry about since sky-link which connects you to the different terminals at the airport ran smoothly and I made it to my next flight in time.
You will not believe where I stayed when I was in New Orleans. I stayed in a shotgun house which has to be the most adorable house I have ever seen. Basically a shotgun house has the door at the front and end of the house, no hallways and you would end up walking through someone’s bedroom to get to the kitchen or bathroom. You wouldn’t have the hallway that many houses have to be able to walk through to get to where you are going. I know that I would love to live in one if I ever move to New Orleans. Besides wanting to live in one of these houses; I loved the location of where my friends lived. I was close to Magazine Street and St. Charles Avenue in that I could walk to all the places I wanted to see from where I was staying. Another thing I loved is that I could walk down one street and up the next and no two streets or houses were the same.
That is one of the things I love about New Orleans; the houses are different from one another. No two houses are alike. Each house stands on its own. Oh, and the colors! One house could be green with red or yellow shutters. Another house could be brick/wood overlay where the brick is painted the color of the wood so it blends into the house.
My favorite house ended up being lime colored with green shutters!
Besides the colors of the houses, you will find a lot of the houses may have wrought iron fences around the front of the lawn or even vine hanging along the edges of the fence. These colorful houses work in New Orleans but anywhere else would be a fail. I don’t know what it is about this city that brings out the colors but it works.
All I could do was stop and stare at all the houses around me because you don’t see anything like this in California. And the streets; once I looked down and noticed that the name of the streets were on the end of the sidewalks as well as on the signs you normally see at the end of a street. It turns out my favorite streets weren’t the main streets such as Magazine Street but the side streets. I loved all the side streets I found on my walks around the city i.e. Chestnut, Coliseum, Washington and Camp. I loved them more than the French Quarter because they weren’t touristy like the Quarter. They were your normal streets that you could find anywhere. Well, not anywhere since this was NEW ORLEANS.
Even though I loved all these side streets; I loved St. Charles Avenue as well and that most definitely was your typical main street. With the exception being that it had all these majestic, massive mansions. They were mansions to me since they weren’t your run of the mill two story houses. As much as I couldn’t help looking down at the sidewalks; I couldn’t help looking up into the trees that lined the middle of St. Charles Avenue. When I glanced up at the trees, I noticed beads hanging from them. Come to find out these beads had been there from Mardi Gras and that was back in February.
As fascinated as I was by the beads, my eyes drew to the street cars that would come and go from St. Charles Avenue taking the people as far down the line as it would go. So I left the beads behind me and hopped on the St. Charles Avenue street car and rode it to the end of the line. The end of the line became Canal Street and that is where I hopped off and walked back towards my friend’s house. I was hoping it would do a complete loop but that wasn’t the case.
As I found myself waiting for the street car, my mind drifted to all the times I was walking throughout the city. Did you know that not every pedestrian cross walk has the signals that you see in many cities? I found myself having to walk across the street with the flow of the traffic when the signal light wasn’t there. If you end up on a main street like Canal Street than there are signals that let you know when you can safely cross the street. Besides needing to be careful when crossing the street, you would need to notice when the streets change. When I say change, I mean one way streets could turn into two way streets and then back to one way streets going in the opposite direction from how they started out. Or they could be one way and then switch to one way going in the other direction.
Can you believe with all this walking I did that a couple of tourists stopped me asking for directions to Lafayette Square? I guess not driving anywhere worked in my favor since it made me look less like a tourist and more of a local.
Another thing about walking is that you get out there and meet people. People in New Orleans are friendly; they say ‘Good Morning’ to you first or as soon as you say it to them. That doesn’t happen that often in California where many people don’t acknowledge that you have said anything to them. There were a couple of times during my walks that I ran into this southern hospitality; city workers asked me if I was cold since I was bundled up and someone on their bike started up a conversation while we were waiting to cross the street. Southern Hospitality!
I ended up at Audubon Park on one of my many walks around the city. If you know Magazine Street at all than you know that could be a long walk from one end of this street to the other end. Trust me; it was a long walk….. I didn’t mind it at all because I fell in love with the park as soon as I saw it. Or I would say I fell in love with the side that had the walking trails. To be clear, one side of the street has Audubon Zoo and the other side has Audubon Clubhouse which is where I wanted to be. I was hungry by the time I made it to the park that I found my way to the Clubhouse for lunch. Since the weather was nice, I decided to sit outside on the veranda for lunch where I could see the view around me. What a view it was since there was a fountain in the middle of the lake near where I was sitting.
After lunch, I decided I needed to walk around more than I already had that day. I left the Clubhouse and followed the walking trail that led away from the Clubhouse. The trail was really nice as you could see meditation areas for sitting, bridge that led back towards the Clubhouse and houses that lined one side of the path. These houses were within 10 yards of the trail that the park was literally their playground. Now if you walked away from the houses and back towards the Clubhouse, you would need to walk over the bridge that connected the two.
Other parks in New Orleans are the same in that you might find fountains in the middle of them. One thing I loved about them is that if they don’t have fountains than you would see statues in place of them. The trees… What can I say about them except in some places the branches would be hanging down and if you were adventurous enough you could probably swing from those branches? The beauty of these parks were not lost on me because I found myself walking past them on most days; branches hanging down and lamp posts guiding you through the night.
Stepping away from the parks landed me near the one cemetery I wanted to visit while I was in New Orleans. No trip to New Orleans would be complete without visiting Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. I thought this cemetery was going to be huge but it was smaller than I thought it would be. One thing I loved about it is that I arrived in the morning right when it was due to open so that I practically had the place to myself.
Have you ever been to New Orleans and if you have than what is the first thing you noticed about the city? Was it the parks with the branches hanging down to the ground with the lamp posts next to them? Was it the fountains or statues in the middle of the parks? Was it the houses full of color that make you stop and stare at them? Was it the mansions that reach out to the next block? Was it the French Quarter with musicians playing in Jackson Square, art galleries, beignets and shrimp po’boy? What is it about this city that is magical to you? You’ve heard my thoughts on New Orleans. I can’t wait to hear what you thought of the Big Easy.