When you live in New Orleans, you know what love is. Reset your New Orleans relationship. Take it from me. I live here. When you visit New Orleans you deserve more than spending all your time getting drunk and buying cheap souvenir knickknacks and tchotchkes, knock-off junk and tee shirts imported from China, basically, in the French Quarter. When you visit New Orleans, visit the French Quarter, but, believe me, there is more to New Orleans than the French Quarter. There is more to New Orleans than Mardi Gras. Plenty of people come to visit New Orleans for Mardi Gras (February 28, this year), but people visit New Orleans all year round. They have their reasons for coming outside Mardi Gras and it isn’t only for the food, the music, and the festivals.
New Orleans is a magical city.
I live in New Orleans. It’s a city of only about 380,000 people (about 100,000 less than before Hurricane Katrina). It’s a smallish city, but I can go anywhere in the world and tell people I’m from New Orleans and they’ll know where I’m coming from. New Orleans punches well above its weight class. New Orleans is a knockout.
New Orleans has an outsized cultural impact on the rest of the world. New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, and you can listen to jazz on any street corner. Jazz infuses the very air. New Orleans is more than its history, it is more than jazz, it is more than crawfish etouffé and Dinner at Antoine’s. New Orleans is about love. It’s about love of place, love of neighbor, and love of being alive.
Love makes the world go round. It’s a wonderful world we live in in New Orleans.
New Orleans is more than the French Quarter and it’s more than the hotels around the Ernest Morial Convention Center. A lot of people visit New Orleans because they’re forced to, because they have to go to a convention for work. Heck, there are worse places to be forced to go for a convention or a trade show. Imagine having to go to a convention in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada. I’ve got nothing bad to say about Iqaluit, we’ve met some nice people from there and they love where they live but, let’s be honest, your boss would really have to twist your arm to convince you that trip was a tantalizing prospect. New Orleans? Even if it’s for work, a trip to New Orleans is like an escapade to paradise.
What about our leading photo?
I think I took this picture on Maurepas Street, but it may have been Ponce de Leon Street. Either way, it was a couple of blocks from our inn. I walked there. Aren’t New Orleans street names beautiful? If you look at it, it looks like a rebus, like whoever lives here is saying, “I love air conditioning.” While that may be true, look closer to get an introduction to the New Orleans state of mind.
Let’s zoom in on that heart.
The heart looks like it’s painted over graffiti. That isn’t graffiti. It’s a Kartina cross. If you click on no other link in today’s installment, click on the one I’ve just provided to learn something about something you don’t know anything about. That’s New Orleans for you. That picture depicts New Orleans’ spirit in spades.
A Katrina cross is the mark that rescue workers painted on every house they inspected after the levees failed and New Orleans was flooded during Hurricane Katrina, which happened on August 29, 2005, almost 12 years ago. 80% of the buildings in New Orleans bore these crosses in the last months of 2015. 80% of the city flooded after the levees broke. The whole city was evacuated. Today, Katrina crosses are much harder to find on buildings. That wasn’t the case in 2009, when Frau Schmitt and I visited New Orleans and decided to make our home in this ebbullient and resilient city.
A casual visitor in 2017 won’t see many Katrina crosses. If you live here, you can’t help but see them in your mind’s eye. Everyone who lives in New Orleans lives here by a conscious decision. Most people came back after being evacuated or forced out by the flood. They couldn’t imagine living somewhere else. There is nowhere else like New Orleans. Others, like Frau Schmitt and your humble narrator, we chose to move here, to be a part of this place that cannot be replaced, only rebuilt better than ever.
Reset your relationship to New Orleans. If you choose to stay long enough, you’ll be bitten by the New Orleans bug the way Frau Schmitt and I have been. You’ll be smitten. You’ll want to live here. No one ever says their visit is too long. It is always too short. There is so much happening in New Orleans, you’ll never be bored. You won’t even know the meaning of the word.
There are many, many, many worse places in which to find oneself, and I’m not talking about Iqaluit. I mean other places, places I’m not going to name. Those cities know who they are. Maybe you live in one of them. If you choose to visit New Orleans, prepare to have your world rocked.
When you live in New Orleans, you are part of something bigger than yourself. You are a part of New Orleans, a city with a big, big heart, a heart as vital and vast as the mighty Mississippi River.
The mostest and the greatest, from the oldest to the latest, they’re all gonna play in the band, in that great New Orleans brass band, when the saints go marching in.
Come see for yourself. New Orleans is like no place else. Get one taste and you’ll be wanting more. Where you should you stay? You can stay in the French Quarter, but I’ve got another place in mind for you if you’re interested in learning what it’s like to live in this amazing city we call home. I’m thinking about La Belle Esplanade, the most interesting place to stay in America’s Most Interesting City.
In poker terms, New Orleans isn’t just the Queen of Hearts. It’s also the Ace of Hearts. It’s also the King, Jack, and 10. New Orleans is a whole royal flush. No matter the game, time spent in New Orleans beats every other option. Play the hand that you shoulda been dealt.
Ten million people visited New Orleans last year. We only have five suites. Investigate this website to determine if we’ll be a good fit for you. If you’re game, so are we. Let your New Orleans adventures begin on Esplanade Avenue. We’re offering you the chance of a lifetime. Reset everything you think you know about New Orleans. We live in a wonderful world.
À votre santé,
La Belle Esplanade
….where every morning begins with a curated breakfast salon.
Monday, February 13, 2017: Tomorrow is Valentines Day. Love is always in the air in New Orleans.