Monday, April 18, 2016

Cool Cats, Jazz, and Vera

This is the third post of a series covering my epic adventure in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, from April 5 to April 12, 2016.

I think I have finally figured out why the musical genre of jazz and the animal species of felines go hand in hand so well.
The cat and the brat. Photo by Mycah Tucker/Facebook.
Pretty Baby

As my Houston comrade and I were waiting for a table at Willie Mae's Scotch House in New Orleans, a tiny stray cat, a domestic shorthair mix with a small tail (I'm thinking the cat lost half of their tail along the way), was walking away from a car that was parked along the street. Of course, being the brat that I am, I call for the cat, knowing that they could be full of disease and danger.  Heh, the pretty baby was like: "hey, how you doin'?" The cat came walking up to me in an anticipating lively strut. I extended my hand to the cat, the cat did their nasal inspection, and approved me by rubbing their muzzle against my fingers.
Kitty loves scritches.
If anything, this stray cat made sense to me in New Orleans.  Instead of beignets and chicory coffee, hearing local jazz music, eating delicious French-inspired cuisine, and getting to chill with a furbaby gave me a whole appreciation of the city.  I mean, sure there are stray cats all over the world. The phrase "cool cat" comes to mind.  It means "a laid back and relaxed person who enjoys life to the fullest." And this pretty baby pretty much defined what a cool cat is. Although I tried to pick them up, they let me know that it was not allowed by their meowl (a shrieking meow).
When our names got called to go inside to our table (yes, we waited outside for a table; luckily it was nice out), the cat was called to by another pedestrian, smitten by their charisma.
Folks stand across the street from the vendors participating in this year's French Quarter Festival.
Festival of the French One-Fourth

The annual French Quarter Festival took place the weekend that I was in New Orleans.  I happened to stumble (quite literally, I bruised my lower right knee while tripping over an uneven sidewalk block) into the festival just as it was kicking off.  The festival showcases local jazz and other New Orleans musicians playing at different stages in a small section of the French Quarter, along with vendors selling food, clothing, and other souvenirs.  After I got my initiation dues settled (having beignets and frozen chicory cafe au lait), I soon realized that the French Quarter Festival was going to become way more compact with people and noise as the day wore on.  Not so good for my sensory processing, I didn't stay too long at the festival site. I also soon realized that if this was only HALF of what the French One-Fourth gets during, say, either Mardi Gras (say: MAHR-dee GRAH) or the Jazz and Heritage Festival, then that's something I would need months to prepare for in advance and a few days to recover afterwards.  Otherwise, it ain't happening for this brat.
My right knee got fucked up from a piece of uneven sidewalk concrete. Fucker.
Lower Ninth Ward

I found it strange that people who have told me when they go to New Orleans, especially post-Hurricane Katrina, they don't visit the Lower Ninth Ward district, for whatever reason.  Luckily, my Houston comrade and I love not only food, but also to drive around and check out different sceneries, so checking out the Lower Ninth Ward was a must.
A look at an intersection in the Lower Ninth Ward district of New Orleans.
Based on what I saw, a lot of the area was a bit greener (more grass, a bit of trees, less debris) than I thought it would be. The area was wide and open, as if you were to enter Cleveland's Kinsman neighborhood.  No real sidewalks at either location, along with very little to no housing, construction is a constant, and public transit with bridges.
Approaching New Orleans's corporation (or city) limit, entering into the Lower Ninth Ward district.
Favorite District: Magazine Street, Garden Distict
A couple of businesses on Magazine Street in New Orleans.
A couple of parked cars next to several businesses and residencies on Magazine Street.
A couple of picnic-style tables and benches outside of a business on Magazine Street.
If you want to experience the French One-Fourth without the asinine behavior of drunks and belligerent asschickens, then you need to check out the Garden District's Magazine Street, starting at the intersection of Felicity Street and go South-ish (a map of New Orleans is about as confusing as sudoku, and that is a rarity for me).  Same structure of businesses, lots of local choices to choose from, and a lot more relaxed than the downtown hustle and bustle.

Finally, Some Random Snaps of New Orleans with No Specific Category

This alcoholic beverage concoction happens to be a signature classic in New Orleans, called the Vieux Carre (say: VOH kar-RAY). Don't ask me what was in it, for I am not fluent in hard liquor.
Folks fishing and admiring the view of Lake Ponchartrain in New Orleans.
This house represents life goals, actually. Even more so, it resembles a bright and colorful version of Cleveland's Franklin Castle.
I'm done, that's it.  I hope you enjoyed these three blogs about my time in New Orleans.

Now, besides hell, where should I travel to next?

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