I wasn’t able to get on the hotel’s Wi-Fi last night, so this post is for yesterday, Tuesday.
It’s funny… Even though I had only driven across the Pontchartrain Causeway once before, to do it again today, three years later, somehow felt like coming home and visiting an old friend. It was very soothing. I actually videoed a portion of the crossing with my “dash-cam” and three back-to-back Toni Price songs playing in the background on my car stereo…so about twelve minutes of the crossing. It would have been very cool to put on the blog. But, as I thought about it, I realized I’d have to post it on YouTube in order to upload it to this blog, which would be ten kinds of rude and inconsiderate to Ms. Price, plus the copyright infringements and potential lawsuits…so I deleted it. So close, though!
It was really nice to not have to rush, today…to just be able to stroll the French Quarter with my camera and see a bit more of what there is to see. For better or worse, this new camera lens I’ve been going on about is primarily a portrait lens. It’s amazing for getting in close. But, not so good for capturing big things, like the French Quarter’s unique architecture. I tried capturing a couple of buildings, but I wasn’t happy with the results.
On the other hand, early in my strolling, I ran into a young woman singing and playing some original jazz tunes…maybe latin jazz…on the street. It was a quiet street and no one else was really around. I gave her a nice tip and asked if she’d mind me photographing her. She said it was totally fine, and went on about her singing.
She was all dressed up, as if she was actually performing in a jazz club, which is a real contradiction to the streets…the sidewalks, themselves…of the French Quarter, which can be kind of “icky” along certain stretches. Here are a few of the best images. She told me her name, but unfortunately I can’t recall it.
Then, I wandered the streets some more and eventually ended up at the same restaurant on a corner of Jackson Square, where I had eaten on my last trip…Café Pontalba. The Square was on the quiet side and the restaurant had only a few diners. I had their Cajun Combo…crawfish pie, gumbo and jambalaya (I think)…and a Corona. It’s hard to describe how relaxing it was to sit there, enjoying the street views of the Square through the open floor-to-ceiling doors.
And even though I was stuffed after this meal, I decided to stroll just around a corner of the Square to the riverside and the famous, Café du Monde, for my very first beignets (square fried dough pillows, drenched in confectionary sugar)…a French Quarter tourist rite of passage.
I sat outside under the Café du Monde’s very large covered patio, with probably a couple hundred other tourists. The weather was perfect for “dithering” an afternoon away. My waitress was hilarious, accidentally referring to me as “ma’am” as she seated me, and then cracking up at her mistake. She was very petite, possibly Filipino judging by her accent, and apologetically explained that she sometimes makes that slip. We became instant buddies.
Here are pics of the patio from my seat, the beignets with my choice of hot chocolate over the more-traditional coffee, my waitress, and me (she was kind enough to take that one).
Now, completely stuffed, I had no choice, but to try to stroll some of it off…which is when I found myself following the sound of some really beautiful, soulful, contemporary jazzy singing, and eventually located the source around a corner…another very dressed-up young woman with a great voice singing unusual covers and originals.
This young woman already had a rapidly-growing sidewalk audience. As before, I approached her, gave her a nice tip and asked if she’d mind me photographing her. And as with the first young woman, she said that would be great.
The reason I’m explaining this, is that with this lens, you need to get in pretty close to your subject. I was only a few feet away, usually crouching, to get interesting perspectives. So, out of respect, I felt I really needed to ask both women’s permission, to get in that close.
Here are the some of the best images I was able to capture. I was having a blast.
Yesterday morning, my dance-friend, Joni, commented on the blog, that I should go to Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar and order a Sazerac. So, this pic’s for you, Joni. I didn’t realize that Joni was suggesting that I try the official cocktail of New Orleans (I had to ask the bartender what it was…and what’s in it!). But, another New Orleans/French Quarter rite of passage successfully completed.
Today, Wednesday, I’m hoping to stop for a Cajun lunch in Lake Charles, LA, on my way to Houston for my first night of country-western dancing on this trip. As always…best laid plans…wish me luck!