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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Little View of New Orleans

  I am nearing my departure date for Paris, which will be in a little over six weeks.  To prepare for this, I've been studying the history of the city, as well as maps and online sites that tell me the best places to eat and the best places to visit.  Once there, I'll be able to share pictures and tales of wild adventure.  For now, I'll take a time out from my preperation for Paris and I'll turn my eye towards the city that is just a few hours from me and even closer to my heart.

New Orleans.

I just wanted to share some of the sights that we regularly enjoy in this wonderful town.  I am aware that many of you do not have the amazing opportunity we have to visit this jewel of the Mississippi Delta.

First off, we'll take a look at one of my favorite spots in the Quarter.  This is Pirates Alley.  It is tucked in on the western side of St. Louis Cathedral.  We are early risers, and love to walk this part of the Quarter in the mornings when there are not many people out, and it is quite peaceful in what is really just a little French village.

The doors with the yellow paint are the entrance to the Faulkner House Bookstore.  It was here that Faulkner wrote his first novel, Soldiers' Pay, in 1925.  The bookstore is on the first level, in the rooms which Faulkner rented.

If you follow the fence in the above picture back towards the photographer, then turn the corner off to the east, you will come to this corner, which is the intersection of Pere Antoine Alley and Royal Street.  Presently, George Rodrigue's Blue Dog is featured in the window, spinning in three colors.  Check out this corner from the satillite photo on Google Maps and you'll see Blue Dog peeking up at the big eye in the sky.
A few years ago, I snapped a shot of my wife Jennifer at this corner.
You can see why I think of this as my Breakfast at Tiffany's shot.  I knew I had to take this picture when I saw these two ladies get together for a once in a lifetime photo opportunity.  This is in the same window that is seen in the picture above.  I'm not sure which looks better in the window, Red Dog or Audrey Hepburn.  Only time will tell which of these iconic images will become a classic.

Just a block and a half down the street to the west (Red Dog is looking west from his window), is a lively part of Royal Street that is nicely captured in this shot.  Royal Street is full of art galleries and antique shops.  Here you can see the white sign to one of New Orleans' top restaurants: The Court of Two Sisters.  If you're looking for the best Jazz brunch in the world, this is it.  Royal is full of scenic balconies.  Bring your camera and take as many pictures as you can.  You'll be glad you did.

Now if you go back to Pirates Alley and head down to the south end of it, you'll come out at Jackson Square.  Turn to the left and you'll see the Stanley Restaurant on the corner of St. Anne and Chartes Streets.  Since I added a picture of Jennifer above, I thought I'd throw in a rare picture of yours truly.  I'm drinking coffee at this wonderful little cafe.  Let me explain.

One of the newest, chic, and expensive places in town to eat is a place called Stella!.  Now if you know the story, then you know that where Stella is, Stanley can't be far away.  But Stanley's not that chic.  He's a bit more down-to-earth.  So is his restaurant.  It's the place to stop on the Square to get a late night milkshake.  Or a great breakfast.  Great atmosphere, and t-shirts are allowed.  My kind of place.

Always a hit with the kids (and the guys too), you'll find The Sword and Pen Le Petit Soldier Shop also on Royal Street, just another block west of the Two Sisters.  They sell hand painted soldiers of every kind, and it is said to be the second oldest toy shop of this kind in the nation.  I once made a puzzle of this picture, and I know every nook and cranny of its facade.  From the column in the entry on the left to the bay window on the next shop over, this is one of the most pictuesque shots in all of New Orleans.  (Update: This store is no longer open.)

 This was a rare chance indeed.  Usually, the carriages are lined up at the south end of Jackson Square on Decatur Street.  However, due to an NFL party that was being thrown to kick off the 2010 season in honor of the New Orleans' Saints Super Bowl win, the Square had been cleared, and a stage was built on the south side of Decatur facing St. Louis Cathedral.  I was not aware of this until I showed up that day.  And here was this great shot further west on Decatur.  I'd never seen it before and I've never seen it since.  Perfect.

Even as we plan to visit Paris, Jennifer and I still talk about our next trip to New Orleans.  It is a city you can never forget.  There is no other place like it in the United States.

Don't forget to check out our New Orleans Calendars for 2014:

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