New Orleans Ladies…and Gentlemen…and Everybody In-Between!

Something unexpected happened during the second half of my week in New Orleans.  Well, to be honest, a lot of unexpected things happened, but mostly because of this one thing.  Once my mom and my girls went home, I had several days on my own in the city.  I expected that it would be me quietly wandering the French Quarter or museums and having awkward solo dinners.

Not so.  Not so at all.

I discovered something remarkable about the city I adore.  Being alone in New Orleans is not alone at all.  People talked to me.  Lots of people.  Tourists who thought I was a local (well, I was once) and asked for directions or how there could be so many names on one above ground tomb, servers who didn’t want me to feel lonely at meals that are typically social times, a medium, tour guide, and a voodoo priestess…..

Don’t get me wrong.  It wasn’t like I was being constantly bothered and never had a moment with my own thoughts.  Not in the least.  There was plenty of that.  But I never felt isolated.  And I made some very special and very unexpected friends that I treasure.  The best souvenirs ever!

Read on to meet some of the folks, new friends and strangers alike, who made me feel at home.

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Street music is at a whole other level in the French Quarter. This jazz band was killin’ it, y’all.

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I don’t know who he is, but this man is the embodiment of New Orleans street jazz. Playing as much for himself as the passers-by. Once in a while, he’d bust out with a little singin’, too!
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Second Line parades are always led by the band. This one made the rounds 5 times that day – 5 different wedding parades!
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Second Line parades are tradition – for both happy occasions like weddings, or for sad occasions like jazz funerals.
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Art on display and artists at work alongside buskers bring such a variety of vibrancy to the Square.
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In New Orleans, we parade for all kinds of things. Sometimes we party, sometimes we rally. Either way, we’re coming together.
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When you’re eating dinner at the personal table of the ghost of the owner of the house, which is now restaurant, you wave and smile at the living who are checking out the dead.
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I love this picture. It’s just a couple of folks being themselves in the way that this city lets them be. Fishnet guy was owning the streets he was walking down all week. Completely comfortable in his own skin. I swear New Orleans must be where “you do you” was coined.
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One new friend came in the form of a great tour guide who knows the French Quarter folks like no one else – both the living and the dead!
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When you want to know about voodoo and make sure you’re doing it justice, you go to the source. And you make a great friend doing it. This lady right here encouraged and empowered me. And for that, I’m proud to call her my friend.
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She brought the best breakfast I ever had (so good I had it twice) and kept that great coffee coming. Another precious new friend!
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And then sometimes, you run into a friend from back home getting off the streetcar you’re getting on! Don’t tell me this isn’t a big small town.

There was one more friend who is a fabulous medium and a great encourager as well, but I was enjoying my time with her so much, I never even thought about getting a picture.  Too bad, too.  We had just done a seance and who knows who might have photo bombed that one.  It was after thinking about that missed chance that I made sure I got pictures of the other folks!

I adore the people of New Orleans and am grateful for so many who made me feel welcome and at home.  New Orleans, and especially the French Quarter, has always had my heart.  Now, I’m sure I left part of my soul there, too.  Technology has made it possible for me to continue to grow these friendships, but I can’t wait to get back down there and see them again!

New Orleans.  A city whose heart is as big as its character.

Much love!

~Nola

2 thoughts on “New Orleans Ladies…and Gentlemen…and Everybody In-Between!”

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