Still in Florida! No, not really. But Florida is such a huge state. You really don’t know what you are getting into driving it. 95, 75, 10. You almost get the feeling that it has size envy from Texas so it makes it’s highways longer to make up for it.
But I’m just sipping my coffee in a courtyard in a hotel on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Quiet and peaceful. A fountain the background. I did the coffee and baegets thing when I woke up and then came back to make my coffee. Apparently, New Orleans is the coffee capitol of the US so I have a feeling I’ll be well caffeinated today. But first, some writing. Catch up on a few things. And finding a laundry mat.
A lot of the travels if just about the road. Pushing 7,000 miles so far. A friend hates driving. I don’t understand him. It’s annoying at times. White knuckling through idiots or down pours where you can’t see–I prefer the down pours. But it like yesterday when I first drove from 75 to 10. 10 started out a very civilized highway, two lanes with people doing what they were supposed to do. The scenery passing with the miles. Tallahassee to Pensacola. Then out of Florida and into Alabama.
A route change when things got uncivil through Mobile. I so wish I had my GoPro and plan on having it up at all times. I passed right by the USS Alabama before heading back onto 10 and through the tunnel. The roads and bridges interest me. The tree lined highways that pass at 90mph. Watching the clouds in the distance. Being in motion on the road. Playing my music as I pass through Alabama and Mississippi to enter a new state: Louisiana. 10 taking me right to the Mississippi and downtown New Orleans.
It’s crazy when you first arrive. You are immediately in downtown, a tight network of one way streets. No time to see anything except to follow the GPS and not hit anybody. Bourbon Street. Underground parking. And then a room in a newly reopened hotel with everybody trying to figure out the new normal. Exercising patience. And then a little walk.
The Bourbon street is on the southern portion of the Southern Party Triangle. You have Broadway in Nashville with country music. Beale Street in Memphis with Blues and Rock. Bourbon Street is all that jazz. Where Beale Street seemed forced, Bourbon Street has the feel of a somber jazz tune, a mournful dirge, an ache for when times were different and will be again. I arrived on a Saturday.I was told that it should have been packed. It is just reopening. Bars are still closed except if you serve food. Strict regulations are in place. It was a ghost town during the day and it didn’t get much better at night. Saturday night had the feel of a block party two hours after the block party ended.
It is an interesting place though. I’m okay with the somber music. It allows me to explore and wander without the crush of crowds. People have referred to the area as dirty. Well, what the hell would you expect? If I went to a frat party, it’s like I was expecting to sip wine on a $1,000 sofa. Know what I mean? It is so eclectic and varied, though, it is well worth the crush of crowds when they exist. Posh boutique hotels and 5 star restaurants cozy up to strip clubs (closed) and souvenir shops. Coffee houses and fine antique shops are next door to dive bars. At night, the peddlers come out. Snakes and parrots to wear, live music, actors and magicians, tarot card readers, and, of course, the traveling apothecaries that have updated with technology so you can now buy edibles or your joints from segways.
During the day, I did a little walk, still exhausted from a very long drive. I was shocked. It’s just me. Being in the neighborhood, I forgot that New Orleans is so much more than Bourbon Street and the French Quarter. In some direction or another, you find the trolley tracks and the river front that opens up beyond the tight little one way streets. In another direction, it opens up onto Canal Street with Downtown and the Garden District across the way.
But then I went back into that ache, that mournful dirge, the waiting for when more souls will refill the block party as it was meant to be.
But now I’m off to be overly caffeinated. There is a lot of walking to do. Louis Armstrong Park, the WWII museum, Riverwalk and the Garden District. Oh, and a laundry mat. I’m running low on shorts.
All pictures from the day, including the ones I finally figured out how to download from my GoPro. Who knows? I might finally figure out how to get the videos uploaded?