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While you're walking around New Orleans, shopping, sight-seeing, etc. take a look by the entrance doors for the classic mailboxes. They were very interesting! Seeing as there are no formal mailboxes in the city I thought it was neat to see how mail was delivered ages ago, and STILL IS today!
Written Oct 28, 2007
Cafe du Monde, clearly the most famous coffee institution in New Orleans, also grinds and exports in vaccum pack cans it's chicory flavored coffee. I was surprised to find it stocked at a local Asian market in our city of Stockton, California. I like the chicory blend as it serves to reduce the bitterness that's particularly a problem in vacuum packed coffee that has been open for a few days. The old fashioned perculator style coffee is now less popular than Star Buck's and grinding beans, but I don't like grinding beans every morning. So, I find this New Orleans style brew a great way to start the day.
According to the Cafe du Monde web site, the earliest new world coffee plantations were on the French slave plantation island of Martinique. So, coffee was first was imported to the United States by way of New Orleans beginning in mid-1700's, which had received it's bags of beans along with some immigration of slave from island Martinique. The tradition of blending in chicory was a by product of a coffee bean shortage during the French Revolution. The Acadians from Nova Scotia brought this taste, and of course many other French customs to Louisiana. Chicory is the root of the endive plant. Endive is a type of lettuce. The root of the plant is roasted and ground. It is added to the coffee to soften the bitter edge of the dark roasted coffee. It adds an almost chocolate flavor to the Cafe Au Lait served at Cafe Du Monde
Written Apr 30, 2007
Since Katrina, the politics of the city may have balanced in favor of the more conservative constituency. Unlike San Francisco, Boston, or Amsterdam, liberal politics is certainly not a given in New Orleans politics. The older mostly white upper class of the Garden District, Audubon Park, and Bayou St. John survived the flood rather handily while the liberal poor blacks of the Lower Ninth Ward got washed out. However, the middle-class Lakeview district also got flooded, and many of these die-hard New Orleans residents may return. Moreover, it pretty obvious that New Orleans as a whole was neglected by the Bush Adminstration and Republican Congress during the past few years as money and attention has been more focused on Iraq. Nevertheless, racial politics of the city is an old wound that frequently blisters. For instance when a lone knife wielding crazy black man was gunned down by sixteen police officers, this didn't go over well with the African-American community leaders. I saw a confrontation at a hotel between political leaders over this issue during the Christmas Holidays. The politics of recovery after Katrina are very complicated. After taking these pictures, an AP reporter asked me all kinds of question about why I was in town and what I thought of New Orleans after Katrina. I also talked to her after the visit to the devasted wards, but I doubted my comments made the news like these guys did. Later though, I found my remarks in several on-line news articles.
Updated Feb 6, 2007
Got a little dog? Like to carry him? Well, if you are a man and consider yourself straight you might want to put him on a leash while you are in town. Little dogs equal queer in the Quarter. Big chained dogs are the obvious YY chromosome male.
A big dog in used to scare the *** out of people when you are for a walk in the Lower Ninth. If you bring your big dog into town you will get as many "How cute" comments as you will "Do he fight?" questions. It's important that you say yes. Don't giggle "no, he's harmless" - I used to say to the kids who would see me with my dog,
"You know, Gary"
"Oh no. Don't know him"
"I went to jail for three days cuz the stupid kid had his hand bit by my stupid crazy dog. Guess he likes blood. I should put him down."
It always worked to have a small crowd clear. And I do know where you got yo' shoes.
Written Oct 12, 2006
If you're in New Orleans, you'll have the chance to see some lovely courtyards. While I was staying at the Place d'Armes, I had the opportunity to spend many relaxing times enjoying a cup of coffee in the courtyard.
It's like you are in your own private world. If you're able to do so, choose a hotel, restaurant or coffeehouse that has a courtyard. You have to experience it at least once.
Written Apr 14, 2006
New Orlean's love of the mystic, voodoo and the steamy bayou, allows for many street fortune tellers. At Jackson Square, I watched a woman read tourist palms. I don't know if she read GW's when he stopped by to make his post-Katrina Jackson Square speech, but maybe he should have, just to consider his political fortunes in the city. The notoriety of this fortune telling tradition in the city would seem to be most famously related to the importation of voodoo from Benin, or via Haiti, but actually the Bambara and Woloof slaves imported from Senegambia appear most responsible for its early incorporation into Creole culture of Louisiana. During the French Colonial period, very few slaves came from anywhere other than Senegambia. There are many varieties of Voodoo in the Americas, a few of which came to Louisiana, probably after the colonial period. Men preside in the Haitian variant, and the most famous male diviner was Doctor John, after whom the modern musician must certainly be named. But, even more powerful in New Orleans is the woman dominated variant. This woman dominated variant may be due to the relative stability and power of women in the African-American slave system. In any case, the most famous women to preside over voodoo in New Orleans during the 19th century were Marie Laveau, a mother and daughter combo of legendary greatness. It is not surprising therefore, that other female fortune tellers would arrive to divine the futures of tourists visiting the city.
Updated Mar 11, 2006
New Orleans French Quarter has more dogs on leashes than most urban hot spots I've seen. Most are cute little pooches whose security for the master is emotional not physical. We took our miniature schnauzer, Dali, on the road trip and he found it quite pleasant smelling the pungent smells of the French Quarter, but he also enjoyed a walk along the river and lake fronts. We took him for a scenic walk through the Garden District as well. Some hotels actually cater to pets, but ours didn't so we had to leave him in the cage in the car. That wasn't too bad, especially since he likes his cage and the car was kept in a secure garage. Since Katrina, if the weather is right, leaving the pooch overnight in the car is OK, but I'd be careful when the weather gets warmer. In any case, the pooch will love mingling with other dogs and children that love to pet them. We also saw a few street vagrants with larger dogs that seemed tolerant of exchanging smells with our overly pampered pooch. I recommend a six foot leash and choke collar if the dog is a puppy. Ours is trained enough, but I like keeping close control of the pooch on city streets. The Garden District, Bayou St. John, and the shorelines at the river or Lake Pontchartrain are more wide open areas that are easy to walk the dog, in some cases even off leash.
Updated Jan 12, 2006
Basically, a New Orleans style of sandwich. "Hero. Sub. Hoagie. These words are foreign to the vocabulary of the native New Orleanian. That's because in New Orleans, you eat po-boys." What makes a po-boy special is the bread. It's made with fresh French bread, new Orleans French bread has a crunchy crust with a very light center. Order "Dressed" or not. Dressed-with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo. Roast beef and shrimp are the most popular fillings for a po-boy.
Written Aug 22, 2005
These is a good place to stretch your legs after one of those decadently rich creole feasts - or perhaps to get some air the morning after a long night on Bourbon Street. Or maybe you should duck into the Cathedral and confess your sins - before its too late!
Written Apr 30, 2003
Why all the interest in our grave yards? I took my friend from Germany to a couple, one we walked all around looking for my grandfather but the place was too big and I was too forgetful to remember where he was buried. We took pictures here is one.
Updated Aug 25, 2002
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