I haven’t been back to New Orleans in two years. It’s a damn sin, and I’m glad I could correct it this March. The weather was cold and overcast, but not too much had changed.
Here’s some photos from around town — a few more blog posts to come, most likely. I’m thinking about millennial tribalism, apocalypses (and how to recover from them) and Going Home Again, Or Can You? this week.
Bicycles seem to have a rather outsize place in every memory I have of New Orleans. Who needed a car in college when you could have a second-hand BMX with Tool stickers on it? I certainly didn’t. (The tradition continues: didn’t use a bike this trip and felt weirdly disabled the entire time, although the gloomy weather wasn’t exactly ideal).
The courtyard at Cafe Amelie, where I have never actually eaten, but which my mother assures me is good. I like these Creole courtyards and the vague acquisitive part of me wouldn’t mind owning one someday, although I imagine they’re hell to keep up.Study in gutter punk and dog on a cold spring day in the Quarter. I miss gutter punks, sort of. I wouldn’t mind having a few of them around Stanford. If you have seen the Portlandia skit on gutter punks, please be aware it is essentially a work of 100% accurate documentary. (I miss Hare Krishna dinners, and all those kids with Moleskines who smelled sort of weird but were down to talk about Thoreau).
A brief lick of blue sky. And some spires. The family’s Ancestral Cathedral, although we fell from faith a couple generations ago and show little sign of returning into the tender embrace of Catholicism. (I manage to be guilty enough on my own).
The acrobatic show in Jackson Square, where clever young men persuade tourists to give them money to jump over them. I wish them all the best. You walk by on your way somewhere else and think “I won’t stay for the jump, this time.” But the tourists are lined up and on the off chance some calamity happens, you always DO stay.
A doorman at DBA and a bit of red-glare ambiance. Not enough red lights in Palo Alto. Red lights mean good things to me. Phnom Penh does them well enough.
The never-disappointing tableaux of stuff at Electric Ladyland, where I guess I would get a tattoo if I ever got a tattoo. My personality is not decisive enough yet. (I would get a quote from Moby Dick about striking the sun and a scrimshaw image of a squid fighting a whale. Then I would be very cool at bars).
Acrobatics in the sunlight. Colder than it looked, but they were mostly from cold, miserable climates and weren’t nearly as whiny as us about it
Enjoy that sun, kid. The dock of the bay — well, river — by the Jax Brewery. Fun at night if you’re sanguine about muggings. This is something I’ve spent a lot of time doing. When I was briefly in Iowa by the Mississippi, I would find it rather comforting that the big red ships passing at all hours were on their way, inevitably, homewards
My college commute to Tulane for a brief time was this, back when I lived on St Charles near Valmont. Than I discovered bicycles. But sometimes it’s still nice. Was it always $1.25? Am I getting cheaper?
The alma mater. I swear it’s been pressure-washed in my absence, but this too could be the influence of magical and selective memory.