The Not-Quite-So-Daily 400

Posted: February 24, 2011 by writingsprint in My two cents, postaday2011, postaweek2011, Writing
Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve made a decision that I’m going to post 400 words at least every other day, work permitting. The idea is that this will give me enough time to brainstorm and maybe even work out. On the other days, like today, I may just post whatever, and the 400-word goal will be waived.

Moving right along, I’ll write a quick blog about one of my favorite places to go on vacation: New Orleans. New Orleans is unlike any city in the US that you’ve ever been to. Actually, this is where I learned something that a classmate of mine said in college: the US is so big that if you travel 500 miles in any direction, you’ll probably be in a culture that’s very, very different from what you’re used to. New Orleans isn’t a foreign country, but it isn’t Philly, either. New Orleans is a city about the size of Pittsburgh, on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, below sea level, and with a cultural mix of French, Spanish, Creole, Haitian, African, Voodoo, Christian, Cajun, and red, white & blue American. As the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau says, it’s a cultural gumbo.

Take what I say with a grain of salt, because I’ve only ever seen New Orleans from the French Quarter. I was there for two Mardi Gras, and threw around my share of beads, but I was there once in August, too, and would go there again anytime. Everywhere you walk in the Quarter, you can hear good music playing somewhere, and you can probably smell good food cooking, too. The Mississippi delta is the birthplace of blues and New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, and you get the feeling that music is a way of life just walking down the street.

If you go, make sure to visit Jackson Square and get your face painted. Some of the artists are very, very, take-a-picture-and-preserve-it-for-posterity good. There’s always a something happening, whether it’s the artists showing their wares, street musicians performing, or an Australian acrobat juggling fire for tips. There was a corner restaurant there that served crocodile sausage that I still remember, too.

The other thing I remember is the courtyard at Pat O’Brien’s. The courtyards in the bars and neighborhoods of the French Quarter become islands of calm in the middle of the party zone. Well, maybe not calm. It’s a mellower kind of party. At Pat O’s we had a chance to get one of their famous Hurricanes, sit down by the fountain and mingle with everyone else who was taking a break from walking up and down Bourbon Street. If you could make it inside, there was great music in the piano lounge.

Jeez, it’s 10:00 already?

And I made it to 400 words anyway! Three cheers and a tiger for me!

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