Saturday, June 13, 2020

The French Quarter - Heart-wrenching Beauty

The French Quarter

The French Quarter in New Orleans is chaotic, dirty, dark, decadent, debased, lurid, raucous, salacious, shocking, unrestrained and wild, and I love it. The old market is a potent potpourri of people, sights, sounds and smells that overload your senses in a way you’ve never experienced before.

A modest family man, I resist the temptation to partake in the public depravity proceeding all around me. Instead, I melt into the dank alleyway and take photographs of the eclectic architecture and outrageous activities.

The rowdy neighborhood is overcrowded with excited revelers who have apparently overcome their natural inhibitions. Visitors hang over the wrought iron railings while impromptu parades march through the streets, impeding the progress of any automobiles crazy enough to enter the fray.

The din of this extravagant absurdity is drowned out by the live music that explodes from every orifice in the locale. The exuberant mixture of melodies is a simmering stew celebrating the diversity of different cultures.

This historic district of debauchery is steeped in superstition where the practice of necromancy is an esteemed vocation. It makes sense because the bizarre behavior exhibited by tourists in this City of Sin can only be explained by the mastery of witchcraft.

If you look closely, there are scenes of heart-wrenching beauty like the horse-drawn carriage clopping over textured streets below buildings of defiant dignity. Colorful flowers burst forth from every nook and cranny, and lush gardens of tropical foliage are topped by exotic palm trees.

Tall structures rise above narrow corridors obstructing my view of the sky creating claustrophobic anxiety for someone used to wide-open spaces. The funky feel is exacerbated by the garish colors and eye-popping signage adorning every store front.

Fifteen years after Katrina ravaged the gulf coast, scars from that horrendous storm can still be seen. Ever since Andrew Jackson saved the settlement from British occupation, the city of New Orleans has suffered several catastrophes but the resilient citizens have always found a way to recover and rebuild.

Spanned by a sparkling, silver bridge, the muddy Mississip is home to pelicans, seagulls and cargo ships of all shapes and sizes. Life on the bayou couldn’t be more foreign to me as I’m accustomed to the thin air and deep snow characteristic of the Rocky Mountains.

With the summer season suddenly unfolding, my hopeful itinerary is penciled in to go west. I don’t know if I’ll ever make it back to the Mississippi River Delta but if I don’t, I will always have unforgettable memories of the time I did spend in the Big Easy.

Narrow corridors

The old market

A potent potpurri

Necromancy is esteemed

Historic district

Extravagant absurdity

Exuberant mixture

Eclectic architecture

Horse-drawn carriage

Andrew Jackson is a hero

Entering the fray

A funky feel

Cargo ships

Sparkling, silver bridge

Memories of the Big Easy

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