New Orleans, if I ever get around to having a home again, I’m coming back for you and all your artsy goodness, your canvases lining the gates of Jackson Square and your galleries filled with local artists’ masterpieces.
Art makes my world go round. Photography, writing, painting, pottery, music, dance – whether I’m doing it, watching someone else do it or purchasing and appreciating the fruits of someone else’s artistic labor, I am an art-oholic. Just ask my friend Rose, who spent countless hours shopping for artwork in Ecuador’s incredible outdoor art markets with me. Or ask my husband Dave, who has bobbed into art galleries across a dozen states and multiple countries with me. I try not be one to accumulate unnecessary possessions [see moving sale madness], but in my universe, art is always necessary.
My husband has been telling me for years that I would love New Orleans. He rambled on and on about Bourbon Street and jambalaya and Cajun accents. It all sounded fun, but we just hadn’t managed a trip to the Big Easy until finally, last weekend.
We unfortunately had only two and a half days to see the sights of New Orleans and visit Dave’s aunt, uncle and cousins. Saturday was good – I had a po-boy in a local seafood joint, we played Bonko with the local Desk and Derrick club, and we hit up Bourbon Street for my initiation into the Nawlins lifestyle. But as we left Bourbon Street that night, I must admit I wasn’t ready to put New Orleans anywhere near my top ten list. It was just another city.
Then Sunday rolled around. Dave and I attended mass at St. Louis Cathedral/Basilica, the oldest active cathedral in the U.S. It is a beautiful church, and the archbishop of New Orleans, Gregory Aymond, gave a thoughtful homily. From mass we went across the street to the famous Cafe Du Monde and had a plate of powdered sugar garnished with a few beignets, and cafe au laits. It was all delicious, and I loved the outdoor cafe’s atmosphere.
Once we were sated with beignets, Dave proceeded to spend the next several hours pulling me, drooling, away from painting after painting that he insisted we could not buy because we live in a car. Humph. As if that is a reason to be denied such beautiful artwork.
I fell in love somewhere between Jackson Square and Royal Street. The creativity and the passion that echoed in every painting, piece of jewelry and home décor item simply made my world beautiful. Even though my mean old husband didn’t let me buy anything, those works of art still brought beauty to my world, which is really all any of us need to make this life worthwhile.
And on top of all that, there were talented, enthusiastic musical performers livening up my shopping and cultural experience from their sidewalk stages throughout the French Quarter. Seriously, life doesn’t get much better for me than live music serenades while I’m shopping for artwork. I even met a street performer whom I have followed online for several years, but he is special enough to warrant his own blog post. You’ll have to wait for that story.
So thank you, New Orleans, for bringing beauty and music to my life. In one Sunday, you became one of my favorite cities in the U.S. – and I will see you again.