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New Orleans: Post Katrina

New Orleans is SO BIG, we've made this page wider than normal. Feel free to keep scrollin' to the right and left.

Ah, yes, New Orleans aint Nawlins without a Hurricane to get you started. Cherie gets right in the spirit, so to speak, with a street-worthy (i.e., plastic glass) one at the balcony restaurant/bar Johnny White's on Bourbon Street. Now yer talkin'.

The original home of the Hurricane is Pat O'Briens, which means that if you want THE Hurricane experience, head for O'Briens courtyard bar and (a) BEND your elbow as you drink, and (b) RUB elbows with tourists from around the world.

Cherie and I try celebrate New Orleans with a toast...

...with our new-found friends for a day, Rachael and Doug, from Chicago.

Me an' Cherie enjoy drinks as we prepare to order a cajon dinner at a balcony restaurant

Graceful, balconied ladies line the streets on all sides of our corner dinner table.

Neon illuminates the colorful street life, including the 'lady' street walker, right, who is full of surprises for anyone unlucky enough to pick her up. All this charm is wasted on the gentleman, far right, who would actually be the perfect client for our masculine, er, muscular, streetwalker if he didn't already have a lady on his arm.

Despite the destructiveness of Hurrican Katrina and the floundering of "you're-doin'-a-heck-of-a-job" Brownie's FEMA, the French Quarter continues to exude charm, sexiness, and the easy life to the beat of local jazz and blues bands.

Unfortunately, huge swathes of the rest of the city are laying in abandonment and decay, as areas to the north and east (where our hotel was) of the French Quarter were devastated and never re-built. Whole neighborhoods of houses rotted to the tops of their roofs by water damage might speak volumns about our national character.

The prototypical New Orleans style building, left, at the corner of Royal and Dumaine Streets shows off its wrought iron balconies and potted plants. We passed it as we wandered our way toward a jazz concert at an off-touristy corner of the Quarter.

A jazz parade careened down Royal street, trailing party-ers swaying and handing out flowers, which I promptly gave to my sweetie (and she promptly gave back to me: "I'm not carrying THIS all around town"). I still have it—stop by and share a drink with me and I'll show it to you, it's a beautiful reminder of the city.

The Cornstalk Hotel, left, is a beautiful Victorian mansion with a row of cast iron cornstalks as its fence, reportedly to soothe a previous owner's bride from Iowa.

I'd give a day's wages (oops, I don't work anymore) to hear the conversations of these couples, at right, walking Bourbon Street. Maybe they, too, are from Iowa...they look a bit, what, judgemental?
(Hey, Merle, you see that voodoo sex charm with them them thangs dangling from it?)

All That Jazz!

On the advice of a frequent New Orleans visitor — remember I mentioned the couple from Chicago, Rachael and Doug? — we walked out of the French Quarter and over to Frenchmen Street to find the non-touristy jazz and blues bars. We found the "Spotted Cat," heard jazz waft through the doors like smoke, and strolled inside to order a couple of beers, chat with a local couple (who later invited us out to dinner at an Asian joint, but alas, we were stuffed), and mellow out to the music of the "Trio D'Grillo" jazz band, left.

To our suprise, Rachael and Doug also walked through the door and we spent the rest of the evening listening with them to the mellow licks of the "Trio D'Grillo."

Dominick Grillo (on sax) and the Trio D'Grillo perform at the Spotted Cat

Rachael and Cherie dreamily listen to the music while sitting in the window seat of The Spotted Cat. The sodium-lamp filled Louisiana night on Frenchmen Street provides an atmospheric backdrop to the drummer's back beat and the smooth sounds of the sax, bass, and keyboard.

Down Bourbon Street

Bourbon has to be one of the greatest night-time streets in America. Its bars are spilling elbows, feet, and faces onto the streets; the sounds of music are everywhere; the neon signs are a study in the light-makers art. And the buildings could populate the sets in your spookiest nightmares or most amorous dreams.

Voodoo charms, masks, and beads of every color await the curious in shops that look like they come out of the Louisiana back roads and bayous.

Even the bathrooms are party central in the bar. These urinals have flat-panel televisions above them.

This private house is the residence of a medical doctor who works out of Tulane University. The house name, Tsa-La-Gi, is Cherokee for medicine man, a nod to the tribal past.

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop was built in 1720, and is both the oldest bar in the nation and the second oldest building in New Orleans. With its history, it's not surprising that it's a hub of paranormal activity, particularly once the liquor flows.

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