The Lighter Side of New Orleans

Yep, it’s another picture of our old pal the alligator again, this time in a totally different part of City Park in New Orleans.  He caught me by surprise lounging in this bend of the lagoon.  It was nice to see him.  He paid me no mind, the way he usually does except for that time when I got too close last June.  Sorry, no link to that old post this time, you’ll have to find it for your self.  Just google, “Alligator Attack La Belle Esplanade.”  It should be on the top of the results.

The dog and I did have an interesting encounter in City Park this same day, though.  I don’t usually shoot video of our walks because, truth be told, I’m not thinking about our blog during these walks.  I’m communing with nature while I’m also on the lookout for skunk apes.  Google “Skunk Ape Sighting La Belle Esplanade,” to see what I’m talking about here.  I just tried it for both topics.  Google’s working like a charm!

I was so delighted by what I discovered on our walk around Scout Island, though, that I had to whip out the shaky-cam and document the proceedings.  Let’s revisit that walk in the woods, shall we?



I have to admit, I’m enjoying being an amateur videographer.  I know the results aren’t high quality but, you know what?  I don’t care.  I like just doing things off the cuff.  Maybe you watch these amateurish videos and you think to yourself, “If this guy doesn’t care about the quality of his videos, he mustn’t care about the quality of his inn.”

Au contraire, mon frère.  I’m a professional innkeeper.  I don’t pretend to be a professional videographer.

One of the reasons I don’t like to call La Belle Esplanade a B&B is because I think the term “bed and breakfast” carries a connotation of amateur hour.  Frau Schmitt and your humble narrator are not amateurs.  We are professional innkeepers, a profession that is much harder than we make it look.  Come see for yourself.  I always say that La Belle Esplanade is like the Ritz, if the Ritz were in an old house and only run by two people.  This is a class operation run with attention to detail.  I’ll tell you, there are a lot of details in our inn, or, as I prefer to call them, delightful surprises.  Come see for yourself.  Our reputation precedes us.

What else should we talk about today?  Why don’t we talk about something new in our neighborhood?

When we first opened our inn, people told us that we’d never be successful because we’re too far from the French Quarter.  Look, I’ve got nothing against the French Quarter but New Orleans is a big city.  There is more to New Orleans than the French Quarter.  Go to the Quarter, sure, but when you’re done with that you can take a picturesque stroll to our neighborhood (we’re only a twenty-minute walk away on the second-most beautiful street in the city).

What’s nice about where we live is that it’s quiet.  If you want a good night’s sleep, consider La Belle Esplanade.  If you want to listen to crowds of people shouting and singing in the streets all night, by all means choose a French Quarter hotel.  We’re off the usual tourist grid but that doesn’t mean nothing is happening around our address.  Even when nothing is happening in New Orleans, something is happening.  It’s the lighter side of New Orleans.

Look at the new mural on this building:


The Lighter Side of New Orleans
Colorful mural on N. Rocheblave Street, New Orleans


This building is in the 7th Ward.  It’s about three blocks from our house.  Esplanade Avenue is the dividing line between the 7th Ward and the 6th Ward.  Our house is located on the 6th Ward side of the street, more commonly called Tremé.  The other side of Esplanade Avenue is the 7th Ward which, along our stretch, is always called the 7th Ward.  Closer to the river, they call the 7th Ward, Faubourg Marigny and that part of the 6th Ward is called the Vieux Carré, known to most of you as the French Quarter.

The mural above was painted over the facade of an under-used, dwindling-congregation Baptist church on North Rocheblave Street.  I was intrigued by the mural and I’ve been watching the exterior paint job on this building as it progressed.  Here’s a part of the side of that building:


The Lighter Side of New Orleans
Mural in New Orleans 7th Ward


The figures depicted (in case you don’t know) are from left to right: The Dalai Lama, Janis Joplin, Louis Armstrong, Frida Kahlo, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Quite the assortment.  What they all have in common, I’m not here to say.  Over the Dalai Lama’s head, there was penciled the legend, “This is how we pray,” presumably to be filled in with black paint later, but that pencilling has since been erased.  The portraits now speak for themselves, as you see them above, and I think rightly so, without a caption.

The Baptist church was built on a lot that must have originally been the site of a shotgun house.  The building is narrow and long, the way a shotgun house is.  The side mural goes on longer than the five portraits above.  The rear of the wall has a portrait of Billie Holiday and the name of the new enterprise that’s occupying the building.


The Lighter Side of New Orleans
Church of Yoga, New Orleans, LA


The Church of Yoga.  I was waiting for the 91 bus the other day and while I was waiting I made small talk with a lady who lives nearby.  She told me that she often goes to classes at the Church of Yoga.  She’s very happy that it’s appeared in our neighborhood.  Me?  I’m not into yoga so the classes are of very little interest to me.  I do like the paint job though.  Take it from someone who owns a bright orange house—you can’t be afraid of color.  The Church of Yoga is a colorful and welcome addition to our neighborhood.  If you want to do a little yoga while you’re staying at La Belle Esplanade, I know where you can do that.  Right around the corner.

Anything else we should talk about?  Well, some birds flew over our inn the other day:


The Lighter Side of New Orleans
Birds over Esplanade Avenue, New Orleans


That’s about it.  We live in an interesting neighborhood in an interesting city.  In fact, many people say that La Belle Esplanade is The Most Interesting Place To Stay In America’s Most Interesting City.  Come see for yourself.

À votre santé,

La Belle Esplanade

where every morning starts with a curated breakfast salon.

Monday, March 3, 2017: Besides my turtle adventure, I also had a crawfish adventure out in the wilderness—and I captured it on my shaky-cam.  Stay tuned for further updates.  You never know what you’ll come across in New Orleans, be it a turtle or a Church of Yoga, or a highly-rated boutique experience inn.  Whattaya waiting for?  Come see for yourself.

I’ve got my eye on you.

The Lighter Side of New Orleans
Your humble narrator in our lobby