As I write this, New Orleans is under self-imposed “social distancing” due to the coronavirus pandemic. The city is like a ghost town. March, April and May are usually the most boisterous times of year after Mardi Gras. This year, all festivals had been rescheduled. All the bars and restaurants and museums are closed for at least 30 days. There isn’t a lot going on. Hotels are empty. Will there be Mardi Gras Indians on St. Joseph’s Night tonight? This is New Orleans.
La Belle Esplanade is empty. I’ll be honest with you, La Belle Esplanade makes all of it’s money during the first five months of the year. This is the time when most people visit New Orleans and this is the time of year that keeps us in business for the other months, especially through summer, when no one visits except for Europeans because August is the month when they have time off.
Frau Schmitt, who is the better half of this operation, and I went to the French Quarter today. It’s like a ghost town. Normally, there should be people everywhere having a good time. Drinks should be pouring, meals cooking, music everywhere, just a regular hullaballoo. Not this year. Nothing is open. No one is visiting. It’s kind of eerie.
I took a video of our neighborhood while I was walking our dog this morning. Our neighborhood isn’t usually super-busy, but, at least, school is in session and kids are playing in the playground. People are walking to catch the bus. People are milling about, going from errand to errand. What was happening today? The wind was blowing.
I did not see any evidence of voodoo on my walk today:
When you visit New Orleans, you’ll rarely stroll the back streets of the city like I do. You should. It is very interesting in our neighborhood, full of perplexing details and beautiful architecture, but La Belle Esplanade isn’t on Bourbon Street and most people want to go to Bourbon Street, at least once—-until they get it out of their system.
As I was walking about the neighborhood I got to musing about the Mardi Gras Indians on St. Joseph’s Night, which is tonight. Watch the video. It is still too early to tell you if my prediction is true. It’s still light out as I write this.
WILL THERE BE MARDI GRAS INDIANS ON ST. JOSEPH’S NIGHT?
New Orleans was quiet as a tomb, today. Of course, in New Orleans the tombs are above ground. The dead can hear everything you say.
What will happen tonight? I don’t know but, since I live in New Orleans, I know it will be magical. Everything is real in New Orleans. Even during the worst of times you can catch a wish and that wish will come true.
Be well, everyone. When you are ready to visit New Orleans, you know where you should stay. We are the bright orange house with blue shutters on Esplanade Avenue midway between the French Quarter and Frenchmen Street in one direction, and City Park and the New Orleans Museum of Art in the other direction. We live in a wonderful part of this wonderful city we call home. We’re here for you when you are ready to explore what it means to fall in love with the real New Orleans.
In the meantime, you should follow our sister blog that La Belle Esplanade sponsors. It is called “A New Orleans State of Mind.” Follow La Belle Esplanade on Facebook and Instagram, too. What else do you have to do? We’re here for you.