Oh, boy! This episode is gonna be a real thriller-diller! The secret lives of innkeepers!
That picture of me is an old one. Let me show what I look like now, about three weeks after my motor scooter accident. I don’t look too badly damaged, do I? Don’t let my appearance fool you. I still have two broken ribs that hurt every time I sneeze or bend the wrong way.
Don’t get your hopes up learning about the secret lives of innkeepers. People imagine Frau Schmitt and I, your humble narrator, live very interesting lives. Remember my spine-tingling turtle encounter last post? Don’t think that I’m leaving out any of the juicy details. That’s really what happened, adrenaline and all.
I suppose we do live interesting lives in our way, but check out the volume of posts on this blog, which is updated 2-3 times per week, detailing what we’re up to. This blog doesn’t write itself. As I write this now, I’m just sitting with my laptop out in our back garden, which is approaching full bloom, and I’m enjoying a cigar while I listen to the calliope of the Steamboat Natchez in the distance, before it embarks on a trip down and back on the Mississippi River. A crow just stopped to take a sip from our fountain. Oh, look! Hear that? A student from Clark High School is walking home on Barracks Street, behind our inn, practicing his tuba as he goes. He pauses in his oom-pahing to say hello to the Widow Gautreaux who’s sitting on her front porch watching the clouds and the world go by. And, there’s Sterling coming home from work. Sterling’s our neighbor. Nice guy. He takes care of the house for his mother.
I have no doubt there is a bicycle tour or a tour bus stopped in front our house at this very moment. The guide talking about the architecture, the colorful paint jobs, and the history of our neighborhood, and what’s going on in our neighborhood today. There’ve been a lot of changes in our neighborhood since Katrina and the pace is picking up every year, heck, every month, almost all of the changes for the better. It’s just another day in the life of a New Orleans innkeeper, albeit an innkeeper who lives in the most colorful block of the second-most beautiful street in the city.
There’s what I’m doing right now. The secret lives of innkeepers just became a little less secret with that big reveal.. I should have started this essay with: SPOILER ALERT!
It’s not like I’m John Steed and Frau Schmitt is Emma Peel. At least not while any of you are watching.
We do have our secret missions, but they don’t routinely involve gunplay, sword canes or secret agents, or foiling criminal activity. They’re more like we did today, which was a trip Uptown to Martin’s Wine Cellar because we had to pick up some of our custom house wine for the inn.
The secret lives of innkeepers also includes champagne, as well as our house wine (the label of which has a picture of our house on it). In fact, the other day we went to a new champagne bar that’s opened about a half mile from our house. It’s called Effervescense. It’s pretty nice in there. Good atmosphere. Good eats. A nice selection of bubbly wine. What? You don’t have a classy upscale champagne bar a 10-minute stroll from your house? Oh. I guess we do live somewhat interesting lives. We live in an interesting city. That helps to make up for as dull-as-dishwater personalities.
Do we really live boring lives? From the inside looking out, it’s hard for me to say. Do you live a boring life? I talk to an ever changing cast of characters who stay at our boutique experience inn. Most people who stay with us stay for 4-5 nights so I do get to know them. Not in the sense that I learn all their hopes and dreams, but in the sense that over the course of a couple of days we talk about more than, “That Bourbon Street is really crazy, isn’t it?’ I don’t think any of our guests are boring, not even the ones who make their living as accountants in Des Moines—no offense intended to all you Des Moines accountants out there. It’s a wonderful world we all share.
I know some other New Orleans innkeepers and their guests stay for 1-2 nights. The only thing they get to talk about with their guests is how crazy Bourbon Street is because that’s all their guests have a chance to see of New Orleans. I don’t begrudge anyone going to Bourbon Street and enjoying it’s sights and sounds and smells (enjoy those smells, folks!) but New Orleans is a big city and there is a lot going on in our city outside the French Quarter. It’s not all strip clubs and Huge Ass Beers, and drunken frat boys stumbling down the street. I can’t remember the last time a posse of soused bros stumbled down Esplanade Avenue, at least not down our stretch of Esplanade Avenue. This is what we see on our part of Esplanade Avenue:
When you choose to stay at La Belle Esplanade, we invite you to embed yourself in our neighborhood. Immerse yourself in the New Orleans state of mind. Visit New Orleans like you live here. You never know what you’ll see when you turn a corner in New Orleans. We really do live in a magical city full of delightful surprises. That’s how we’ve modeled our inn. If you’ve stayed here, you know. If you haven’t stayed here yet, well, you’re in for some delightful surprises.
Life isn’t dull in New Orleans. It can’t be. The city’s texture is densely and richly woven into a parti-colored brocade.
If you want to visit New Orleans off the usual tourist radar, you know where to find us. We live in a very interesting, multi-faceted neighborhood. Good memories are made on our street.
À votre santé,
La Belle Esplanade
…where every morning is a curated breakfast salon of good food and good conversation.
Wednesday, April 5, 2017: Another beautiful New Orleans day in the secret lives of at least two of its innkeepers. No wonder we love where we live. It’s no wonder we love to share what we know about this magical city we call home.