One definition of consciousness is the time spent between naps. New Orleans is a 24-hour city. There is always something going on at every hour of the day or night. New Orleans is a kaleidoscope of activity, a verdant playground of possibilities where the predominant culture welcomes everyone to cavort and add his or her dram of spirit to the overall infectious brew. If you are bored in New Orleans, it cannot be this city’s fault.
New Orleans is a place where dreams can come true. Find your sweet spot in New Orleans and you’ll make good memories that will last you a lifetime. Frau Schmitt and I feel triply blessed to live here. You will find your time well-spent if you choose to visit New Orleans no matter where you choose to lay your head.
Do whatcha wanna:
I was talking to Stephanie Gräfenberg the other day and she told me that she’s always happy in New Orleans. I didn’t need to ask her why. I, myself, your humble narrator, am, likewise, always happy in New Orleans, and not just because I love to pepper my sentences with parenthetical commas. Everything happens at once in New Orleans, or, as the old hands like to call our magnificent city, la Nouvelle Orléans. The lingua franca in New Orleans is happiness, even if you don’t speak Latin or French.
Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, Nola. Happy is he (or she) who comes to New Orleans.
New Orleans is messy but not in a bad way. New Orleans is balmy, even in December. I’m complaining because the temperatures are in the mid 60s (Fahrenheit) today, but I live here. To me this is cold. To you, it will feel like springtime. It is always springtime in New Orleans. Something new is always unfolding. Fresh surprises ripen around every corner. New Orleans calves many, many more good times than bad.
When you are down on your luck and feeling alone in the world, abandoned, go out on a New Orleans street, it doesn’t matter which one. It could be Bourbon Street or Magazine Street, or any of the streets where the tourists congregate, or, more specially, it could be a an off-the-radar, poetically named street. It could be Humanity Street, or Arts Street, or Desire Street, or Benefit Street, or Treasure Street, or Esplanade Avenue. All the best-named streets that aren’t named after the Nine Muses are on the downriver side of Canal Street. Uptown, you’ll find streets named after Napoleon’s battles. There is southern hospitality and then there is New Orleans hospitality.
The people who make New Orleans their home are the friendliest people on earth. They should be. They live in New Orleans because they love their city. After Hurricane Katrina, everyone who lives here made a conscious decision to come back or, like Frau Schmitt and your humble narrator, they made a conscious decision to move here to make a life here and take part in this grand rebuilding project we call New Orleans. If a person doesn’t love New Orleans, that person doesn’t live here. People who don’t love New Orleans with all their fiber and muscle and grit live somewhere else, like in Metairie. There are hotels in Metairie, but the only people who stay there are people on business and their employers, who are paying the bills, are making them do it.
Nobody takes a plane to come to our part of Louisiana to drive from strip mall to strip mall. You have Best Buy and Target at home. You didn’t come to New Orleans shop at Sam’s Club. When you love New Orleans with all your heart, you belong to a different kind of club.
Your best buy in New Orleans is to stay in a small boutique inn, to make your sanctuary in a real neighborhood. You can go the predictable tourist route if you want to. I’m not here to judge. My calling, as an independent small-scale innkeeper, is to be an ambassador for the many ineffable delights New Orleans has to offer outside the brochure experience. You can be a tourist without “being a tourist.” You know what I mean.
If you want to know what it is really like to live in New Orleans, I have just the place to recommend to you. That’s no surprise. You’re reading our blog. The best place to stay in New Orleans is La Belle Esplanade. You can like us on Facebook.
There is a physical New Orleans that is made up of the streets and the buildings and the businesses, the tourist traps as well as the pharmacies, the green grocers, the neighborhood bars, the neighborhood restaurants, the libraries, the gas stations, the Kitchen Witch, the numerous, tiny, locally owned shops that cater to the people who live here, the parks and the small family-run museums (of which the New Orleans Odditarium is one), the doctors’ offices, the optometrists, the dentists, the stenographers, the notaries, the employment offices, the garages, the machine shops, the laundries. There is also a New Orleans of the mind, the romantic vision that most people have when they arrive, the New Orleans they imagine from books or from films or from TV. There is a New Orleans of the heart, as well.
There is a New Orleans of the heart. There is a New Orleans of the heart.
New Orleans has miles and miles and miles of heart, the same way it has miles and miles and miles of smiles.
Which New Orleans do you want to discover? There is a New Orleans in which every heart smiles and doesn’t feel it’s been ripped off. That’s the New Orleans where we live. We live here consciously and grateful for what we have to share.
À votre santé,
La Belle Esplanade
….your New Orleans adventure headquarters, should you choose to get off the tourist radar.
Saturday, December 3, 2016: It’s in the mid-60s (Fahrenheit). I’m wearing two sweaters and complaining about the cold. It could be much, much worse. What’s your thermometer reading today?