I like to take the bus. When our guests take the bus, I always tell them that I admire people from out of town who take the bus. They get to see a side of New Orleans that most people who are busy getting chummy with their Uber drivers for ten minutes will never see. They’ll also get to talk to people on the bus that, unlike Uber drivers, aren’t getting paid to be friendly to them. When you take the bus, you experience New Orleans like a local. The bus will take you where you want to go and you’ll see the best sides of our wonderful city. You’ve either got or you haven’t got style.
Who doesn’t like to start with a little Bing, Sinatra and Dino? It’s just the introductory appetizer, an amuse oreille. If you eat in enough fancy New Orleans restaurants you’ll know what an amuse bouche is. Google Translate can’t make heads or tails of the term, but Frau Schmitt and I have eaten at enough fancy New Orleans restaurants to know what it’s supposed to mean. You’ve either got, or you haven’t got style. If you have it, you’ll stand out a mile.
What are we talking about? We’re talking about La Belle Esplanade, of course.
What’s so great about taking the bus? I am well aware that you probably don’t take the bus when you’re wherever you live, even if your hometown has a public transit system. Some places don’t have public buses. When you’re at home, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to drive, and you’ll do that. When you’re in New Orleans, take my advice: walk, ride the streetcar, or take the bus. I like to take the bus.
In New Orleans, the buses, the streetcars, and the ferry are run by the RTA (New Orleans Regional Transit Authority). If you click the link for the No. 91 Route map, you’ll see that the bus that stops in front of our house will take you from the Cemeteries, along the border of the French Quarter, to the Garden District, with plenty of tempting stops in between. Our address is located between stops B and C, but the bus stops every two blocks. Those demarcated stops are just for time reference on the schedule. Stand on our corner 15 minutes after the hour or 20 minutes before the hour, and you’ll have an enlightening ride to the Garden District. Most people don’t go to the Cemeteries. There isn’t a lot going on there.
A flower’s not a flower if it’s wilted. A hat’s not a hat till it’s tilted. You’ve either got or you haven’t got style.
Ours is not a fusty inn or a dumpy inn. It’s neither drab nor flabby, dusty or musty. It’s a boutique experience inn. There are some antiques, but our inn isn’t full of them. Our inn is the site of a museum, but not it’s not the kind where you’ll be bored. La Belle Esplanade is full of surprises. When I say surprises, I don’t mean that you’ll find a dead cockroach in the bathtub.
We’ve either got or we haven’t got style. It’s difficult to judge oneself objectively, and we try to be humble. I think we have style. Our guests tell us we do. Who am I to contradict them?
La Belle Esplanade is located a mile from the French Quarter. It’s about a mile walk to City Park and the New Orleans Museum of Art in the other direction. In either direction there are bars and restaurants. Our neighborhood, being in the middle of it all, contains quite a few surprises that are off the usual tourist radar. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find within a mile radius of our house.
I’m from up North. When I walk a mile, it takes me about fifteen minutes. When you walk a mile in New Orleans, it will take you longer. There are a lot of details that will distract you and make you slow down. Sometimes, it takes me 45 minutes to walk a mile in New Orleans because I get distracted looking at something that intrigues me, and then I get to chatting with someone on the corner or sitting on their front porch. You never know what you’ll find when you stroll New Orleans, but it will be good.
Let’s end with a little Bing and Satchmo.
In New Orleans, it’s all jazz. Jazz, jazz, jazz. You’ve either got style or you don’t.
À votre santé,
La Belle Esplanade
…Consistently named “AN INN OF DISTINCTION.”
August 28, 2016: Today, like every day in New Orleans, has been positively therapeutic.