Monday, June 23, 2008

No doubt Jean Lafitte drank here

Sure, New Orleans has hundreds of years of history on display, from its fern-hung wrought iron balconies to its brightly-shuttered shops, but it has also used those hundreds of years to adopt the best of the modern world too, as you can see above. Take your hand and cover up the bottom half of this shot. Go ahead, do it. There, you've got New Orleans, 1850. Now cover the top half. Welcome to New Orleans, cruise ship visitors!

Yes, I'm back from my four-day weekend in New Orleans for a writers conference with the NSNC, and I will be posting more pictures soon, but right now I am trying to write next week's column and convince my colon I am back in Southern California. Since Thursday I have abused the poor fella with shrimp and sausage gumbo, French bread, crawfish etouffee, and peppery roast beef po'boys. Everything in New Orleans seems to have a cream sauce. Even the cream sauce comes with a side of cream sauce.

I had amazing food, heartbreaking views of the crumbling lower ninth ward, and a really extensive walking tour of the French Quarter in 1000% humidity because I didn't bother to consult my pocket map for directions. But wrong turns often bring scenes like the picture above. And ones like this:

Click it to enlarge it. It's even better. Many of the buildings are 150 years old, and you're not allowed to alter the exterior structure any more. A pretty scene like this is around almost every corner, but I also I went around shooting all kinds of crumbling brick and peeling paint too. Anywhere else it's called "blight," but in New Orleans it's considered "charm." I'm out of time, I'll post more as the week goes on, even some shots with actual humans in them, but for now, here is some lovely crumblage across the street from the open-air French Market by the Mississippi. Ugly was never so pretty, cher.