New Orleans has a long history of being destroyed. Floods, fires and disease have tried to erase this city for centuries, to no avail. In 1877, in the midst of a devastating Yellow Fever outbreak that would kill thousands, the writer Lafcadio Hearn wrote to a friend in Cincinnati, and summed up the city this way;
"Times are not good here. The city is crumbling into ashes. It has been buried under a lava flood of taxes and frauds and maladministrations so that it has become only a study for archaeologists. Its condition is so bad that when I write about it, as I intend to do soon, nobody will believe I am telling the truth. But it is better to live here in sackcloth and ashes than to own the whole state of Ohio."
Anyone who’s spent time there, anyone who’s been pulled in by the allure and history of the city, understands Hearns completely. New Orleans goes down for the count, but somehow gets off the mat, and comes back swingin’. It is a place where the ghosts of the past embrace you like humidity, and escort you on a tour of her corporeal delights. Whether that’s music, food, alcohol, or flesh itself, the city has long traditions and experiences to build upon.
New Orleans is Siren with a gamblers heart, beckoning you towards the shore, and then betting whether you’ll crash on the rocks or not, with no vested interest in the outcome beyond the game itself.
It’s said that slaves brought from the Caribbean brought Voodoo to the city, but If you asked them, they’d probably tell you that Voodoo was always here, that they found it waiting for them when they arrived. After all, slavery was commonplace, but a history of Voodoo is not. Magic and spirituality are the undercurrent of everyday life, and they protect and bolster the people as they go through their lives.
The St. Charles Streetcar is the world’s greatest entertainment value at $1.25 one way, or $5 for an all day pass. The historic old cars rumble from Canal, just across from the famed French Quarter, through the CBD (Central Business District), around Lee Circle, up St. Charles past the stately antebellum mansions and Colleges, around the bend to Carrollton and up by the famed Maple Leaf Bar! I dare you to ride with the windows open on a pleasant Spring day, or a steamy Summer night, and not be taken in by the sights, sounds and smells.
MORE TO COME