I had always heard the rumor that the street performers in New Orleans had to audition and/or obtain a permit of some sort, but I recently learned it’s a little more lenient than that. I guess that’s why I was pulled out of the crowd to join a fabulous jazz band. No standards at all!
My husband and I had spent the spectacular January morning roaming, eating and shopping our way through the Quarter. It seems to me that the talent in the area gets better with each visit, and upon turning in front of St. Louis Cathedral, which is considered to be the very best spot, we heard an amazing band.
I told my husband, “These guys aren’t just thrown together. They’re professionals. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them aren’t with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra or instructors at local colleges.”
As they broke into (no kidding) When the Saints Go Marching In (which most N.O. bands hate to play because it’s so overdone and touristy) I got to sing harmony and this guy said, “You know your stuff!” That’s when I asked him, “Are any of you professional musicians?” He laughed and and said, “All of us, sister.”
I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them had the last name “Marsalis.” They were really that good. The trumpet player in the red shirt in the photo above was the leader, and he was by far the star of the show.
Here are more street performers a few blocks over. The board on the ground is so you can hear her tap shoes. Sometimes the little kids will put bottle caps on their sneakers to make tap shoes.
But on to the shopping . . . I had been looking for a good winter hat the night before . . .
and finally found this cute little red felt cloche in Meyer The Hatter, which my husband and I love. We’ve purchased several nice hats from them over the years, and love their family business which claims to be the South’s largest hat store.
We try to stay off Bourbon St., but we had to cross it to get back to our hotel that night. The crowd seemed tame, but it was early by New Orleans standards. Of course, Mardi Gras is now underway and you can go ahead and quadruple this crowd in both size and “happy” levels for the next few weeks.
No where else could you look at this building and say, “Oh, how charming!” If this were in Fairhope, people would be screaming about city ordinances, but in the French Quarter? Sigh . . . isn’t it dreamy?
the best gelato I’ve found in the United States at La Divina. After my last post on the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, several of you mentioned you are getting ready for a trip to The Big Easy. Just so you’ll know, La Davina is high on my list of recommendations.
One other place I’d recommend is The Bombay Club. Tucked away on Conti Street. Much quieter and more chic than most French Quarter establishments, it was a dressier crowd with an excellent jazz combo.
My friend Ron from Uptown Acorn lives in New Orleans and says The Bombay Club is one of his favorites as well. We ate Satsuma Creme’ Brulee’ for dessert. Wow.
The last thing I’ll show you is this stop sign post that looks like some type of ornamental iron – it’s really a cell phone tower. I put my hand on it and could feel it vibrating. “It gave me cancer.” I told my husband. “You think everything gives you cancer.” he said. To which I told him more gelato would counteract the radiation.