Here’s a little story about the rest of my Free Friday in the Quarter. What is it about wandering in the French Quarter alone on a warm, breezy, sunny afternoon that’s so appealing? I think it’s being there without needing to accomplish anything. I’m not on vacation so I’m not trying to cram a bunch of special experiences into my day. Even as a local, I find the Quarter a bit exotic. There’s so much to see, hear, smell, notice. There’s a texture to the neighborhood, from the slate sidewalks to the crumbling red bricks. Every step I take provides another photo opportunity or a chance to chat with an interesting character, or both.
I wandered. I strolled. I sat. I watched. I listened. I smiled. I didn’t wear a watch. I didn’t have an agenda. I brought my journal just in case, but this is at least the third time I’ve gone to the Quarter with a writing intention and abandoned the plan. I have this vision of sitting at Cafe du Monde, nibbling on beignets and sipping café au lait and writing. But what I end up doing instead is people watching. There’s just too much to see.
I walked up to the river and marveled at the exposed mud flat at the water’s edge. I watched a giant tanker make its way upstream.
I walked around Jackson Square and admired the artists at work.
I complimented a buggy driver on his beautiful lavender carriage and his matching purple suit. He told me ruefully that his wife dresses him. He asked me where I was from, told me the ride was cheap. I laughed, told him I’m local and said, “You know you love that your sweetheart picks out those fantastic outfits!” He grinned. I wonder if he has a wife. I kind of hope so. I wish I had a photo of him to show. You’ll have to imagine. Next time, maybe.
I stopped in a couple of shops. I am a new fan of Lush. I came home with a massage bar, a bath bomb, and some other bubble producing concoction. I felt pretty decadent.
I discovered the National Park Visitors’ Center – with bathrooms! – in a stretch of Decatur that I never traverse. I’ll remember it for future reference. It’s set back in a lovely courtyard.