Monday, February 08, 2010
NEW ORLEANS RETROSPECTIVE
I was pretty excited about last night's Super Bowl win, because I went to school in New Orleans.
Correction: I finally completed my undergraduate degree in New Orleans. I started off at Richmond College in London, transferred to NYU and finished up my B.A. in Political Science at University of New Orleans.
(Don't ask about the logic behind any of this because it takes too long to explain. Besides which, those of you who know me know that logic rarely factors into any of my decisions.)
The point is, I spent an extraordinary year and a half in a city I knew nothing about before moving there. It was a totally different cultural experience than what I was used to. This shocked me, since at the time I didn't realize how different the various regions of our country can be. But I've never had a single regret. New Orleans is magical, beautiful and sometimes scary. It's the birthplace of some of this country's finest music, food and literature. I feel honored that I had the pleasure of living there for a while, and will always have a special love for New Orleans.
So today, since I am over-flowing with New Orleans nostalgia, I'm sharing some photos I took while living there. None of them are particularly well shot. I had a shitty camera. And I'm a lousy photographer. But you can click on all the photos to enlarge them (if you're reading this on the actual blog spot and not Facebook.) Plus I'll try to make up for the lack of photographic skills by explaining the pictures in detail...
This above photo is my cool Bachelorette Pad on Royal Street in the French Quarter. It was a converted stable. As you can see, this is the mid-90s, because there is a framed poster of Gustav Klimt's The Kiss on the wall. There must have been some law passed that everyone needed to display some Klimt in that era; whether it be a journal, a poster or a coffee mug. But the apartment was great. Upstairs was my loft area. The only issue was that at one point, I was up there watching some TV when I noticed some weird insects flying around. I didn't pay too much attention until I noticed that they appeared to be coming from my closet. I finally worked up the courage to open the closet and was swarmed by flying termites. It was downright Biblical. I ran screaming to my landlady. She rescued me and told me I could stay in the owner's multi-million dollar apartment, since they were living in France at the time.
I wound up staying there for the rest of my stint in New Orleans. This apartment was incredible:
I interned at WDSU, the local NBC affiliate, which at the time had their headquarters in the French Quarter. They'd send me out to cover music festivals, sporting events and block parties. But once I had to interview a woman who had just lost 4 members of her family in a fire. I was so worried walking into her house, fearing she'd be huddled in a corner, crying. But no. She was wearing her finest clothes, her hair and nails were done, and she asked if the lighting in her home was good enough. That was the biggest lesson I learned in my internship: the excitement of being on TV trumps all other emotions. This was the WDSU courtyard:
Of course, I didn't always go to my internship after school. Sometimes, my pals and I would head straight for the bars. It was usually The Napoleon House. I'd belly up to the bar, take my seat, throw my bookbag on the floor and order a Sazerac at 3:30 in the afternoon:
New Orleans is a Catholic city, which gives it a different flavor than other Southern cities. It was the first place I'd seen where people actually have altars in their homes; rows and rows of candles set up on TV trays or small side tables, flickering in the hot afternoon sun. While I was there, I went to Catholic services at St. Louis Cathedral almost every Sunday. I didn't do this to repent for my boozy ways. I went because they had the most incredible singer there. Plus, I'm a Lutheran, and I have to say, I loved all the Pomp and Circumstance. We don't have all that incense and the pageantry. It was like getting a great show for a couple bucks. Amazing:
One thing I never did while I was there was eat a famous Lucky Dog. I think this is a good enough reason to head back for a visit soon...