Wow, you guys, New Orleans. The food, the music, the buildings, the people. All of it. I love all of it. I even loved the heat and humidity, which my friend Kate thought was insane. Everything about this city is unique and fun and crazy. The day after I arrived Kate and I hopped a street car into the French Quarter to do a little shopping. We ate lunch at Royal House; fried catfish and jambalaya. We also both tried Sno-Balls for the first time, which is like a southern version of italian ice (aka water ice, if you’re from philly, like me). And I loved it so much that it became a necessary stop any time we saw a stand. And of course we had to stop at Cafe du Monde for some beignets! It was insanely crowded so we ordered ours to go and sat by the window, watching them make the donuts. They were messy but so, so good.
The next day we signed up for a graveyard and garden district walking tour. I’d never really been into tours before but there is so much obvious history in New Orleans and I wanted to learn as much as I could. We walked through the Lafayette Cemetery and learned about why the graves are above ground and then went through the garden district learning about the different architecture styles. The highlight of the tour for us was getting to see John Goodman’s house! Our tour guide was a blast and didn’t care that we took really touristy photos in front of John Goodman’s house…
The rest of the week was honestly a blur because we jam packed every day with some sort of fun New Orleans event. While Kate worked during the day I walked to a coffee shop to get my own work done, which was really fun for me to feel a little bit like a real local. Kate took off on Wednesday so we went to the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Katrina Museum. The Katrina Museum was incredible. It thoroughly explained the specifics of how the storm occurred, why the effects were so damaging, and what could have prevented the catastrophe. There were recordings of people’s testimonies; from hospital workers, to residents, to tourists that were unfortunately visiting during the storm. It was heartbreaking. But when we came back outside there was a brass band playing in the street, almost as a testament to how strong and full of life the people are here.
These are journal entries by a man named Tommie Elton Mabry that he wrote on the walls of his building after the storm.