New Orleans has made the James Clark Top 5, my official list of best places I’ve visited.
We just returned Wednesday from our first-ever trip to Louisiana where Cupcake and I soaked in the mysticism and uniqueness of what’s known as The Big Easy, among its many monikers.
The James Clark Top 5:
No. 1 – New York City
No. 2 – Key West
No. 3 – Las Vegas
No. 4 – New Orleans
No. 5 – Hilton Head
Dead last – Los Angeles
New Orleans is fascinating as a town where voodoo and magic are rooted in the fabric and the town embraces that lore. The town is also drenched in Catholicism as its main religious affiliation and good luck pronouncing those French names.
So here are a few impressions of New Orleans
The music – We like to think of our very own Nashville and Memphis as two of the great cities for music in America. New Orleans has to be included on that short list.
In the French Quarter, there’s music at seemingly every street corner and every pub. It’s some very good music in cozy venues, perfect for absorbing the emotion. Bourbon Street is a burst of song.
Cash or credit? That guy on the corner playing his horn wants you to toss money into his case. If that’s not convenient, he accepts PayPal.
One street musician group we watched touted the ability to give money by Venmo and ApplePay. These guys are keeping up with the times. Next, they’ll offer convenient $5 direct withdrawal from your checking account each month.
The future – Drawing on its rich heritage that includes the “Queen of Voodoo” Marie Laveau, there are places all over New Orleans, and especially in The French Quarter, where you can get your palm read or future predicted.
I understand the desire to get a glimpse of what tomorrow may hold. That being said, I don’t think the disheveled lady at the card table next to the parking meter is going to provide any meaningful insight. If she can't manage a regular bath, something tells me she can't see into my future.
Tombs – The most informative portion of our trip was a walking tour of the oldest cemetery in the city. In New Orleans, residents are buried above ground in tombs. The tombs serve as natural crematories as the bodies are left inside on the top level. Once the tomb is sealed, it must remain sealed for 1 year and 1 day by law. When the tomb is reopened, bones are pushed to the back and fall to the lower level.
Street performers – Among the many unique characters performing stunts on the street for money was a guy who would stand on his head. He would stand on his head for 45 seconds to a minute at a time for tips and from what I could tell he did this all day long. If you think your job is bad, this seems like a brutal way to make a living, and probably doesn't include dental insurance.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.