Having a day to share with friends in the French Quarter is always a special treat (even if you discover you've walked 10,000 steps at the end of your day). We spoke a lot about the interlocking circles of our lives and how social media is able to keep us connected once we meet.
It's still incredible to me that Pat and Graeme knew a lot about me before we even met. Then, we'd only spent an evening together with Clare, Miek and Guy...and, here they were! We only had two days, so I tried to arrange our days so that we could be sure to do the "important" things. Of course, the Napoleon House was at the top of that list. It had to be Monday-they are closed on Sunday!
I realized that afternoon that I need to get to the Napoleon House more often. I haven't been stopping in as much lately. So, when we arrived and it was all hugs and kisses from Sal Impastato at the door, I was home and realized even more how much I'd missed it.
I laughed a bit when Graeme told me that I was a "townie". But then he said: "This is your town!" And, he's right. I love going to familiar places where I feel at home. I love seeing people I know all over the city as I work and play. We'd already visited with a favorite artist, "Oscar" in the French Market and now it was the Napoleon House with hugs and kisses from Sal and a memories chat.
These unexpected moments remind me that New Orleans is New Orleans and Cadrieu is Cadrieu. They are unique places in my life that are me and home. Neither can be duplicated in the other, and I wouldn't want to try. But, somewhere herein lies a balance for my life. I leave you with a photo story set in the Napoleon House done by an exceptional New Orleans photographer and friend, Louis Sahuc. It has a place of special honor at the Chatette, along with a few other pieces you might notice!
...in Old New Orleans Town-Pat, Graeme and I made a day of it out in the French Quarter yesterday. It's been unusually foggy while they've been here. These barges on the Mississippi River looked almost ghostly from the Moon Walk.
We started off from the Wyndam Gardens Hotel on Baronne Street, did just enough of Bourbon Street to know we'd had enough before we cut over to Royal Street, and then cut behind the St. Louis Cathedral to wander through Jackson Square, to the river, to the French Market, back up to the Square, to the Napoleon House and then our wrap of the day (or so we thought) at Cafe Du Monde.
Heading back to their hotel, I wanted to show them the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone. They enjoyed it so much that we sat and had a drink there. It was a good thing...we were able to sit and enjoy a huge downpour from one of the many gargantuan picture windows that look out on to Royal Street. Making the corner back to their hotel so I could retrieve my bike, Pat announced that we had walked 10,000 steps. Mon Dieu! That announcement made my poor pitiful feet hurt even more!
We'd shared quite a chock full two days together in New Orleans and points beyond. Here's a favorite shot from my favorite place. I don't think I'd even have to ask you to guess where this is! I'll be back with more tomorrow.
Overalls and all, Pat and Graeme and I had quite a day yesterday. We started at Morning Call with beignets in City Park. Then, we wandered through the sculpture garden. Graeme knew the names of all the wild fowl and made me smile. I just call them the "water aerobics birds" or the "cluckers" or that duck that has a turkey face. From there we got on the red Canal Street Street Car and headed for downtown with a $3 one-day transit pass. At Canal and Carondelet, we transferred to the green St. Charles Street Car for a ride up as far as Audubon Park and the universities. Needing a pit stop, we tried a new spot "The Blind Pelican" on the way back and enjoyed a little wine, beer and chips and guacamole.
It became more interesting when the street car didn't come. Close to 7 streetcars passed from the other direction. Finally, ours arrived, packed to the gills, and then broke down not too far from Poydras. We sat a while. I opted to walk, but then here he came shortly after. Fortunately for my tootsies, the next driver picked us up at Poydras and then we scooped the Canal-City Park to take us back to the car. From there, it was Middendorf's Restaurant for catfish and then on to Mahogany Oaks for drinks with MIke, John and Carmen.
We had a quite a day and so much fun. It was also a day I very much enjoyed, "cameraless"-I'd left my memory card in the computer...but, I'll be back to my incorrible camera self today. Happy Monday!
Special thanks to Mike for sharing these shots this morning-they are always such a treat and Mahogany Oaks charmed everyone once more.
Fiftieth wedding annniversaries are always a big deal. When I found my invitation to Verna and Percy Lyons's celebration that their children were throwing for them; I knew I had to go. Then, there's always the question of the gift...and for me, having to ask for a ride. The gift was actually easy. I have a beautiful photo that I'd taken of one of the "spouters" at the Stravinsky Fountain in Paris on my "gift to myself" of a day last August.
I thought about all the times I'd sat in Verna's kitchen, catching up on family and watching the years go by. There were those times after the storm, when we all came together in the neighborhood and became so much closer in the face of disaster. A beer on the steps at the end of the day with Percy and the guys made any nasty day better.
During my years in France, we stayed in touch by email and all visits home included a walk down the street to say my hellos and get those hugs, kisses and I love yous.I'd call from time to time and I knew that they were always keeping an eye on the house for me.
Now, I'm here. We have lived together in this neighborhood since about 1980..34 years. It's incredible to think that we've actually shared each others lives for 34 of the 50 years of their marriage. I've watched their kids grow up. I've watched the grandchildren and great-grandchildren come. We partied and parked during JazzFest, and I wouldn't trade any of it for a million bucks.
As much as I love Cadrieu and would like to be home, I'd have missed this very special celebration if I were there and not here. And, I'd have never realized this huge gift of the shared history with my neighbors I love.
Percy and Verna may have gotten a framed heart from Paris yesterday to hang in their kitchen, but I got the gift of another aha of a greater appreciation for being able to be in my life here in New Orleans. I wouldn't trade it for a million bucks! Huge Merci to Verna and Percy-for more than you know, and Happy 50th One More TIme!
As long as I've lived here, I should know better. I walked up to this stuffed creature at the National Wildlife Refuge in Bayou Lacombe the other weekend and said: "Oh look, it's a beaver!" WRONG...this guy is a nutria. We have them all over south Louisiana. I've even seen them taking a swim in Bayou St. John from time to time. Those orange teeth in the front should have given it away!
In addition to camellias last weekend, you had the opportunity to see a bounty of "stuffed" Louisiana Wildlife and experience what it might actually be like to take a helicopter ride over all of the National Wildlife Refuges located in Louisiana. I had no idea we had so many here.
And then the best news of the day (maybe even better than all those pretty camellias),our bald eagles and brown pelicans are no longer endangered. Our conservation people have worked hard and it has really paid off. A special thanks to them, and a loud and long HOORAY!
I've never been a big breakfast person, but lately I've been enjoying a poached egg from time to time. Usually, I put it on top of some spinach/artichoke dip I like to make and it becomes a "faux" Eggs Sardou. The other morning, two of my people on the other side collided.
You see, Nadine had given me the egg poacher. Every time I use it she is close. Then, there's Vann. During one of our stateside/France telephone conversations, Vann asked: "Do you know how to make a 'cowboy omlette', Laury?" I didn't, so he explained that you: "take a piece of white bread, use a glass or something and cut out a hole in the middle, put a litle butter in your frying pan and crack your egg right into the hole." It sounded like fun, so I tried it and even shared a Cowboy Omlette breakfast with Jean.
Yesterday I decided to make a couple variations to Vann's recipe: poached egg not fried and wheat grain toast not white. Nadine would have been fine with that, but I can hear Vann screaming now: "What kind of eggs?; What kind of bread?; and, Are you out of your mind, Laury?" But he knows me, I'd just go on and do it whether he liked it or not. (I loved him very much, but we were very different people.)
If I say so myself, it was pretty wonderful. The fun thing about both versions is that after you make the hole you have a little round piece of bread left over. Fried or hot out of the toaster, I usually sweeten up that little circle with a nice jam and maybe some butter.
Hmm, maybe I should call my version the "Cowgirl Omlette". Vann would "get a giggle" out of that, but I think for Nadine it would have to be "Cow-woman".
I miss you Nadine and Vann, but stop back by for breakfast anytime!
My "no destination day" angel can be found in St. Louis Cemetery #3 on Esplanade. I got there early enough to avoid the tourists who regularly unload by the busload every day. On my way to her, I noticed some beautiful patterns, colors and textures on certain tombs that I wanted to come back to once I'd finished with her.
On my way back I'd approached from the rear and was hugely surprised when I checked out the markings on the front.
This structure has been around since the turn of the last century, 1894. It seems that with so many French people in New Orleans, there was a need for a special society to help those who were here and may have passed on. This was the first time that I'd noticed tombs and crypts that had been built by sponsoring organizations or groups. Here's another I found nearby below:
It seemed appropos that it had it's very own bird's nest resting in the corner!
And then there was a sweetness and light!
My 2014 summer in Cadrieu was floppy hats and overalls. All it took was the owner of Gabby's in St. Cirq Lapopie telling me how great the hat looked on me and Evelyn's urging, and it was a wrap. It reawakened my love of hats of all kinds, but especially those big floppy ones.
Now, there's another floppy hat in pink in Cadrieu that was a birthday present from Marina and a red one in New Orleans that I bought at the French Market when Michel was visiting.
I truly fell in love with that first floppy hat. Not only did I enjoy wearing it, but it became the perfect photo prop all around the property. I may have taken just as many pictures of that hat as I have of the Eiffel Tower!
When I think of the summer of 2014 and home, the hat has become a symbol of all that those times held for me last year. I didn't bring it back to the states, but left it resting in the Chatette. I know it's waiting there just for me.
Special thanks to Marina for the photos of me in my floppy hats!
...yesterday morning's cold weather didn't stop me from my morning bike ride. All it took was earmuffs, gloves and an extra layer or two and I was ready. It was a no destination day. I head out and just ride, letting the path find me and pull me along. I found this favorite girl on another such day. I'd promised myself that I'd come back at some point and try to get some shots of her. She's a beauty.
Some of you may know where she is located. You may find a clue or two in the photos, but I'm looking for the specific location. Any takers?