As someone not destined to see pre-Katrina New Orleans, I cannot but wonder how much of its bygone beauty and greatness the city has preserved until the present. This speculation is meant as a compliment, for New Orleans is very much alive and well today, and by all means a cultural fount on the nationwide scale.
Our tour of New Orleans began with the Metairie Cemetery, which is home to some of the most impressive vaults and mausoleums I had ever seen. In retrospect, I was positive that the cemetery scene from Easy Rider was shot at that very place; nevertheless, it is St. Louis Cemetery that we see in the movie. In total, there must be another seven or eight cemeteries in New Orleans, though, perhaps, not as imposing as the two discussed.
I was even considering one of these photographs for this post’s featured image, but I reckoned that it would be bad form to represent the city that only a decade ago suffered a major calamity with a sight of a burial ground.
New Orleans proudly celebrates its cultural heritage by dedicating various sites to its former star citizens. Louis Armstrong Park is one such example.
Although I would not characterize the art installations situated in the park as too exquisite or thoughtful, I can attest that the park duly performs its recreational function.
Notable places and objects can surely be found in most parts of New Orleans, yet it is the French Quarter that forms the nucleus of the city, along with its ever-bustling Bourbon Street.
The French Quarter hosts many of the iconic Orlean sights, such as St. Louis Cathedral
and the Cabildo museum at Jackson Square
A big menace during the hurricane season, New Orleans’s vast waterfronts along Lake Ponchartrain and other gulf-facing lakes are scenic harbors and promenades in more peaceful times.
A colossal amount of graphical art is sold (and, I dare guess, made) within the city limits, at shops like Jamie Hayes Gallery.
It is universally agreed that New Orleans made a colossal contribution to the cultivation and popularization of jazz. Musical Legends Park is one of the places that commemorate that cause.
Preservation Hall (which itself does not seem to be preserved all that well) is another.
While there is an official Hurricane Katrina memorial in New Orleans, it is much too artless and formal to have roused our interest, making the Scrap House the preferred choice for our excursion.
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Rather than deluging you with heaps of photos taken in random spots of New Orleans, in what follows I attempt to give a visual recount of the city by illustrating its most pronounced facets with a few representative sights. Naturally, Bourbon Street makes a frequent appearance on these pictures.
Abundant street life. Pedestrians—townspeople and tourists alike—populate most central streets day and night. Some dart about; others amble along. Some carry a casual conversation; others silently observe.
Parks and recreational facilities. When it comes to picnicking and other outdoors leisure, there is no shortage of green areas to do it in.
LGBT. The LGBT culture is strong in New Orleans, and its manifestations vary
wildly widely from welcoming to obscene.
Clubs and performances. Jazz, rock, and disco parties, comedy and drama shows, burlesque, and lots more are being hosted and performed on the crowded streets and extravagant stages of downtown New Orleans.
Bizarre art. Being a major bohemian haven of the South, New Orleans is home to some very eccentric forms of art. Many peculiar exhibits can be seen daily at the Frenchmen Art Market.
Mardi gras. I cannot say much about the observance of the holiday in New Orleans because we were out of season.
Deserted houses. More than ten years of cleaning, rebuilding, and renovating later, there are still hundreds, if not thousands, of vacant houses, some ruinous and some well-preserved, casting jealously doleful looks upon their more fortunate owned neighbors.
Abandoned factories. There are also a few buildings of nonoperational business facilities, such as that of the Dixie Brewing Company, and even territories, such as that of Six Flags park (whose gates a mean guard would not let us approach within 500 yards).
Lively and diverse architecture. It would be unjust to leave out the fact that New Orleans harbors plenty of charming architecture (of most garish tones at times). Many examples can be found in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood and Garden District.
This concludes my piece on Louisiana and New Orleans, one of the most vibrant U.S. cities we have had the good fortune to visit.
A mandatory map of Louisiana: