Tuesday, May 11, 2010

French Quarter Magic

James, in a rather miraculous and altogether uncharacteristic move, fell into a deep sleep on Saturday afternoon in the middle of the French Quarter. He is generally content in his stroller for a minute or two but I don't think I have ever seen him actually fall asleep in it. In fact, although the Vaicius family loves to sleep in a quite profound way, I was not blessed with kids who can fall asleep anywhere anytime. You know the type. You've seen the pictures - children slumped over stairways, kids snoozing while splayed out on a hard, cold kitchen floor - I just never had that kind of luck. Until Saturday...

Maybe it was the smell of jasmine everywhere, or perhaps it was the rhythmic clomp clomp of the horse and buggy. I am not sure what it was that induced such peaceful sleep, but I do know that if we had forced James to wait in line at Maspero's for an hour and a half the afternoon would not have been as lovely. Instead, while the rest of the gang waited in line and then waited some more inside, James snoozed and I rediscovered the French Quarter. James and I roamed up and down Chartres and Royal from Canal to Esplanade and back again. We tucked into quiet courtyards when the motorcycles made too much racket. We gravitated to the shady side of the street. We occasionally followed a somewhat circuitous path when we found ourselves surrounded by raucous drunks. And all the while I noticed some of the French Quarter treasures that I haven't taken the time to appreciate in recent years.

One of the first things I noticed is the top of St. Louis Cathedral...I never realized that, in addition to the steeples, there is a tiny cupola in the back. Lovely:

This beautiful green ironwork caught my eye:

Bevolo gas lighting, everywhere and oh so pretty:

Shady little secret courtyard:

And my favorite detail of all...these black and white signs. They are so simple and so classic. If I ever needed a sign, this is the style I would go with. Tucked away inside one of the pictures is the sign (in a different style) of my favorite little French Quarter restaurant. See if you can spot it:

We ended the afternoon with some relaxing in Jackson Square followed by a buggy ride. It was my first NOLA buggy ride experience and it was fabulous. I highly recommend it and will certainly do it again next time I have guests in town who are interested.

Luz and James, chasing pigeons in Jackson Square:


Kitty Brown said...

That's it. We must figure out how to swing N.O. with these children sooner rather than later. (And Stella is on the to-do list!)

Jennifer said...

Peter and I went to the Quarter Saturday night--Absinthe House and Maspero's for dinner. We almost took a buggy ride, because we had never done it and it was so breezy and nice outside. We decided against it, but next time we'll do it!

TOITA said...

Oohh! lovely lovely lovely!!!!! Such a beautiful way to spend the week end...I am a big fan of the FQ...Those courtyards, hidden are just perfect!!!

I am NOLA homesick!!!

Scarlet said...

Julie - you are an amazing writer and journalist. I am so blessed to call you a dear friend. You made me miss the Quarter almost as much as I miss my dear Vaicius family. Love you