My first and second visits to NOLA were vacations I took when single. The first trip was for a whole week, and I had a blast. My favorite spot was a bar called Maison Bourbon. I spent enough time there on consecutive nights that the bartender and I became friendly and the drummer would sit and hang out with us too, between sets. It was very comfortable, great music and excellent conversation.
A little ways down the street is Preservation Hall, a hot, uncomfortable place, that is until the music starts to play and then NOTHING else matters.
I had breakfast at Brennan’s (erm.. well, okay — brunch) and that particular morning (erm… afternoon) they were hosting a wrap party for a movie that had just finished filming on location in and around New Orleans. So I caught a glimpse of the “Steel Magnolias”.
Anyway, during my explorations I happened upon a store where all things brass were on display, including lovely art deco lamps. Etched glass shades, with long strings of beads hanging down around the circumference. I had no place for them since at the time I was still living at home. Fast forward a year or so… after I had moved into my first apartment. I was working at a small law firm, and the office manager was really twisted. She is probably the worst person I’ve ever worked for/with and I’ve been working a very long time.
I decided I needed to get away for the holiday weekend coming up (4th of July) and so I booked a trip to NOLA (not the best time of year to go in terms of humidity, but I needed a fix.) I went with my lamps in mind. I knew they would fit the decor of my apartment, which I’d begun to furnish in art deco style. I went back to the same store, and was so glad to see they still had the lamps, I purchased and had them shipped to my home. The rest of the weekend I spent having as grand a time as possible in 3 days, which in NOLA was a very easy thing to do. When I got on the plane Monday morning (barely in time) to make the flight, I’d only had about 3 hours of sleep. The guy sitting next to me was in about the same shape as I was and we smiled at each other, exchanging the knowledge that we’d both had a really great time without having to say a word between us.
I still have those lamps, and they’ve moved with me from Queens to Brooklyn, to Beaverton, OR, and back here to NY and they still evoke fond memories. Though they don’t fit the decor of our current residence, I doubt I’ll ever part with them.
I am a dedicated lover of Jazz, good food & spirits. As the birthplace and epicenter of Jazz, New Orleans is one of the most important places on the planet to me (and many others). I do not understand how this country can allow this cultural center, this most unique and wonderful place to simply vanish.