Visiting Nola

Nothing about this town is quiet, not even the lights
I can hear barges on the Mississippi from my 24th floor hotel room.

Beer spills over the lips of plastic cups as 
people stumble out of Bourbon Street doorways, shouting and slurring
The chest-thumping sounds of drums follow them.

Unless you want to converse with a perfect stranger, best to avoid eye contact.
But there's no way to miss the men with faces of silver

The sights jangle your senses.
Loop after loop of shiny plastic beads in every color beckon from shops.
So do feathered masks (made in China)
Neon things I'm too shy to describe

One place looks dark, but it's just subtle;
Inside are linen covered tables and silver forks and knives,
male waiters with crisp manners
And next door, in front of a rusting pull-down garage door,
servers are smoking and gossiping

I'm faintly scared and perversely fascinated
I walk fast as the sun sets
and those who live at night emerge.
I hurry past them
but listen for their cadences

I sit by the river and eat gulf shimp, hush puppies, and fries
A small combo plays blues as river breezes
make me cold but not too cold

A Minnesotan in the Big Easy
Thousands of miles separate us
but a mighty river connect us

And yet, I am alone
A stranger in a strange land


Finding Pam said…
What are you doing in New Orleans? How is Ginsberg?
Derrick said…
Having a good time from the sounds of it! I can appreciate your mix of fascination and apprehension. Super pics, Kathleen.
Pearl said…
I think it sounds absolutely wonderful!

Rudee said…
Sometimes our senses need a transfusion and we need to push the envelope on what makes us, ever so slightly, uncomfortable.

Anonymous said…
Nola, such a difference between night and day! Your impressions and interesting images bring back 1988 memories. Enjoy your travels!
Kathleen said…
@Finding Pam: Hi there! I was in Nola on business Apr 11-14. I didn't get out that much, but when I did, it sure was fascinating! Ginsberg has had some tummy troubles. Hoping to post some pictures soon. Thanks for asking!
Kathleen said…
@Derrick: Hello, hello! So nice to see your handsome face, sir! Nola is something else, that's for sure. Glad you liked the photos. I didn't have time to take many, but the place is just full of photo ops!
Kathleen said…
@Pearl: Thank you! It's been a long time since I've been there, and I was there many times pre-Katrina. I saw it through very different eyes!
Kathleen said…
@Rudee: You are SO right, wise woman!
Kathleen said…
@Linda: So you were there in 1988? Were you shooting photos? I'd sure love to see them.
Joanna said…
Hey, this word and photo essay is just wonderful. Almost makes me feel as though I'm there. I've never been to New Orleans but Oh-boy would I like to! Thanks Kathleen.
Louisiana is certainly amazing, isn't it? It's a whole 'notha culture! No wonder Gins had tummy issues: he MISSED his MAMA! Kiss my boy from his other human mama!
Kathleen said…
@Joanna: With you wonderful sense of adventure, I think you'd love it! Hope you get there.
Kathleen said…
@Shannon: Awww...that's it! LOL! My grandmother on my Dad's side was Cajun (of the East Texas variety), so I feel a kind of kinship with Louisiana. But mostly I LOVE the food! Your boy has been kissed :))

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