Thursday, August 03, 2006

DIXIELAND - AUGUST 1982

TWENTY THREE YEARS BEFORE KATRINA

JAZZ IN NEW ORLEANS!

New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, is a mythical city for any jazz lover! The 1982 experience, including one night for one dollar at the Preservation Hall - «the house that jazz built», at 726 St. Peter Street, sitting on the floor and hearing a band with players that used to play with Louis Armstrong -, was fantastic. Even the terrible thunderstorms at landing and takeoff were almost forgotten (though some weeks before Pan American flight 759, a Boeing 727-235, was caught by a microburst-induced wind shear during lift off and crashed, killing one hundred forty-five people on board and eight people on the ground).
When we got there - after a long journey from Lisbon to New York, a terrible time at JFK airport to go through a completely crowded Immigration Hall, and a turbulent flight from New York - it was pouring. We took a taxi to get us to the French Quarter - Vieux Carré. The taxi driver, talking somehow funny - I was the only of us who could follow his speech - explained that it would all be over when we get to the Hotel at Orleans Street, fifteen minutes later. And right he was! However, the experience of leaving the taxi (with a temperature of roughly 18º centigrade) to get to the front door of the Ramada (at 34º, and with 95% humidity, feeling like entering an oven) was also amazing.


"RAMADA INN HOTEL - With a superb location directly behind St. Louis Cathedral, in the heart of the French Quarter, the Bourbon Orleans - home for the Orleans Ballroom, opened by John Davis in 1817 - was also our home for the visit. After some troubles, in 1881, the Orleans Ballroom was acquired for an orphanage by the Sisters of the Holy Family, an order of African American nuns. In 1961, the Sisters sold it to the hotel industry..."


"ORLEANS STREET, early morning, while we could still wear trousers!"


"JACKSON SQUARE - La Place d'Armes, with the Pontalba Buildings, red-brick 4‑story buildings built in the 1840s, with shops and restaurants on the ground floors and the oldest continuously rented apartments in North America in the upper floors"


"JACKSON SQUARE - St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square. Cafe au lait and beignets at Cafe du Monde - the Cafe at the French Market, America's oldest city market - were quite close"


"ESPLANADE AVENUE - Colonial buildings"


"NATCHEZ, before one ship collided with the pier, some years later"


"ROYAL STREET"


"ST. ANNE STREET - Traditional 1982 French Quarter transportation system"


"LAFITTE'S BLACKSMITH SHOP - Built sometime before 1772, it is one of the few remaining original «French architecture» structures in the French Quarter. True Pirates of the Caribbean in their natural habitat"


"DESIRE - Tennessee Williams' «Streetcar named Desire» passing by at Canal Street"


"ROYAL CAFE at Royal Street - the masterpiece of wrought iron works"


"CANAL STREET - The line dividing the French Quarter from Uptown"


"LOYOLA UNIVERSITY CAMPUS - Preparing for the downpour..."


"BACK AT JACKSOIN SQUARE, after the rain and before Gumbo and Jambalaya..."

2 comments:

Deslilas said...

We spent several days and night in the French quarter twelve years ago it was fantastic.

Trotter said...

Deslilas,
It was already great in 1982, can imagine how it was twelve years ago. In particular the nights... ;))