John pretty much knocked it outta the park this Christmas when he presented me with tickets for the two of us for New Orleans in April. He had never been “down south,” let alone NOLA, and knew how much I wanted to show him around my home state and basically just show off. Plus it would be our first trip as a couple completely on our own; no friends, no family, just us against the world. I’d say we did pretty well for ourselves.
We booked a house in the Seventh Ward; an adorable shotgun, “creole cottage” about a mile outside of the French Quarter. I always try to make it a point to stay and explore more of the neighborhoods of New Orleans versus the Quarter but it was nice to be removed yet within walking distance.
We first arrived pretty late at night and struggled with our rolling suitcases through the darkened backyard. We made it without waking up our host and immediately changed out of our traveling clothes and headed straight back out the door towards Frenchman Street, determined to catch some jazz and make the most of our 10:30pm arrival.
Passing by the Spotted Cat, we eventually found ourselves in a small bar slash restaurant that had a live band and parked ourselves at the bar. There ended up being quite the dance-off in front of us; girlfriends were stolen from their partners, boyfriends quickly stole them back, and all the while Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was hilariously playing on mute in the background.
The next morning, after I had enjoyed a cup of coffee in the backyard, I left John to his slumbering and explored our new neighborhood. I’m kinda a sucker for regional-specific architecture…
Did I mentioned that the day after we arrived it was also gonna be Easter Sunday? Surprise! I was stoked that we would be able to catch the Easter parades down in the Quarter so once John was up, we dressed in our freshest “Sunday best” and fixed us some geaux-cups for the walk (when in NOLA after all). We caught the tail-end of the Chris Owens French Quarter Easter Parade but our sights were mainly set on the 19th Annual Gay Easter Parade that started at 4pm. If anyone needed any ideas for the (at that point upcoming) Met Gala theme this year, we had the ultimate mood board…
After the last of the floats disappeared around the corner and the resounding sound of “YAS QUEEN” was slowly dying down, we decided to make our way back home, stumbling through our shortcut through Louis Armstrong Park and back through my favorite neighborhood, Treme. We found our way onto North Prieur Street and happily collapsed in our little blue home-away-from-home. I gave John a pat on the back for our most successful Easter Sunday yet. Ya done good kid, ya done good.
The next day, we decided to catch a ride to the Garden District and explore Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. Burying the dead in a city built below sea level was definitely a problem that needed a solution for the early residents of New Orleans; the ingenious solution being to entomb the deceased in marble chambers above ground, lest the flood waters carry away the unfortunate souls buried in the earth. This uniquely NOLA tradition ended up creating one of the city’s most lingering attractions that is both steeped in history and remains hauntingly beautiful to this day. Being born in Lafayette, Louisiana, it was somewhat comforting being enclosed in a place for the dead named after the city of my birth… I’m kinda a weirdo though.
I’ll save the rest of my musings for Part II but just to round out the haunted vibes, I’ll leave you with some window displays that warmed the cockles of my Halloween heart. What more could you expect outside a cemetery founded in 1833? Crafting projects for next October? Check and check.