We travel to experience, to taste, to smell, to touch, to hear, to breathe and to live something new, something exotic, something exciting. That we travel means we are but passing through. So we convert all those sensory pleasures into memories that last a lifetime. Or until Alzheimer’s comes calling. I made plenty of memories in New Orleans, the most famousest littlest city in the whole of the Deep South. It’s a part of the world I’ve been longing to explore, and will return to again one day. But for now, I’ve memories just of New Orleans. Which of those memories are most memorable? Well, let’s see.
We landed in New Orleans new shiny airport, serenaded by a jazz playing trio. Our cab took us to Treme, a neighbourhood outside the French Quarter with mixed reviews. Jesus, it looked like a bomb had hit it. Turns out no, not a bomb. It was a hurricane. But it’s an odd neighbourhood. One house will have a freshly painted porch and a sparkling new BMW outside, rubbing fenders with a beat up twenty year old wreck parked outside a decrepit shack. The roads everywhere are what you’d expect to find in an African village. Potholes, sporadically interrupted with a patch of tarmac.
The trolley buses are cool. The French Quarter is great fun to explore. We arrived at the Garden District too late to enjoy the grand homes and gardens, but had a fabulous dinner in Joey K’s. We rode a paddlewheel boat down the Mississippi to the Chalmette Battlefield where something or other happened, some time ago, nothing of great importance I think. I went to a football game and saw New Orleans Saints have their behinds served to them by the Dallas Cowboys. We ate Po-boys and fried fish and gumbo, all of which were ok without threatening to break into the top ten list of best things I’ve ever eaten. We drank lost of coffee and ate more beignets than we should have. We listened to jazz. And I took some photos.
We walked through City Park and went to the New Orleans Museum of Art, which I highly recommend and where my most memorable memory was made. There was a display of piles of broken glass, covered by a pane of glass to keep the piles in place. I touched the pane of glass, but it turns out there was no pane of glass. My finger plunged straight into one of the piles, flattening it. I was mortified. Touching things with no touching signs, using a flash to photograph things when flashes are forbidden, and pushing in orderly queues – you just do not do these things. Worse, my offence was noted. Worse still, I was told off.
Were I Japanese, I would have disembowelled myself on the spot. But I’m not. I’m British. So I apologised profusely and left quickly, ensuring no further eye contact was made with anyone for the rest of the day.