February 22, 2010

The Quirky Quarter

Locals don't call it the French Quarter. It is simply the Quarter.

To say that this New Orleans neighborhood is unique is a bit of an understatement.

A tiny bit of the city - a mere half a mile rectangle - that is a whole little universe onto itself. It is crammed to the gills with charm, history, music, decadence and a seductive spirit that I've never encountered in any other American city.

The Quarter's inhabitants, affectionately known as Quarter Rats, live their lives in the midst of all the hullabaloo. They work, shop, eat, drink and even raise children in this colorful, famous (some might say infamous) and definitely quirky neighborhood of New Orleans.

We lived smack dab in the middle of it for two years.
Our narrow, faded pink shotgun house on the corner of Orleans and Burgundy was the perfect vantage point for observing life in the Quarter. And living it.

I rode my cruiser everywhere. Gone were the days when I needed a mountain bike to navigate hills like I did in Seattle. Most of my grocery shopping was done on foot with the help of my trusty market trolley at the little A&P down the street and at the Central Grocery (credited for inventing the Muffuletta, it also has a great selection of Italian and other European pantry items).
Work was only a few blocks away and even though we had a car, it wasn't used very often.

We became regulars at our favorite restaurants and bars, and had two little corner delis who offered 24 hours a day delivery on speed dial for those emergency midnight ice cream, jambalaya or po-boy cravings. One of them also makes a killer meatloaf.

New Orleans, especially the Quarter, teaches you to appreciate living in a whole new way.
It is an exhilarating roller coaster ride that rarely offers a dull moment. It is passionate and delicious and can take your breath away when you least expect it to. It is sometimes exhausting.

Yes, I miss it. Terribly sometimes.
But as others have pointed out, I have the best of both worlds. My home away from home with friends in New Orleans and my home in la belle France.
It's a perfect balance. Pin It
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