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


Sarah said...

what a wonderful virtual tour of New Orleans quarter. Beautiful photographs that really captures the atmosphere

katiez said...

How wonderful! I've always wanted to live in a city - never have. I've never been within walking distance of anything (other than cows and fields)

Anonymous said...

passionate, delicious, exhausting, rollercoaster? Sounds not unlike Paris...

Great photos!

Loulou said...

Glad you enjoyed the photos. It is a wonderful place to visit. Have you ever thought of going?

Never? I am exactly the opposite! Living in France has been my first experience with living in the country.

I like that you say that. I think we're ready for a bit of a roller coaster ride again. :)

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Thanks for sharing New Orleans with us. Your life has changed a lot since moving to France .. but as you say you have the best of both, :-)

Mme Paulita said...

you are living the dream! *sigh* at least my dream. I would love to stumble across those fleur de lis and windows

Alison said...

I feel like asking "Why did you ever leave New Orleans?" but I agree that living in the Minervois can be pretty special...lucky you...

Thanks for the tour. I've never been down to New Orleans.

spacedlaw said...

till: It looks like a beautiful plce to live. What is in a Muffuletta sandwich?

sarah said...

never visited, but when I do, I have just the quote!

New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin.-
Mark Twain (is this true?)

Mlle Paradis said...

yes you are lucky!

Loulou said...

Yes, life has changed a lot, and in most ways for the better. I love going back to visit though!

Mmme Paulita
You should head to New Orleans and check out the funky antiques shop where I snapped this photo. You aren't that far away! :)

I used to ask myself that question sometimes.
Now I know that our move to France was the best decision. We love it here!
You really should take a trip down there sometime. You would love it!

A muffuletta is an Italian meat, cheese and olive salad on thick bread sandwich that was invented in New Orleans.

Thank you for sharing that quote with me! Yes, it is true. :)

Mlle Paradis
I feel very fortunate

Anonymous said...

Perfect photos, wonderful post; even though you only lived in NOLA two years, you obviously got our charm. I especial liked the first photo. Nothing makes me think of NO like a Fleur De Lis. Every night I go to sleep in my great-great grandparents bed which features a hand carved Fleur at the top of the headboard. I'm really not comfortable in another bed.
I'm a former Quarter Rat now living in Faubourg St. John.
Y'all come an visit us now. Life is still good after the Federal flood.

Loulou said...

Your bed sounds wonderful and I can imagine why you can't sleep elsewhere.
I tell people all the time to visit New Orleans. It is such a special place!
Thanks for your comment.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

What an interesting life you've led to have lived in the French Quarter and now in France! I've only been to NO once quite a few years ago. I loved the architecture! Was that the house you lived in with the flag on the balcony?

Loulou said...

No, that wasn't our house, though the color is the same. :)
New Orleans is such an amazing city!