French Quarter is no longer really French. Back in the day, this oldest part of New Orleans looked completely different. French colonial style mansions were occupied by the French-Creole elite (France colonized Louisiana in the 17th century). The Great New Orleans Fire of 1788 swallowed most of the French architecture and it was soon replaced by smaller houses adjacent to each other, in Spanish style (the city was rebuilt by Spaniards who now ruled Louisiana). A few years later New Orleans was in flames again, and in them disappeared the remaining French buildings.
After the fires and architectural bullying of the Spanish, yet another disaster awaited the French-Creole salon: immigrants from Italy and Ireland started to settle in the area. And if that was not enough, shutting down the bordello filled Storyville brought the debauchery to the streets of the French Quarter. The French-Creole left. Only the name remained.
French Quarter tak naprawdę nie jest już francuski. Kiedyś ta najstarsza część Nowego Orleanu wyglądała zupełnie inaczej. W posiadłościach w starym, kolonialnym, francuskim stylu mieszkała francusko-kreolska śmietanka (Francja skolonizowała Luizjanę w XVII wieku). Wielki pożar w 1788 roku strawił większość francuskiej architektury, którą zastąpiły mniejsze, przylegające do siebie domy w stylu hiszpańskim (odbudową zajęli się Hiszpanie, którzy przejęli rządy nad Luizjaną). Kilka lat później Nowy Orlean płonął ponownie, a z nim reszta francuskich budynków.
|Our first stop was Killer Poboys where the crew serves innovative versions of the traditional po'boys. The menu is short and it changes according to the season and the mood of the chefs. The place is very hard to find as it occupies a little room in the very back of a busy bar under a different name. |
We ordered po'boys with lime cilantro shrimp, with pickled radishes, shredded carrots, cucumber, herbs and a special sauce. I bow down to the KP crew. Extra points for the decor because the walls are painted with portraits of staff and regulars, and every few minutes somebody from the wall appears in person. The only negative is the cigarette smoke. Smoking in bars is still legal in Louisiana.
|Beignet, i.e. a square, unfilled donut exuberantly covered with powdered sugar and local coffee made half and half with real coffee and chicory are a New Orleans must-try. Preferably at the 150 years old Café du Monde. I'd like to disagree. Not a must-try. A piece of fried dough, caffeinated dishwater and the atmosphere of a train station. Saved money and stomach real estate are best spent on another po'boy!|
|One day we stopped for breakfast at Croissant d'Or. A perfect little place for a slow morning over a newspaper.|
|Verdi Marte. A very inconspicuous shop with a great carry-out hidden in the back. Locals pop in for 'the usual', even the Jolie-Pitt clan comes here for a bite.|
|We established a simple strategy for exploring French Quarter: to walk every single street. We almost accomplished it too. I ran out of time to take pictures of Bourbon Street, which we were pushing for later and later still. Honestly, crossing it multiple times during our wanderings in FQ was painful enough - we were jostling with crowds of drunk tourists, each with an obligatory neon daiquiri in hand (drinks to-go are legal in NOLA), with touts for bars and strip joints, with peddlers of all kinds of crap, and with in-your-face advertisements of all sorts. It's hard to believe that for some Bourbon Street is a destination in itself, sometimes the sole one in New Orleans!|
|Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop is the (allegedly) oldest continuously running bar in the US. A legend has it that the famous pirate Lafitte made business deals out of this place. |
The bar supposedly is haunted but it is nothing extraordinary in New Orleans where there are at least several establishments where unexplained phenomena regularly take place. After all, it's a city of pirates and lost fortunes.
St. Louis Cathedral - perfect for orienting yourself during FQ walks.
New Orleans makes dough on voodoo.
|In the evenings we'd leave French Quarter. While the tourists and partygoers are blowing money on Bourbon Street, the locals flow to listen to live music in Marigny, the next neighborhood over from the French Quarter.|
|Many beloved bars with live music are located on Frenchman Street. The best show we caught on our first night there, at the Blue Nile. The Washboard Chaz Trio took the stage.
The music and the atmosphere of that night is stuck in my head. I've been listening to Louisiana music for years, I've long been talking about taking zydeco lessons, I think I just might now be ready to move to NOLA.
|Na Frenchman Street znajduje się wiele słynnych barów z muzyką na żywo. Na najlepszy koncert załapaliśmy się pierwszej nocy w Blue Nile. Grało Washboard Chaz Trio.
Muzyka i atmosfera tej nocy siedzi mi w głowie. Od lat słucham luizjańskiej muzyki, dawno obiecałam sobie nauczyć się tańczyć zydeco, na przeprowadzkę do Nowego Orleanu nie trzeba byłoby mnie namawiać.
|A poor quality video but it catches the vibe of that night. It was recorded by somebody in the same venue, a week earlier.|