fog and statue

February 19, 2011 diario/journal, new orleans


I’ve waited to write this entry, because I wasn’t sure what perspective to take. And I didn’t know how to tell about a place that was nothing like anywhere else I had been.

When we were trying to find a mid-way point between San Francisco and Pittsburgh that was warm, New Orleans popped on the radar. I headed south with little thought of place. I was more interested in the fact that I was going to visit with one of my oldest friends and that it was going to be warm.

Flying in and circling the gulf was amazing. The flat waters were littered with rigs and other oil producing super-structures. It reminded me of a spring garden – all pegs and stakes waiting to be covered with summer green. And heading into the runway, you saw the famous levees like giant potholes scratched in the landscape. We stayed downtown on the edge of the French Quarter.

Friday night we walked the area around the casino. This is all new construction. We found a decent beer garden and sat and talked in short sleeves. (The last time I was in warm weather in February was 2001 and never before then.)

Saturday morning the whole area was wrapped in fog. And not knowing the surroundings I had no idea what the fog was hiding. This time we did get into the French Quarters and I had my cameras.

The young man in the photo reminded me of Paris twenty years ago where I saw similar performance artists. They are living statues spending the whole time immobile. The difference was that in Paris they were all dressed as angles or devils. I guess in 21st century America musicians and robots are our angles and demons. (Will these present-day saints take requests? Will they hear my prayers and intercede?) The black and white cones on the right are for the tourists to deposit their offerings.

in the house of the rising sun

February 20, 2011 diario/journal, new orleans


It wasn’t until Sunday that I began to see the old world in New Orleans. The first time through the Quarter, I was too disoriented and in a fog to pay attention. But the second time through I could look and see the muted colors of French country houses, the now-memories of long ago, the shutters, the floor to ceiling windows, the lace-iron balconies.

The shutters and louvers of the windows in the pic on the right, remind me of the country houses we saw on our road-trip south from Paris to Ronchamp.Notre-Dame-du-Haut Back then, the five of us – Rick, Sarah, Shana, Mim and I – stayed in a farm house before we headed to Ronchamp. Back then, I saw the chapel in the rear-view mirror and I was lost. Back then, we climbed the mountain-road to Notre-Dame-du-Haut. Back then, in Corbusier’s chapel, I knelt and prayed. (How is it that 20 year old memories and 40 year old feelings find their way back to the present?)

Sunday morning the Quarter and the square in front of the Cathedral were filled. This was the pre-Mardi Gras crowd. The taxi driver, who took us to the airport, told us that by the week-end the place would be crawling with out-of-towners. (The city had already placed road barricades up and down the parade streets.) On one level I was glad to be heading home and away from the pre-Lenten ritual.

The pic of the shutters and louvers is from the courtyard where Tom and I had breakfast Sunday morning. The fog was gone.