New Orleans Gumbo Report

Fountain, Audubon Park, New Orleans. Alive with strolling dog walkers, bicyclists, roller bladers on a warm afternoon in April.
Fountain in Audubon Park, New Orleans, alive with strolling dog walkers, bicyclists and roller bladers out to catch a breeze on a warm April afternoon. One shirtless denizen biked hands-free, head thrown back, singing show tunes. The fountain is flanked by bronze babies riding on turtle back, playing a sly joke on the thirsty passer-by, because right below each turtle’s tail is drinking-water fountain. If you lean in for a slurp, you appear to be kissing the turtle’s bottom.

On Magazine Street over margaritas and sherry-soaked scallop tacos, a New Orleans friend put it this way: “we are drinking people with a parading problem”.

He was talking about his relatively local wheelbarrow parade, but he might have meant the city itself. It’s a town that loves to dance in its streets.

Birds of Audubon Park: mallards, wood ducks, muscovies, egrets and green herons, lots of cormorants. A zillion eastern gray squirrels.
Birds of Audubon Park: mallards, wood ducks, muscovies, egrets and green herons, lots of cormorants and eastern gray squirrels coexist with an ongoing parade of humanity.
Enchanting little houses with post tropical colors.
Old-time cartoon houses look like they’re about to pull their big round boots out of the foundation and dance down the block.

Our friends are among the many who lost their home to flood waters after Hurricane Katrina. They embody strength and resilience, like the oaks of Audubon Park, and fill their lives with joy and work and meaning. And parades.

The great live oaks in Audubon Park still stand firm. This one peeled off some bark but looks healthy. A good load of resurrection ferns along its arms must bring it a little good luck.
Giant live oaks unroll long branches onto the grass. Audubon Park’s trees embody strength, time and resilience. This one lost some bark, maybe with the help of Katrina, but looks otherwise hearty and hale. The resurrection ferns surely brought it good luck.
A fine and private place; the little courtyard gardens of New Orleans entice discreetly from behind iron spikes.
Fine and private places: New Orleans’ coy little courtyard gardens entice and forbid from behind iron spikes.
A streetcar named St. Charles rumbles uptown, drops me off in the Garden District near Lafayette Cemetery #1.
A streetcar named St. Charles rumbles uptown. Drawn between stops.


Lafayette Cemetery Number 1
Lafayette Cemetery # 1. Magnolias flourish, and so do ferns and other overgrowth. Our tour guide from the Save Our Cemeteries Society bemoaned the decrepit condition of older, abandoned tombs: dissolving marble, fallen away plaques, resurrection ferns and wispy wildflowers filling cracks. That’s the way I’d want it, though- a slow dissolve to mossy stones and chipmunks, and bird’s nests. My kind of tomb.
Lafayette Cemetary #1
Lafayette Cemetary #1
Don Vappie and his Creole Serenaders play in the People's Health Economy Hall Tent at JazzFest.
Don Vappie and his Creole Jazz Serenaders blew out all the stops in the People’s Health Economy Hall Tent. Not so easy to sketch when you’re doing the folding chair boogie.
Mardi Gras Indians parade with the Black Eagles, Shawee and Big Chief Kevin Goodman & the Flaming Arrows.
Black Eagles, Shawee and Big Chief Kevin Goodman & the Flaming Arrows parade through the fairgrounds at JazzFest.

In a weekend of highlights, here’s a good one: a parade of the Mardi Gras Indians at Jazzfest- taken on my iphone. Let the good times roll!

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