Are you ready for a story that has everything? music, laughter, anger, fear, craziness, love and lots of fried food?? well, there’s only one place I can think of… I had a dream to go to that city for about 10 years. I was already traveling in Central America for 3 months at that time. But I had a mission when I decided to cross the Atlantic- I need to make my dream come true. So I left Central America, took a U turn and came back to the US. The deep deep south to be exact: New Orleans, Louisiana. In other words- NOLA.
I can honestly say that it doesn’t matter how many stories/funny tales/spelling mistakes/random words/gibberish/fgsdfdg I will write here, or how many photos I will upload (A lot- don’t worry), Still, you won’t understand this madness called NOLA until you actually go there. That’s also why I decided to write 2 posts about New Orleans and also- it’s just bits of information because there’s just so much to do there. In NOLA it’s Carnival day every day. It has a very strong French influence, but also Spanish. and let’s not forget it’s still is ‘Merica.
So Mardi Gras – or in french “fat Tuesday”…. what is it? well, it’s Basically Carnival time. You have these Carnivals all over the christian world (like Brasil). The celebrations start about 2 weeks before the Mardi gras day. The parades in New Orleans are organized by social clubs known as a “Krewe” (pronounced in the same way as “crew”). Famous Krewes include Rex, Zulu, Krewe of Bacchus and much more.
Obviously, if I’ll ever form a krewe or some sort of social club, it’s would be called “Krewe Jew”. No need to think twice.
So the Mardi Gras day was insane, but I want to share with you the best part. First of all, understand, it started around 9am and around 10 degrees Celsius. So damn cold and early. And what you do is basically stretch your arm far enough and ask/shout for some beads. Or if it’s the Zulu parade- for the golden coconut. I don’t know when or how this tradition started, but Krewe Zulu throws coconuts (empty ones don’t worry!) that are hand painted and super cool. That’s the big prize you want to get. And I was with my friends and I managed to get one. I was so happy!! I put it in my very small bag and continued to ask/shout for more beads. after 10 minutes I noticed that my coconut was missing. I think it fell out of my bag (as I told you- it was a small bag). I was really sad, looking all around for it, asking people that are next to us. But no, it was gone. And then, to my surprise, one of the guys that was next to us just came to me and gave me a coconut he won! Because his lady already got a bunch of them and I was very sad about my lost one- it was a Mardi Gras day miracle!
There are also the Mardi Gras Indians. but I’ll save them for part 2. so you’ll have something to look for.
Food! NOLA is very famous for it’s food. A lot of sea food, fried food, spicy food and good food. They have shops there that only sell hot sauce. Some of the brands have lovely names like ‘Ass kicking Cajun’, ‘Sweet Cajun fire’, ‘Slap ya Mama’ etc’. Their famous dessert is called Beignets and it’s a squared doughnut with about 1 kilo of white powdered sugar on it. The most famous cafe that sells Beignets is called ‘Café Du Monde’ and I can swear every time you pass by you see a cloud of powdered sugar in the air. And little hills of powdered sugar on the pavement…..
Nature part 1: The parks in New Orleans are special. well, to me anyway. I don’t usually see these types of trees. There are a lot of amazing old oak trees that are covered in this mystic moss. We went to Audubon park to look for one special tree. It’s called “The tree of life” and it’s said to be between 100 to 500 years old. Quite the age range I know… But it is a very beautiful and powerful tree.
In order to get to that park you have to take the famous streetcar. I’m sure a lot has been said about the NOLA streetcars. probably “it’s slow, so slow, I can walk next to it”. But you know what? I love it! It’s one of the coolest trams I’ve ever been on. It drives on the road, with the traffic. It’s slow and it only has 2 lines. But who cares? it has a swag!
Street art- That’s why New Orleans is so unique and crazy. There is music from every street corner. Street shows are happening all day long. And it’s good. very good. You won’t hear crappy music there, I mean, this is New Orleans we’re talking about! You can’t just pick up a guitar, learn how to play “house of the rising sun” and go to the streets. no no, it doesn’t work like that. Common, it’s where Jazz was born!! Over there a kid will come to his parents and say “I want to be a street musician” and they will say “good son, keep our tradition alive”. And the french quarter area is the place to go and listen.
My second dream was to sing Jazz and Blues in the streets of New Orleans. And my friend came with a guitar and we did it. It was a rare and great experience. And we got enough money for coffee and Beignets! yiipii
And this is my friend- doing her own beautiful street show.
There is so much more to write in this post, but I can’t put it all. So don’t forget to check out the next post- New Orleans part 2. I will post it in the next few days.
So remember- Don’t take life too seriously ’cause life doesn’t take you seriously. Trust me- life called and said you’re bumming them out…. Love, Peace, Harmony and a Smile!