Ever since I crossed over the Mississippi River for the first time in my adult life last year, I’ve been fascinated by it. Not necessarily by the river itself, just by being on the other side of it. So when we exited the Audubon Aquarium and decided to walk into the French Quarter for lunch, I insisted we walk by the river. I can’t help myself, but every time I look at this big body of water, I see Mark Twain and his old timey steamboat.
The river walk was not as crowded as I expected it to be. It was noon time and the weather was typical for a soupy, humid city like New Orleans. Luckily for me and my trigger-happy camera finger, there were more monuments than homeless people.
The end of our walk led us to a crossing of railroad tracks, at the moment an empty space and surprisingly peaceful and quiet. Another couple was speaking to a nearby musician who had propped himself up against a black stool with an open instrument case to collect tourists’ change. The moment I turned around to snap this photograph, the sounds of a jazz saxophone took over the entire tracks crossing yard. Finally, I could feel New Orleans!
We walked through the opening of a boundary wall and were immediately met by the overwhelming bustle of New Orleans’ French Quarter: the tourists, the horse carriages, the curbside trash bins, the hot, humid air being stifled by impassable buildings, and a sign propped on the sidewalk declaring the best po’ boys in town. Matt had heard incredible things about Johnny’s Po-Boys and it was becoming very crowded in the meantime. That’s always a good hint, so Matt took a place in line while Elle and I headed upstairs to an air-conditioned ice cream parlor to grab a table.
Lunch consisted of an alligator po’boy, a fried catfish po’boy, a hamburger for the kid, too many French fries and not enough refreshing glasses of iced sweet tea. After a short walk back to the parking garage, we were on I-10, heading west to Oklahoma City. We made it home by 1 o’clock in the morning, accompanied by the right amount of sunshine during the day and a sky full of stars when it finally fell dark, somewhere around Dallas.
My only regret: I have yet to see the Arbuckle Mountains in South Central Oklahoma in daylight. Time to go exploring in Oklahoma…