New Orleans cannot be described in one word or turn of phrase, it can’t be captured in a single picture or role of film – it buzzes all night, music pours out of buildings as do stumbling drunks and as the night fades into morning, people make their way home and sleep off a big night in preparation for another.
These last few days in New Orleans have been an explosion of life, colour and laughter. Most people don’t wait till midday to have their first drink for the day, a Bloody Mary or Frozen Irish Coffee is totally acceptable at 11 am, or as soon as the bars open.
We washed our clothes this morning at a laundromat located in a bar, by the time we’d folded everything and tucked it away it all smelled like second hand smoke and stale booze.
I’ve seen more live music and talked to more random people then I would in an average week and when we found ourselves sitting on the banks of the Mississippi listening to a crazy looking man recite poetry about talking to the sea it seemed completely normal.
Riding around the streets on a dodgy bicycle, exploring back streets and finding the good food, has been one of my favorite things to do, hollering back at people as they greet me from their stoops and from the sidewalk is definitely my second favorite.
We’re staying in the front room of a shotgun house on the outskirts of the French Quarter. A shotgun house is one where you can shoot a gun at the front door and the bullet can make it all the way to the back, pretty much uninterrupted. It’s on a lively street where the neighbuors across the street are usually out the front talking loud and a man occasionally weaves his way down the street on a bicycle decked out with a massive sub woofer.
Last night I went to a play that was on the top floor of a pub, it was meant to be an exploration of self-knowledge and awareness. The whole building was dimly lit and in each room something different was happening. In one room a half dressed man played piano as another man danced, in another a woman painted the portrait of a woman reading a book, in another four people laughed hysterically and repeatedly asked me ‘what is it?’ as they thrust paper towel into my hand to which I responded ‘paper towel’ and to which they responded, ‘what is it?’…and in another two men wrestled nude and sporadically read poetry. It is possibly the strangest thing I have ever seen in my life and after a while I started to feel like it was all in my mind. As I watched the woman paint a man approached me and said ‘it’s so peaceful in here’, ‘it’s just so peaceful’…before I watched the play I spoke to some of the performers, one guy, whose name was Sunshine, told me that in the future he planned to direct a film about beauty and societies perception of it, ‘I want to change the way people look at beauty, I think it’s wrong that people are judged on their looks and I know I’m a beautiful person, but I can see it’s wrong and I want to change that’…..
Afterward I met up with Taylor on Frenchman Street and we walked home and talked about how overwhelming this place can be…and to think it’s only been a few days.